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PR, Marketing, Advertising – What’s The Difference?

Whenever people describe what I do, 9 times of out 10 they give the same answer.

“Advertising…and stuff.”


3ManFactory is an integrated marketing agency; we offer a full suite of marketing. I don’t work in advertising. When I try and explain this, I’m again usually met with the same answer.

“’s all the same to me.”

Well actually, no, it isn’t. When I also tell people that one of the services we offer is PR, the confusion grows and unless it’s something they’re familiar with, this also seems to fall under the ‘advertising’ umbrella for most people outside of the industry.

So, what is marketing?

Marketing is essentially the overall process of boosting awareness of a product, service or brand. It’s all the communications between a company and their consumer/audience. Its purpose is usually to induce some kind of behavioural change; for instance, it might be to make people use your service, or buy your product, or promote a particular viewpoint.

But it isn’t just one thing. For most people, purchasing decisions don’t hinder on one advert, or seeing one poster. They’re bigger than that because our brains are more complicated than that.

For example, let’s imagine I see a blogger using a lipstick on Instagram. I might not go out immediately and purchase it. If I see a blogger using it, as well as a billboard campaign featuring my favourite singer, followed by a feature in the magazine I read, when I walk into Boots and see that end of aisle display, it’s more likely to make it’s way into my basket.

Ok, but isn’t all of that advertising?

In short, no. Parts of it are, but not all of it. All of it together is marketing. Advertising is any space/endorsement that has been paid for and where the content has been driven by the brand. For example, when you see an advert on the TV, the brand who’ve placed the ad have bought that timeslot. They’ve also paid an agency or in-house team to direct the creative for them. This is advertising.

But what about PR?

Public Relations is pretty much all about reputation; it’s the relationship a brand has with it’s public. How is it viewed, is there trust there? If a brand is favourably viewed and trusted, it’s more than likely going to be able to influence decisions.

Although not everyone will be aware of it, PR is all around you. Through PR stunts, press releases, announcements and statements, it’s literally everywhere. I suppose it’s a bit of a dark art – but it can have such a huge impact on the success of your business/brand in the long term.

I could ramble on all day about what separates the disciplines, but in a nutshell, that’s it.

If you’d like to know more about any of the above, or you’re not sure what it is your brand needs, you can give me or any of the 3Man team a call on 01772 915005 to chat! ☺️

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