Traditionally the scopes of Marketing and Public Relations have been viewed within separate, yet equally important, lanes of business. As defined by the PRSA: “In the relatively brief period leading up to today, public relations has been defined in many different ways, the definition often evolving alongside public relations’ changing roles and technological advances. The earliest definitions emphasized press agentry and publicity, while more modern definitions incorporate the concepts of “engagement” and “relationship building.” Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” While marketing has traditionally been defined as, “the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P’s of marketing: (1) identification, selection and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.” In other words, PR focuses on a company’s maintaining a positive reputation as a whole, while marketing focuses on promoting and selling a specific product.
What may seem as a simple distinction between two facets of business has increasingly become harder to understand and distinguish between based on the size of companies and the ways in which brands communicate with the consumer. According to themuse.com, the day-to-day responsibilities of a PR professional may include writing a press release about an upcoming product launch, presenting positive stories about upcoming announcements to the media, securing speaking engagements for company executives, managing and updating company messaging, and creating talking points and speaking to the press about a company crisis, while a marketing professional would be creating an advertising campaign for a new product, purchase spots for that campaign on relevant media platforms, create supporting materials for new products, conduct industry and client research to help drive future marketing campaigns, and draft a weekly newsletter for clients.
The metrics for success are also measurable distinctions between Marketing and PR professionals. A PR representative will look for an abundance of positive press in relevant top-tier and trade publications featuring the company or a specific product, a noteworthy presentation by a company executive at a high-profile event, awards at well-publicized industry events, a positive buzz from social media followers, journalists, industry influencers, and the general public. A marketer, on the other hand is looking for a product to meet or exceed sales goals, will compare how much was invested on a marketing campaign and figure the return on the investment, and work to create a buzz among customers, social media followers, industry influencers, and the general public.
The overlap of PR and Marketing does exist and is usually characterized by departments and individuals who oversee both for a brand. The high value of social media in both PR and Marketing in the modern era also makes it difficult at times to clearly find a distinction between the two. One common trait between both fields is the knowledge of the products, services, and resources the organization owns and maintains for the PR manager and marketer.
The greatest asset someone in either of these fields can have is a solid education in business which can be found in any of the nation’s top online MBA programs. There are many top Online MBA programs in Marketing for students to choose from, including: The University of Florida, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Northeastern University. Topics in these specializations include: Customer Relationship Management, Sales Promotion, Social Media Strategy, New Product Development, International Marketing, and Service Marketing Management. While there are fewer online MBA programs in Public Relations, there are two to note: Liberty University and Golden Gate University. Topics in these specialization include: Media Relations and the Professional Spokesperson and Managing Public Issues: Consumer Affairs and Government Relations.