What is the difference between advertising, marketing and PR?

We understand it can be confusing for someone who does not work within the industry to understand the difference between advertising, marketing and public relations (PR), especially when they go hand in hand and often complete one and another. Therefore, we have listed their core abilities below.


Marketing is all you do to communicate what you have to offer in terms of value to customers. But it’s not just about advertising. Marketing can also be your clothes, yourself, what it looks like in the office, how you drive your profiled car, yes everything that gives potential customers the impression of you and your company.


PR – or Public Relations is everything you do to create goodwill for a person or a company. PR is also about managing the flow of information between the company and the so-called stakeholders, i.e. everyone outside the company who in some way has to do with the company.


Advertising is a paid form of communication, a message through various media such as newspapers, TV, radio, signs, billboards and websites.


Marketing plays an important role in order for companies to succeed wíth their business and to be as profitable as possible. It is mainly thanks to marketing that a company can get noticed and it is also due to marketing that more people, who are hopefully potential customers, can get in touch with the company. Marketing can take place in a variety of ways today, everything that is possible today and everything that exists today has, however, not always existed.

During the middle of the 20th century, companies manufactured such products and performed such services where the needs of the market felt bottomless. During this time, many households felt much better, and this helped people to start consuming and buying more. The fact that more people shopped more was not because many companies applied marketing to their business and succeeded in doing so, but the vast majority of people shopped anyway and therefore not much marketing was needed during this time. Over time, different companies grew, and new companies began to work with different market segments. The needs of customers also became more divided and different over time, for example, it was no longer the case that you wanted a car but you wanted a car in a certain size or similar. The fact that the needs became more and more different contributed to the supply of goods and services often exceeding the demand. The companies became competitors and it was a tough competition. Money invested in marketing and communication with customers became increasingly important and also became a larger part of the company’s costs. During the last half of the 20th century, marketing was very important for companies to succeed in the market, because that was required for the company to win the war for customers.

Digitized marketing

The biggest difference between marketing in the past and today is digital. The digital revolution was what made everything change, and this change and development happened very quickly. Society was digitalized, and the internet was the medium that connected everything and everyone on earth. The fact that society also became mobile and wireless with telephones and computers, and that people got broadband that made it possible to transfer large amounts of data led to the company getting new challenges and changing its behavior.

Digitization is above all what distinguishes marketing in the past from what is used today, and if you look at the behavior of companies, a lot has changed when it comes to marketing when technology is possible. One of the things that changed was that the dialogue with customers increased very much, and it is very important today with the opportunities that exist.

Today, companies ask customers what they think and feel. Customers can be involved and give suggestions on what can be improved, but also be involved in the product development process. In addition, companies offer newsletters and various types of membership. Today, companies are doing much more to build strong brands. In the past, this was done primarily with the help of advertising, but today it is also important how the company behaves around various aspects. Some of these aspects are whether the company takes the environment into account, how the employees feel at work, how the company uses resources, but also PR in different situations.

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