Content Marketing

Do you know the difference between PR and Marketing? You need to

Written by the Editorial Team

If you are charged with the promotion of your recruitment agency, it is important to understand the mix of options available to you – the key elements of which are PR and Marketing. But the difference between the two isn’t always easy to explain and the lines are blurred. So, to help you, we’ve broken down the two disciplines down in a clear and concise way that will leave you in doubt as to where Marketing ends and PR begins.


The Chartered Institute of Public Relations says that PR is ‘about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.’ It is ‘the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.’

As for Marketing, the Chartered Institute of Marketing positions it as, ‘The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.’

The difference? Marketing is focused on promoting the agency’s services, whereas PR’s main role is to maintain a positive reputation for the business and influence behaviours e.g. to enhance your reputation as an agency-of-choice by encouraging Clients to want to work with you and Consultant to work for you.

What PR people do

  • Write press releases
  • Pitch stories into the specific media outlets
  • Identify trending stories in the news and ‘sell’ the organisation’s opinion
  • Develop relationships with influencers within the media
  • Raise the profile of the client with key media and position them as a go-to expert
  • Secure speaking opportunities for senior executives at industry events
  • Create compelling content in the form of thought leadership articles and blogs
  • Engage with the organisation’s target audience every day through social media

What Marketing people do

  • Plan and execute advertising, direct mail and e-marketing campaigns
  • Create and produce marketing materials, such as brochures and websites
  • Undertake surveys and market intelligence research
  • Produce and distribute newsletters
  • Product and service development – tweaking, pricing, placement
  • Exhibitions and trade shows
  • Video, video advertising, sponsored campaigns
  • SEO

How PR measures success

  • Achieving positive coverage in relevant top-tier publications or media
  • Securing speaker opportunities at key industry events
  • Winning high-profile industry and business awards
  • New business enquiries via word of mouth referral
  • Increased requests for information
  • Raised volume of media enquiries seeking commentary from the organisation’s key spokespeople
  • Positive perception of the organisation and its key individuals maintained or improved

How Marketing measures success

  • Number of sales generated
  • Revenue generated versus goals set
  • Increases in demand for product or service
  • Profits from sales generated a high return on marketing or advertising investment
  • Increases in social media following and customer numbers
  • Number of new visitors to website

The overlap

PR and Marketing are very much two sides of the same coin and they work best in tandem with one another rather than in isolation. PR should not be seen as a replacement or alternative to Marketing and vice versa – both disciplines reinforce the other.

Many people take the words of Messrs Branson and Gates as testament to the power of PR over Marketing. Branson famously said, “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” While Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.”

Both have been phenomenal in terms of flying the flag for PR, but neither the Virgin or Microsoft empires were built on PR alone – they each had a finely tuned Marketing strategy in place that drove the sales.