Marketing vs Public Relations

In this article it is Marketing vs Public Relations! Learn the differences between Marketing vs Public Relations and decide which career to pursue!

What is the Difference between Marketing and Public Relations?

Marketing and public relations are closely intertwined in many aspects, yet fundamentally different in many other ways. While both career fields focus on communications, brand image, and public engagement, each differs dramatically in training and practice. Therefore, graduate coursework in either discipline, as well as potential career paths in this discipline will vary significantly.   Prospective graduate students should make a point to research both career fields closely and decide beforehand which field they wish to enter. This article highlights some of the fundamental differences between marketing and public relations graduate programs.

Intention of Marketing vs Public Relations

One of the primary differences between marketing and public relations is their intention. The primary aim of a marketing professional is to persuade consumers to buy a certain product or service by building exposure and brand loyalty. A public relations professional, on the other hand, is typically more focused on building trust with the media and the general public. 


Another key difference between marketing and public relations is when they are used as a business tool. Marketing is usually used proactively to build exposure for a product or service with the ultimate goal of increasing sales or market share. Public relations, however, is much more reactive it is often used to counter an unexpected crisis, or to build trust with the media and the public over a period of time. 

Creative Control 

The degree to which a marketing professional and a public relations professional have the ability to exercise creative control differs among the two occupations.  Those in marketing may have more control over the way their messaging is interpreted by their customers.  Marketers typically have a long time to research and develop strategies that enhance their ability to create carefully crafted messages that are unambiguous in nature.   Public relations officials may have very little control over the delivery of their message.   They are likely to find themselves preparing and making statements at a moment’s notice and these statements can be edited by media outlets in a way that distorts the original intention of the message. 


The overall audience is also different for marketing and public relations professionals. Marketing professionals work to communicate the value of a product or service to existing and potential consumers. Public relations professionals deliver messaging through the media who then distributes the message to the public.


Those working in marketing are focused primarily on driving sales and growing their customer base. Professionals working in public relations are more broadly concerned with strengthening an organizations relationship with the public and engaging the media to ensure that the public is presented with a positive message about the brand or organization from an external source. 
While marketing and public relations are two distinctly different fields, they may be appealing to individuals with similar tastes and talents, which may make deciding which type of graduate program to enroll in difficult.  Individuals who are undecided about which field to enter many want to meet with professors or advisors in each program, speak with current graduate students in each field, and connect with professionals working in each field before making their final decision about which graduate degree to pursue.  

Find Masters in Marketing

  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
Find Schools