The Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing, and Why Your Tech Startup Needs Both

Posted on



Michiko Morales

So, you’ve developed a brand new idea, established a team, rented out an office space and impressed a couple of customers with your innovation! A small idea that you might have had on the back of a napkin at a late night happy hour has finally come to life for you. So, what next? If you didn’t already have a public relations or marketing allowance in your budget, it’s not too late to consider adding one. Strategic public relations and integrated marketing are critical components to the establishment and longevity of a brand and your revenue and customer footprint growth. But first, it’s important to distinguish the difference between the two and understand how startups can benefit from both.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is never just a website. If all that was needed to sell your product or service was making it publicly available, marketing would never have existed! Today, marketers know that customers have a wide range of expectations from their brands.

An integrated marketing approach creates a unified and seamless consumer experience that meets their needs and expectations, and increases sales–all while staying on point with integrated, uniform messaging, strategy, and branding. Marketers help their clients and their prospects by:

  • Helping qualified leads discover the product/service
  • Showing qualified leads how the product meets their needs and pain points
  • Nurturing their journeys along the path to purchase and beyond
  • Delighting customers and creating brand ambassadors
  • Creating inbound strategy to attract qualified leads
  • Developing assets like blogs, infographics, whitepapers to meet needs, generate brand awareness and capture lead information
  • Creating SEO optimized websites for increased qualified traffic
  • Discovering target social media channels to promote brand awareness and content
  • Developing, deploying, and testing pay-per-click and other online advertising methods

You’ll notice much of the strategy has shifted from the bullhorn of outbound strategy to the customer-centric siren’s song of inbound. In short, digital and online marketing are now the headliners in comparison to print. In addition, it’s a cost-effective and more measurable alternative to heavy advertising. Marketing budgets always seem to have little room for expansion–especially when it comes to startups. With properly targeted, strategic and smart marketing, it’s easier to attract and obtain customer interest and mindshare from the primary decision-makers that your startup is targeting.

What is Public Relations?

In scholarly terms, public relations (PR) is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” So, what does that really mean? Public relations is the voice of an organization. It is cultivating consistent messaging to ensure that a company is properly positioned as an industry leader, thought leader and expert in the specified industry.

Think about when you search for what restaurant to visit. Nine times out of ten, you’re probably not going to the local establishment that’s known for poor customer service in the blogs. When choosing a doctor or a lawyer, typically one will look for a professional who is known for having an extensive amount of industry experience and education. The same goes for businesses looking for software that will enable them to run their operations more effectively and efficiently. Startups need good press, and this is where PR comes into play.

Strategic PR can take your business from a local startup to automatically getting on the short list of preferred vendors or becoming an award-winning, recognized brand. Without public relations, your startup can fall flat, never reach the right audience and burn through all your cash (cue horror movie music).

With solid PR, you can answer questions that customers might have before they even enter your office or your website’s digital marketing funnel. PR makes sure that your startup is consistently “in the conversation.” In order to increase revenue, it is important that you can show clients and customers how you are a notable and key player in the industry. It is the backbone to messaging and provides the answers to why companies and customers should believe in your offerings.

As you can see, disruptive PR services integrated with tech marketing can get your business seen, make it part of the lives of your targets, attract and nurture leads and increase revenue. And while the two strategies may have the same goals, one or the other is rarely enough. If you are looking for a public relations and marketing agency to take your startup to the next level, contact Gabriel Marketing Group or download our white paper on maximizing your PR efforts.  And, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!

From the Blog

Leah Nurik