Marketing vs. PR: Differences and 10 Types of Careers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 2, 2021

Published January 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses rely on both marketing and public relations (PR) to promote their offerings and build their reputations. While both marketing and PR efforts focus on similar goals, these two fields have several key differences. The tasks you perform in a marketing role versus a PR role also vary. In this article, we discuss what marketing and public relations are, the differences between marketing versus PR and what types of careers you can find in each field.

What is marketing?

Marketing is a broad term that describes the process businesses and organizations go through to reach target customers. Marketing can encompass a variety of different activities, all to attract new customers and maintain relations with repeat customers. Businesses use marketing activities and strategies, such as advertising, to promote products and services and encourage customers to make purchases. When developing a marketing plan, businesses typically include the following activities:

Market research and analysis

Market analysis plays an integral role in how businesses and brands develop an overall marketing plan to promote their offerings. In this step of the marketing process, a company evaluates different factors that can affect its market position and ability to generate revenue. Several things the company may research include competitors' market position, effective strategies, market needs and average competitor pricing. This type of data helps companies understand where to allocate marketing budgets and what activities to focus most on when promoting products and services.

Advertisements and promotions

Advertising makes up a large portion of many brands' marketing processes and helps businesses expand their market reach through paid promotion. This paid promotion appears in both digital or print outlets, including in magazines, newspapers, search engines, websites and social media. In a marketing campaign, a company might allocate much of its marketing budget to paying for advertisements.

Public relations and brand awareness

While marketing encompasses public relations as a part of the entire process, PR only focuses on building up a brand's reputation. PR specialists and professionals develop and apply strategies that help their brands create a positive image in the markets they serve.

Sales and customer relations

Marketing's primary goal is to sell a business's offerings. Making sales and building relationships with customers are two important activities that businesses rely on to maintain operations. Therefore, part of the marketing process typically includes developing sales strategies, managing customer relations and ensuring the fulfillment of market needs.

Related: 20 Marketing Tactics That Work and How To Use Them (With Examples)

What is public relations?

Public relations is a single aspect of the entire marketing process. PR focuses solely on building and maintaining an organization's reputation through interactions with the community. A business commonly employs PR methods that introduce it to the customer market and foster a positive public image of the business and its offerings.

Publicity through public events, announcements and press releases. For example, if a brand wants to introduce a new product line, it may use PR to hold a special event where customers can attend and try the product before purchasing. These types of events can help businesses maintain a positive standing within the market.

Related: Public Relations: Everything You Need To Know About Working in PR

Differences in marketing vs. PR

Although PR is an element of marketing, certain differences set these two processes apart:

Goal and purpose

In marketing, the overall goal of the process is to attract new customers that will purchase a business's offerings. This means that marketing must include effective activities that support this purpose. In public relations, though, the primary aim is to build a positive brand reputation. The strategies of PR must support brand image, promote its mission and help build a lasting reputation among new markets and repeat customers.

Strategy development

The structure of a company's marketing process differs from the structure of strategy development for PR efforts. In marketing, the entire process outlines all the activities and funding a company needs to reach its target customers and sell its offerings. Each task within a company's marketing process can include its own specific strategies that support the end objective. Public relations, though, has its own unique strategy development process for building brand reputation and reaching the community. These strategies typically include actions that publicize a business or organization.

Action plans

Since the marketing process encompasses advertising, sales and public relations activities, the marketing plan a business develops can include actions to take within each of these activities. Therefore, the action plans for a marketing campaign often include different areas (like PR) with unique strategies for achieving specific objectives. For instance, a marketing action plan can include digital advertising strategies, press releases or the integration of a new sales process.

Public relations, though, is only one area of a marketing plan with its own set of actions that support and maintain a company's reputation. Live events, public announcements, media relations, press releases and sponsorships are examples of some strategies PR professionals commonly apply to introduce businesses to the community, foster trust with customers and promote a positive brand image.

Related: How To Write a Marketing Plan (With Examples)

Careers in marketing

Consider the following jobs if you're interested in a career in marketing. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the national average salary link for each job title below.

Social media manager

National average salary: $44,737 per year

Primary duties: Social media managers oversee the curation of businesses' and brands' social media channels. These marketing professionals moderate and respond to audience commenting, post updates about brands and offerings, maintain partnerships with other brands through social media and build a following that companies can eventually convert to paying customers.

Marketing coordinator

National average salary: $45,184 per year

Primary duties: Marketing coordinators develop and integrate marketing strategies and plans that support businesses' and brands' growth and development. These professionals may often coordinate with other marketing departments, build relationships with partners and customers, develop and integrate marketing strategies, track metrics and support the overall marketing efforts of their companies.

Related: Learn About Being a Marketing Coordinator

Marketing specialist

National average salary: $55,712 per year

Primary duties: A marketing specialist understands the needs of the markets their companies serve and advise marketing professionals on what to sell. They perform market analyses to determine what customers purchase, where there are gaps in the market, what types of products and services are currently popular and what customers' purchasing behavior is like. This data helps marketing specialists provide insight into what kinds of strategies businesses should integrate into their campaigns.

Related: Learn About Being a Marketing Specialist

Content marketer

National average salary: $67,810 per year

Primary duties: Content marketers plan, create and publish different types of content to attract and convert leads into customers. The type of content a content marketer develops can vary between the organization, however, typical content these professionals create includes blogs, magazine articles, advertisements, brochures, white papers, reports and even social media content.

Project manager

National average salary: $81,973 per year

Primary duties: Project managers (PMs) direct the planning, organization and execution processes of specific projects. These professionals manage teams to ensure projects are on budget, within scope and on time. In marketing, PMs may direct these activities during the development of a marketing campaign.

Types of jobs in PR

Public relations plays an important role in the overall marketing process. Here are several jobs to explore in public relations that can provide opportunities in marketing roles, too. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

Public relations assistant

National average salary: $47,689 per year

Primary duties: A PR assistant supports their organization by helping the creation and distribution efforts of the PR manager they work for. PR assistants commonly organize and maintain files, schedules and appointment books for their PR departments. They may also provide support during PR events by distributing promotional materials and speaking with customer markets.

PR specialist

National average salary: $50,407 per year

Primary duties: PR specialists advise their brands and businesses on the best methods for creating and maintaining a positive public image and reputation. These PR professionals are responsible for creating media and press releases, developing online presence for their organizations and fostering a positive public opinion of their companies. Their efforts work to increase brand awareness and promote an organization's offerings and unique vision.

Public relations account executive

National average salary: $57,907 per year

Primary duties: A public relations account executive is responsible for the oversight and direction of strategy development and implementation for a brand or business. Their oversight includes the management of how the PR department creates, publicizes and upholds their brands' reputation among target markets. They may propose project plans that include media relations, press releases, broadcasts and other publicity methods to build brand awareness.

Related: Learn About Being a Public Relations Account Manager

PR manager

National average salary: $59,536 per year

Primary duties: Public relations managers develop and implement the PR and media strategies their organizations integrate for building brand awareness. These professionals often support the PR department of a business by building its reputation, meeting with media professionals, scheduling public events and managing the overall PR campaign of their organization.

Director of public relations

National average salary: $63,980 per year

Primary duties: Directors of public relations, or PR directors, are responsible for directing the creation of marketing and public messages that foster a positive brand image with customers. PR directors focus solely on spreading their organizations' visions, missions and overall brand messages to the public through media outlets, digital channels and public events. They may also speak publicly on behalf of their organizations.

Explore more articles