Marketing, Communications, PR: what’s the difference?

By Matthew Rowe, MJR Marketing & PR Consultancy.
Admittedly the title of this article sounds like the beginning of a poor joke, but for your business to be successful it’s worth taking the time to get to grips with the differences.
Published in UK Director Magazines Spring 24

Marketing, PR & Communications:
Matthew Rowe, MJR Marketing & PR Consultancy

Whatever your business, understanding the three pillars of marketing, communications and PR is vital for success. Businesses that leverage the unique strengths of each discipline are more likely to create an impactful brand presence in the market.

Unfortunately, they are often confused, leading to resources being incorrectly assigned (human and financial), strategies being misaligned, and opportunities missed.

In simple terms…

Marketing sets the stage. Communication establishes the rapport. PR safeguards the reputation.


Far from being the ‘colouring in’ department, marketing involves the meticulous orchestration of a range of activities to achieve business objectives. From market research to strategic product positioning, it lays the groundwork for building a brand’s identity and nurturing customer loyalty.

At its heart, marketing is about understanding customer needs and preferences, developing products or services that satisfy those needs, and crafting compelling strategies to promote and sell them.

To achieve this, marketers use a range of tools and channels – market research, advertising, branding, customer relationship management – to drive awareness, engagement, and ultimately, conversions.


Communication is the art of establishing a genuine connection with the audience. The key to effective communication is the skill of crafting compelling narratives. A well-told story has the power to captivate an audience, making a brand memorable.

What communication isn’t is ‘telling’ – it’s a dynamic process. The real rewards don’t come from delivering messages but from listening. Listening to customer feedback, adapting strategies, and fostering a dialogue that builds trust and loyalty.

Public Relations

PRs meticulously manage how a brand is perceived by the public, media, and stakeholders. These eagle-eyed guardians are equally adept at spotting potential problems, as well as successes that need to be celebrated.

Essentially, PR is about shaping a brand’s narrative – building and maintaining positive relationships, handling crises with finesse, and fostering a favourable image. Oddly, some of its best results are never seen. If a negative story wasn’t reported in the press the chances are a PR really earned their money that day.

Harmonising the Trio

While each discipline has its focus, the real magic happens when all three work in harmony. The symbiotic relationship between them creates a comprehensive strategy that resonates with the audience, builds brand loyalty, and safeguards the long-term health of the business.

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Get in touch

Matthew Rowe (MCIPR) is Founder and Director of MJR Marketing and PR Consultancy

T: 07905 160129
Or visit

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