Marketing and Public Relations, are they interchangeable?

Like many of you I am going to be a college graduate in December. I will soon have to spread my wings and get a big kid job. Therefore I have been looking for jobs lately and I feel like many companies and job search sites lump Public Relations and Marketing into the same category. But they are not the same thing. Even a top PR professional, who spoke in one of my classes, lumped public relations into marketing. While researching this topic through google I found a site called that laid out the differences for us.  The main difference is that marketing focuses on the market, the consumers and the demand of products. While public relations main focus is building relationships and telling a story. What do you think? Could you move from public relations to marketing? Should the Cronkite public relations program include marketing and advertising because many companies want an integrated marketing agency?

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13 Responses to Marketing and Public Relations, are they interchangeable?

  1. cate415 says:

    When I first started ASU, I was torn between marketing and public relations as my major. However, I made my final decision based on the fact that public relations encompasses much more than marketing does in terms of focusing on acheiving an overall communicative strategy that leaves a lasting and all-encompasing effect on clients. Thus, while I feel it is definitely possible for people to switch between the two, I think that public relations is better suited in the journalism school because it focuses on developing communicative skills that are necessary for success.

  2. asbrooks04 says:

    I agree with Cate that Public Relations is generally more encompassing than marketing. But, realistically speaking, I am not surprised that companies are grouping the two together. We all know that the “real world” is hardly like the classroom and, especially now, companies are going to be looking for people that can handle many aspects of communication, product or otherwise.

  3. dfishfel says:

    I also agree with cate and asbrooks that PR is more encompassing than marketing. However, I do think that it would be a great idea for the Cronkite school to have a beginner class just for PR students that would teach us about marketing and advertising. While they are different, those three professions are usually grouped together and it would put us so far ahead of other schools that just teach PR to their PR students. I think it would ultimately benefit us while we are looking for jobs, and also once we have gotten a job. I really think the Cronkite school should really consider this.

  4. ccharvey says:

    I think that many companies don’t truly understand what Public Relations is. I think that sometimes a company is looking to sell more products or promote something and realize that both marketing and PR can be used. Then, they miss the difference between the two fields because they are more focused on their bottom line.

    I agree with dfishfel that the Cronkite School should have a marketing class for PR students especially since we will be working with them in the future and for bosses who really don’t understand our job.

  5. ambrewe1 says:

    I too have to say that I was once confused as to the difference of PR and marketing before I got into this field. Having that misconception, I see how companies feel that way as well. If I hadn’t have learned through PR classes what PR was, I would lump it together too. So, I rarely get offended when I see the two completely separate positions linked together. Saying that, I still feel it’s important to not integrate the two programs. Just because people view them as similar doesn’t mean it is. Hopefully, with more people graduating college with a PR degree, they would be able to help companies distinguish between the two and years down the road this confusion wouold no longer exist.

  6. knish21087 says:

    I know numerous professionals who have moved from PR to marketing. I also know people who have gone from broadcasting to print to advertising. One think that kind of gets to me is the fact that my major isn’t even technically considered PR. My major is Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. If the school barely even distinguishes PR as a separate major how am I supposed to? I think PR practitioners really have their work cut out for them when the are trying to take on clients. It is a constant battle in the PR field to get across to the public and mainly our clients what PR really is and what we can do for them as a PR professional.

  7. marialinda17 says:

    I think Marketing is a major more appropriate for the Business College than Journalism. Pursuing a marketing degree in the College of Business is more beneficial because they have the resources and expertise to explore the market, consumers, products and advertising. The Cronkite School emphasizes writing, creativity, media and relationships, which encompasses some of marketing, but mostly PR. I think it’s beneficial for PR practitioners to be knowledgeable about marketing, but they certainly aren’t the same thing.

  8. mara2009 says:

    Marketing and public relations are different. However, it would be beneficial to PR students to have to take an introductory marketing course or a business course. After all, many businesses now consider PR a management function. I think the biggest difference between the two industries is that PR promotes ideas and marketing promotes a product.

  9. davemerenda says:

    I am graduating in December as well. I have also noticed how public relations and marketing jobs are lumped together. I think the site you referenced in your blog is good. Good luck in your job search.

  10. cclark2 says:

    I agree that in the “real world” many companies lump together marketing and public relations. Especially with so many companies cutting back budgets they are looking for ways to combine responsibilities. I have decided to take a marketing communications class this semester because I think that most companies have a hard time defining the fine line between marketing and public relations.
    I think the first paragraph of this article simply explains it. Marketing is about the product and consumer. Public relations is about the relationships. However, whose responsibility is it to develop the brand? I personally think that this is a combined effort between the two.

  11. lbridge says:

    I think that it is true that as a whole, society probably sees PR and marketing as being the same thing, but as members of the field we understand the difference. I can understand why someone who may not know much about PR may think it is just marketing but for people in the industry to lump us into the same category just doesn’t make much sense to me.

  12. trentonhorne says:

    I think you can move from PR to marketing, and many people do. But I do think there were major differences and specializing in one field always produces better results. PR is more about relationship building as you and others have said and marketing doesn’t tend to focus on this. Its more about products. In my current campaign, I have personally struggled with trying to separate these two things because the company I am doing my campaign on is pretty much known for their products.

  13. brittz87 says:

    I believe that Marketing and Public Relations are very closely related. I do feel that they both encompass many of the same goals, like branding and other consumer based ideas. I think it is a great idea for PR professionals to take Marketing classes. I say this because with marketing you learn what the people that you are trying to influence through PR tactics are truly influenced by–you learn about the market.

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