The Differences Between Marketing, PR, Branding, and Advertising

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EloQ Communications
  • Date Published
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In this article, marketing will be compared with each of the remaining concepts in the communications field. In this way, readers will recognize the difference between them.

Marketing, branding, public relations (PR), and advertising are four different concepts that are always misunderstood by most “newbies”. The confusion over the above four concepts can make it difficult for businesses to optimize their communication channels. Because each of the above activities has different purposes and methods of implementation, the criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of each activity are also different. Applying the same evaluation criteria to all four activities will be unsuitable.

In this article, marketing will be compared with each of the remaining concepts; In this way, readers will recognize the difference between them, thereby applying each activity to different purposes in their media campaigns.

Marketing vs Public Relations

The first concept that often needs clarification in Marketing is Public Relations (PR). The following bullet points will briefly explain the key differences between these two concepts:

  • Communication Purpose: Marketing focuses on increasing sales by delivering products or services to the right people at the right time. Meanwhile, public relations focuses on building relations with the public, increasing brand sentiment, and creating a good reputation for the brand.
  • Media audience: Marketing targets a company’s current and potential customer groups. Meanwhile, public relations targets all audiences in the public: customers, journalists and the whole community.
  • Communication tools: Marketing uses advertising, promotion, and sponsorship to reach groups of customers, while public relations uses tools such as newspapers, events, and social media to communicate with the public.
  • Implementation time: Marketing is geared towards short-term goals with each campaign implemented in phases, while public relations is aimed at long-term goals so that it will be implemented over a more extended period.

Marketing vs Branding

Marketing and branding are two parallel friends in building a communication strategy for a brand. While similar to public relations, branding still has a noticeable difference when compared to public relations and marketing.

  • Communication Purpose: Marketing promotes a company’s products and increases sales. Branding focuses on building customer trust, loyalty to the product, and brand’s reputation.
  • Implementation time: Marketing is geared towards short-term goals with each campaign implemented in stages. Branding is aimed at long-term goals and operates continuously to maintain a brand’s reputation and position in the market when a business is still in operation.
  • Basis of results: Marketing evaluates results based on sales, profits, and conversion rates. Branding evaluates results based on brand awareness, customer trust, and brand position in the market.

Marketing vs Advertising

Advertising is the concept that is most easily confused with marketing because advertising is part of a marketing campaign and is also responsible for providing direct content related to products or services. However, there are some specific differences between them as follows:

  • Communication Purpose: Marketing promotes a company’s products and increases sales. Advertising focuses on attracting customers’ attention through specific messages, such as mentioning the product’s advantages, features, designs, etc.
  • Media: Marketing uses most of the media (online and traditional media, public relations, events, sponsorships, etc.), while advertising focuses on advertising media (forms of online advertising such as television, radio, newspapers, social networks, and offline advertising such as outdoor billboards, advertising stickers on buses and in elevators).
  • Time effective: Marketing can have long-term effects, while Advertising focuses on immediate results and often only has short-term effects.

The above article has helped distinguish the four concepts of marketing, PR, branding, and advertising. Businesses can clearly understand the meaning of each activity through the following summary table:

  • Marketing is the foundation; businesses will do market research to identify potential customers, thereby creating products/services and promoting them.
  • Public Relations means that an enterprise maintains good relations with the public to build credibility and trust with customers.
  • Branding is to increase brand recognition; businesses will “breath” into products/services, thereby creating brand emotions with customers.
  • Advertising is a business that hits the customer’s senses with images, sounds, and language, increasing awareness and attracting customers to use products/services.

Mastering these concepts will help businesses combine them harmoniously, creating a comprehensive, effective communication strategy and increasing sales.