Archive for August, 2009

Compare and Contrast: PR, Advertising, and Marketing

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

“Public Relations should never be ranked below marketing or advertising within an organization. Marketing and advertising should be placed under the umbrella of public relations because they usually target only one group – the consumer.”

I disagree that marketing and advertising should be placed under the umbrella of public relations, but I do agree public relations should never be ranked below marketing or advertising within an organization. I chose this stance because I think public relations, advertising and marketing should all be considered equal in the communications world. They all have different characteristics, but I do not think they should be ranked individually. Public relations, advertising and marketing can also support each other and can be quite cohesive in creating effective communications.  I have created a Venn diagram to demonstrate this:


Advertising vs. Public Relations

Both advertising and public relations use mass media to communicate their messages to publics to either change opinions or make publics aware of issues/products, but the process is different for each. PR professionals  prepare material which is then submitted to editors AKA gatekeepers, who then decide whether the material will be broadcasted, published, etc. or tossed.  Advertising is paid space or broadcast time, so they never have to go through the gate keeping process. In other words advertisements are paid messages and PR messages are “earned.” Often times, public relations material that is produced is more cost effective and more credible because the message appears in a news context.

  • How they can support one another:
  • Advertising can be used as a communication tool in public relations when the advertisers are trying to sell goods and services. Public relations can support advertising campaigns by creating an environment in which the organization can thrive.

Marketing vs. Public Relations

Public relations and marketing both have the ultimate goal to insure an organization’s success, however marketing is focused on the four “P’s” (product, price, placement, and promotion), customers, and selling products and services. Public relations is focused on building relationships and generating goodwill for the organization. Public relations is also concerned with many publics, including the consumer, while marketing is concerned with primarily the consumer.

  • How they can support one another:
  • Public relations supports an organizations marketing objectives by developing new prospects for new markets when people inquire after seeing or hearing a product release in the news media. They also can generate sales leads through articles in the press about new products and services.

Each of the players in this model have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example the high cost of advertising and public relations professionals strength of managing relationships.  Since they are all different, they can all work well together for an organization, or one individually could work well for a certain client and their specific goals. Ultimately, I do not think one should be ranked above or below the other or be placed under an umbrella of pr.



Willcox,Dennis L. and Cameron, Glen T.  Public Relations strategies and tactics. Ninth Edition. pgs. 1-20.

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