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Spoiler alert: Public Relations and Marketing are not the same things. If you didn’t already pick up on that from the title of this article, there it is. Too many people like to use the terms interchangeably, or worse, assume their business has one versus the other — or even both — when they actually don’t.  If you’re looking to grow your brand, you may consider a marketing agency or PR firm to help you do just that — but which one do you need? 

Let’s take a look at how PR and marketing communication strategies are not the same and dive into the fundamentals of how they’re different in their unique approaches, goals, and objectives. So when the time comes, we’ll ensure you implement the right one. 

Why is Knowing the Difference Important?

If you don’t understand the key differences, you could hire a company that says all the right things but won’t  actually help you achieve your goals. While both marketing and PR have value, they’ll deliver quite different results. And if you choose the wrong category, you may enjoy some new exposure or engagement, but it won’t help you grow your business the way you need it to. That means wasting time and funds while potentially hurting your brand in the long run! If the areas of attention you really need are being neglected, it can lead to dangerous gaps. 

That said, it can be incredibly easy to mistake one type of firm for the other. Marketing and PR have a number of commonalities, including:

  • Maintaining a consistent brand voice
  • An aim to send a positive and compelling message on behalf of a company
  • The goal of increasing success and revenue
  • Creating content that enhances and elevates the brand

It’s understandably confusing to any business owner to try to differentiate between marketing and PR when deciding which is right for them. So let’s dive into the unique components and goals of each, so you can choose which type of firm is best for your company!

What are the Key Differences?

At the highest level, the main differences involve how they help companies to increase their ROI and which areas of your business they intend to support. Let’s break these down one by one!


Marketing Generates Conversions

Marketing professionals are out to generate leads and get conversions — essentially, tracking down the right audience and convincing them to buy your product or service. The ideal marketing campaign delivers sales. They find the best leads, or potential buyers, for your company. Then, they work with your sales team to help them close deals efficiently and effectively.

Marketing firms focus on three things: market, demand, and product. They want to promote the company in a way that increases sales by utilizing their four core pillars (or “4p”):  product, price, place, and promotion. Marketing firms convey your brand voice and deliver your message directly to the customer to get money in your pocket as soon as possible.

Public Relations Builds Your Brand

PR is concerned with the overall credibility of your company. While it positively impacts sales, revenue isn’t the only factor PR agencies aim to enhance. Amplifying your brand equity, or value, is the primary purpose of public relations.

Not only does this broad focus affect customers, but it also influences investors, recruitment efforts, and customer retention. Your entire business benefits from the depth PR campaigns bring to your brand voice. A PR firm positions your brand for success in all aspects, increasing loyalty and bringing stakeholders and customers on board for the long haul. Your messaging is crafted to cater to your entire audience in intellectual, meaningful ways.

PR isn’t only involved in your company’s future and helps you manage your past as well. An agency will take on your current reputation management issues, whether you’re suffering from false accusations, product failures, or any other less-than-ideal images. And if new fires pop up, they provide crisis management services to put out the flames.

A PR firm might create an aesthetic template and comprehensive approach to promote the event they’ve designed for you. If you need a direct method, marketing can help. If you want an overarching blanket approach like in our example, event support from a PR agency can add a different layer.


Marketing Focuses on Projects

Marketing will largely focus on one campaign or project at a time. It’s focused on getting you immediate results in traffic or profit without looking too far ahead. Marketing professionals live in the here and now, measuring their success on how quickly and efficiently they help you reach your sales goals. They exist in the short term and will then use the outcomes of the current initiatives to set up new ones. 

PR is Long-Term

PR is a long-term commitment to building your brand voice. Results don’t happen overnight, but the benefits are worth the wait. Agencies craft your ideal image over time, enabling your company to earn the trust, loyalty, and support of your investors, customers, and media outlets. For example, in lifestyle public relations, this can mean building important media moments around specific marketing initiatives by leveraging the right press relationships in health and wellness, beauty, home decor, and more. If any company action isn’t aligned with the company’s messaging, the entire brand could be at risk of failing. Successful lifestyle or wellness brands gain their credibility through positive actions and exposure over time.


SMITHHOUSE is a boutique pr firm that can help you create the brand image you want through an experience just as unique. Investing in PR gains your brand respect and notability, which translates to revenue and longevity. Customers increasingly see themselves in the companies they choose to buy from — they see brands as extensions of their identities. We’ll create effective messaging that draws customers, investors, and media personnel to your company, and keeps them with you in a warm embrace. 

We have the strong and diverse press relationships your business needs to reach the next level. Our boutique company provides your brand with attentiveness and a personal approach, crafting every detail to elevate your brand further. For creative and authentic campaigns that break through the noise and deeply resonate with your audience, there’s no better partner than SMITHHOUSE.

Contact us if you’re ready for more. More personalized attention. More communication. More impact. And more results. We look forward to working with you. 

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