Marketing and Public Relations, Name a more Iconic Duo. I’ll Wait.

The difference in Marketing and Public Relations can be handsomely summed up in the bindings of our CAP 220 textbook as “sales-oriented” vs “relationship-oriented” (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber & Shin, 2013).  This basically means marketing focuses on the sales parts of an interaction aka “making the sale”. This is in contrast to the Public Relations viewpoint of maintaining a good relationship”. Public Relations focuses on the satisfaction of the customer before, during and after the transaction. Although their goals are different this doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t work together to create a super team that makes sales and leaves customers satisfied and coming back for more.

In addition to the book given definition, Lynn Vincent of the Bank Marketing Association says “While marketing builds visibility, public relations builds credibility. While marketing builds brand, public relations amplifies brand awareness” (1999). I believed this summed up what the book was telling us but in a kitschier manner. Not only does finding the distinction between the two help understand them together but from a PR standpoint, it makes it easier to define them separately. This might be blatantly obvious, but as someone who has more than once not being able to answer “what does PR do?” when family members at awkward gatherings ask what I am studying, this distinction makes me feel like a PR expert being able to not only define it, but separate it from its relative fields.

As I am currently enrolled in MKT 350 as well as CAP 22o this semester, I find it oddly refreshing to compare and contrast the two as the curriculum progresses. It is interesting to see how they are similar in relation to publicity and the “Promotion” part of the Marketing Mix (yes I know PR is the fifth P, but my professor refuses to go by any other course work than what feels like the first edition marketing book ever created). These courses have seemed to go hand in hand, meaning I have taken knowledge from one and applied it to the other (and vice versa). It seems to seamless to be how fluid the transition between marketing and Public Relations really is though. Yes the “sales” and “relationships” are what drive the efforts but in the end, the goal is to raise awareness about your product (good or service) to those who would be seemingly interested in it.

I like how this article on talks about how Marketing and PR work together effectively “Marketing’s role is to optimize. However, it needs the connective tissue PR can provide vis-à-vis ongoing narrative building and perception-based content development. The outcome, based loosely on Richard Edelman’s sentiment that “traditional marketing is broken,” is a collaborative function between marketing and PR that I like to call “Relationship and Communications Marketing” (Iliff).

Knowing what the two do and how they intersect seems so beneficial to me as a seek a career in the PR field. As I search for a summer internship, it is very convenient to me how I can apply for positions both in Marketing and PR and bring tactics and knowledge I have learned into the other. Although very different in goals, marketing and pubic relations seem to need each other not only to survive, but to thrive and to me that is so beautiful.


Wilcox, Dennis., Cameron, Glen., Reber, Bryan., Shin, Jae-Hwa.(2013). What is Public Relations?. In Ziki Dekel (Ed.) Think Public Relations (3-24). United States: Pearson Education, Inc.

Iliff, Rebekah.,(2014). How Marketing and PR Should Work Together to Reach Customers. Mashable. Retrieved from

Vincent, L. (1999, November). Marketing vs. Public relations. Bank Marketing, 31(11), 19. Retrieved from


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