Advertising, marketing & public relations: teamwork makes the dream work

Whenever my roommate talks about her marketing classes, I feel a weird blend of familiarity and bewilderment; it’s like I can only catch every other word she’s saying. I recognize the language, but I’m not quite fluent. 

I once told her, “I don’t know how to think like a marketer.” I study public relations, not marketing! The two are closely connected, but not quite the same. 

So what is the difference between marketing and public relations? How does advertising fit in? I wanted to know, so I began asking at school and researching online. 

Here's what I uncovered!


Advertisements want you to notice them. At the focus of every advertisement is a product or service. “Here I am,” it says, “Buy me!” 

With the rise of AdBlocker and a growing distrust of self-promotion, advertising often gets a bad rep. Information is readily (and literally) at our fingertips; most of us need more than a few seconds of a banner ad to be won over. The best advertisements are about more than the product alone; they also communicate value. Take, for example, this NIVEA DOLL video advertisement. It promotes sales, absolutely, but it also raises awareness for sun protection!

Think of advertising like a math equation: it takes the right product, expressed in the right way at the right time, delivered to the right audience, to produce a direct result.

Above: the relationship between advertising, marketing, and PR.   FACTEUR PR Instagram

Above: the relationship between advertising, marketing, and PR.  FACTEUR PR Instagram

Target: Potential customers
Message: “I am fantastic, and this is why you should buy me!”
Great for: Creating buzz about a product/service, driving sales, targeting specific audiences


Marketing might seem similar to advertising, but think of marketing as a cake. You don’t usually eat a cake whole; you cut it up into slices. Advertising is just one slice of the marketing cake!

If we’re talking about strictly business (and not a cake), then marketing is the strategic implementation of tactics that brings together the buyer and the seller. It is a map that leads to the target audience — and marketing is all about the target audience. “Who am I targeting?” it asks, “And how can I appeal to them? Why should they choose me over the competition?” 

Marketing is me sending you a love letter of how you mean more to me than anyone else. It’s me writing a sonnet about how you are perfect for me, and I am perfect for you. 

Target: Current/potential customers
Message: “This is how I add value to your life, so you should buy me!”
Great for: Creating brand recognition, persuading target audiences, driving target audiences to action and purchase

Public Relations

Advertising and marketing both aim to sell, whether it be the product or the brand. Public relations, however, aims to build a relationship (hence ‘relations’). “This is who I am,” it says, “And this is how we can connect!”

A big part of public relations is media coverage.  Advertising and marketing “speak” directly to their audiences — but public relations enhances a brand through the media and word-of-mouth. You might read an article about a product launch, or you might watch a review on YouTube of a product, likely facilitated by PR people.

The end of the tunnel for public relations is not necessarily a sale or a purchase. Public relations is about creating and fostering relationships, about building credibility and trust, and about sharing a story. While sales aren't the first priority of PR, they can (and often happen) as a result!

Target: All stakeholders, including customers, influencers/editors, internal audiences, and shareholders
Message: “This is who they say I am and why I am worth talking about, so we should be friends!”
Great for: Building connections with media outlets and audiences, creating a positive image

Advertising, marketing, and PR. See how different they all are, despite how similar they seem? Each field has its own perspective and way of planning and executing! Each one on its own can produce great results, but together is when they really work best. Teamwork makes the dream work!

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Contributing blogger
Julie is FACTEUR PR's Digital PR intern for Summer 2017.


Julie Hong

Julie Hong is FACTEUR PR's Summer Digital PR Intern. She is currently finishing her third year at University of Georgia, where she studies Public Relations and New Media and has experience in community relations, media relations, social media, event planning, and more. During the school year, she is part of the Publicity Committee at her school’s PRSSA chapter and the occasional staff writer for seasonal publications. A California girl who moved to Atlanta at age 16, she loves to say ‘y’all’ but still gets confused when she hears ‘fixin ‘to’. 

Pinterest: five new features you may have missed

One of the many great things about Pinterest is their ever-evolving platform and improvements made in response to customer problems. A few days ago, Pinterest rolled out a number of new features - inspired by their Pinners - that we're sharing here in case you missed them! Whether you're a business owner, brand, blogger, or dreamer, these new features are worth taking note of. Knowing about these new features will help you better understand how your followers and potential customers are using the platform and ultimately influence some of the ways you might promote your brand or business as a result.

1.) Better Messaging Functionality

Previously on Pinterest, users could send a Pin to friend as long as they were a fellow Pinner. Now, you can actually send a Pin to someone that you don't necessarily follow (or who follows you) on Pinterest. You can even share a Pin with multiple people and have a group conversation (kind of like you do on Facebook messenger). Perfect for planning a baby or bridal shower, office party, and more. {TIP: Think about this in terms of contesting for your business!}

2.) Better Sharing Functionality

Until recently, the only way you could send pins, profiles, or boards from the Pinterest app was via Pinterest and email. Now, you can share instantly through text message, Facebook messenger, and WhatsApp, as well.

3.) Improved Search Engine

Pinterest has acknowledged the difficulty its users had been experiencing when searching for friends, and has taken steps to improve the searchability of not just pins, but pinners, too! 

Pinterest advertising

4.) Promote Your Pins Post-by-Post

If you have a business account on Pinterest, you can now hover over any of your pins and instantly promote them, rather than diving into the advertising manager to set up your campaign. You'll see a red button appear like the one on the right. 

5.) Curate Your Home Feed (Again)

Remember when your Pinterest feed only included pins from the boards and people you followed? For the past couple years, you probably noticed that your feed now includes "Picked for You" pins, a slew of recommended content based on your search history, current boards you follow, and interests you selected when first creating your account. It's been hugely successful for Pinterest ("Picked for You" pins actually get saved 600 million times each month), but some users have complained that content isn't relevant or just isn't what they want to see. So, now you can click on the settings tab after you've logged in and turn off the "Picked for You" functionality if you wish to fine-tune your home feed! 

If you're interested in instant or committed support with your social media channels, definitely check out our Social Media services page, and sign up below for the FACTEUR e-newsletter for more tips and tricks!

Knowing about these new features will help you better understand how your followers and potential customers are using the platform and ultimately influence some of the ways you might promote your brand or business as a result.