Marketing and Publicity: What’s The Difference?

[vc_row][vc_column][md_text md_text_title1=”pixflow_base64IA==” md_text_title_separator=”no”]After the success of Ben’s post on the difference between PR and publicity which subsequently broke our internet, we thought we’d dive headfirst once more into the world of marcomms, this time highlighting the difference between marketing and publicity. There’s an old saying; “Marketing is what you pay for, PR is what you pray for” which serves as a great introduction to marketing and publicity for the general public. Both marketing and publicity are key tools of any organisation, and while they both support an organisation’s underlying sales, contribute to the business’ bottom line and fall into similar creative categories, their individual processes and results differ tremendously. Evaluating your share of media depends on many factors including how your organisation measures consumer decision-making and how businesses value, measure and monitor their media content; in terms of ROI, a public relations-earned article can be upwards of ten times more valuable than a paid advertisement, according to some specialists. Below are some lists outlining the key differences between the publicity and marketing functions of a business.

Marketing is paid media

  • Marketing is cost-based, transactional
  • Advertising is allocated by sales/advertising representatives from the media outlet, not journalists
  • Guaranteed media placement
  • Audience knows the space is purchased
  • Client retains 100 per cent creative control of content
  • Message “You should buy this”

Publicity is earned media

  • Unpaid, ‘earned’ third party endorsement
  • Cannot be paid for
  • Requires strategy
  • Builds trust, builds credibility
  • Relationship-based between PR consultants and journalists
  • Requires in-depth media knowledge, exceptional communications skills for successful pitching
  • No guarantee of publication
  • Media controls final product
  • Message: “This is important”

The purpose of marketing is to create and bring to market a product or service that people will buy.

Different Media Explained

Paid Media

  • A large portion of a marketing budget. Plays a major role in marketer’s campaign strategy. For example, TV advertisements.

Owned Media

  • Blogs, company website, Facebook and Twitter etc.
  • Usually involves both PR and marketing (PR for key messaging and marketing for allocating sponsored posts, advertising etc).

Earned Media

  • ‘Earned’ editorial coverage, generated through publicity


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