The answer is no. But they need each other. Although they share similar methods and tactics, at their cores, public relations and marketing have different goals. Let’s break it down:
The goal of PR.
The desired outcome of a PR professional is a trusted relationship with his audience. Public Relations main goal is to create awareness and trust by communicating with audiences, directly or through intermediaries such as the media.
The goal of marketing.
The job of a marketer is to stimulate demand in an audience by triggering a response, a need, then directing that need to products and services. The desired outcome here is an interested buyer.
Why Marketing and PR aren’t the same thing?
The methods and tools used by both is very similar, if not the same. However, there a few differences. A PR professional uses the media to create awareness and the social media to communicate with audiences. The publications provide information to audiences and advertising drive awareness to content. PR professionals use trusted third parties like publications to create social proof and trust in the company and its products and services.
On the other hand, a marketer uses the media to generate demand and the social media to trigger need, pose questions and to highlight implicit problems audiences have that the company will solve. Marketers use advertising to reach audiences that are hard to reach organically, but with a different purpose other than awareness: demand generation.
Why marketing and PR need each other?
Awareness needs demand and demand needs awareness. Let’s put it that way:
Demand without awareness and trust is like having a coffee shop that customers can’t find, and awareness without demand is like having a coffee shop that customers never visit. Combined, marketing and PR encourage people to tell each other about the coffee ship, trust that the coffee is good, come to it and buy something from it.
They are not the same thing, but they need each other.