What is the Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and PR?




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If you want to start promoting or join a promotional team, you may have run into the following words, marketing, advertising, and PR. Although essentially, they all share the same goal, each serves a different purpose in the promotional stages. It’s easy to get confused by them if you’re not used to the terminology, and you must understand these if you’re considering a career in one of these three areas. Here’s what the difference is between marketing, advertising, and PR.

The difference between the three is based on the stages of promotion. For marketing, the goal is to boost public awareness of your product or service, etc. In contrast, advertising is the creation of a campaign, and PR is how the brand is represented.  

As you’re able to grasp from the above explanation, they share the same end goal of achieving success, but they’re slightly different in how they accomplish them. Within large corporate companies, they may split marketing, advertising, and PR into teams as they’ll be especially good at that sector. They’d all work together, sharing ideas and strategies, but it’ll be slightly geared towards a different purpose of the promotion.

Marketing Advertising PR

To make these easier to understand, let’s give a broader explanation of each of these promotional elements.

What is Marketing?

As mentioned above, marketing is the process of enhancing public awareness for a specific type of product, service or charity, etc. In theory, the marketing team takes responsibility for planning the promotion for the initial goal, target consumer, and overall market research. Within these roles, they’ll generate a plan that’ll explain the marketing budget, potential outcome, and techniques they’ll use to achieve the promotional goal.

Jobs in marketing can range from single individuals for small businesses or huge teams in large organizations. The role ranges significantly depending on the budget the company has to push into their marketing efforts.

Suppose you want to dive into a career in marketing. In that case, you’ll typically hold responsibilities to some of the following – market research, organizing exhibitions and conferences, creating website or social media content, coming up with innovative ways to market a product or service to generate results.

Within marketing, there is an abundance of different promotional opportunities ranging from online all the way to radio, depending on your criteria and goals. Here are some examples:

  • Internet – Although there are different online marketing opportunities, I thought it would be best to round them up, so this list isn’t pages long. As you can probably tell, marketing on the internet is involved worldwide and can be carried out through social media marketing, SEO, display advertising, and pop ads.
  • Print – Something we’ve all seen is print marketing. Whether it’s in a local newspaper or a magazine, each provides excellent marketing opportunities through sponsored text and/or images.
  • Guerrilla Marketing – An unusual name, but It serves a great purpose in today’s society. This type of marketing is advertising that doesn’t feel like it. As confusing as that may sound, it works really well. For instance, when a music producer promotes their audio through social media, like Tik Tok, they are showing the end user a video (for example, a dance clip), but in reality, they’re promoting their music.
  • Cause – A generous type of marketing is “cause”. This involves combining business with a social issue to gain exposure for your given concern. 

The vast amount of marketing opportunities is genuinely astonishing, and the above is only a tiny minority of them.

What is advertising?

Unlike marketing, where they make people aware of your product, service, or brand, advertising is the physical campaign part of the process. Typically, a marketing team will generate the plan, and if they believe an advertising campaign is needed, they’ll include advertisers in the strategy.

In high insight, the advertising part of the plan will persuade the target audience to purchase whatever you’re marketing. The end goal is to find the target audience at the golden time. A time in which they feel the need to purchase something to solve a problem or need, etc.

Typically, advertising can be found in the following areas:

Radio – If your target audience is generally found listening to the radio, advertising here can be an extremely lucrative plan. For instance, if you’re trying to increase music sales/listens.

Billboards – Is your target audience based around office workers with joyful lives? Advertising through a billboard in a busy city is a great way to increase brand recognition.

Online – A common source of advertising is online through social media, search engines, or even displays that are usually found on most websites.

Within an advertising career, there’s an abundance of different opportunities that you’re able to hop into. However, in each of these avenues, you’ll be expected to be creative through sales speech, develop concepts that sell, and create adverts that look unforgettable. All of the above and more can be the “soft” requirements for the job as well as being an expert in a specific advertising platform, depending on your employer.

Top traditional Marketing Agencies Click Here!

What is PR?

In comparison to advertising where they’re trying to push a new product, a PR team will focus on the company’s general reputation through the media. Don’t get me wrong, not all companies have a PR team as they’re only needed with larger firms, so they stay on the “good” side.

The overall goal of a PR team is to get their company either noticed by the media or at least on the friendly side of it. It’s just as important as the other two jobs that are mentioned above, as a bad reputation can destroy a business overnight.

The difficulty of this job is that you’re almost the perceived image of the company. You’ll be tasked to hold press releases and contact huge media companies to spread the word of your business. However, if your company is going through a dark time, it’ll also be your job to rectify the issue and change the public image of the company you’re working for.

If you want to check out the best global Pr agencies click this link.


You should now know the difference between marketing, advertising, and a PR role. Each holds their own unique benefits and in theory, have the same goal in mind. But, they’re slightly altered to maximize the potential outcome of your marketing efforts.

For a recap, a marketing team has the purpose of creating the “plan” of how you will generate results. The advertising team will then make the marketing content and deliver it as recommended by the marketing team. For PR’s, they need to get the media interested in your product or service and boost sales through awareness.

If you found this interesting you should checkout our post on 101 Social Content Tools For Beginners.

About the author

Marco Ballesteros is a passionate project manager in IT with over 14 years of experience. He excels in leveraging digital tools to optimize project management processes and deliver successful outcomes.

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