Should I Study a Bachelor's Degree in PR or Marketing? And What's the Difference?

Marketing and PR (or public relations) are two very important branches of business, which have become so mixed together that sometimes it’s hard to make the difference between them. If this also gives you a bit of a headache, check out the explanations below, along with some good Bachelor’s you might want to consider from each of the two specialisations.

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In essence, the two cover different purposes and you should not confuse a marketing professional with a PR person. At a party, a marketing person will say to a beautiful girl ‘I’m rich, marry me!’. A PR person would open the girl’s door, call her a cab, and finally say, ‘By the way, I’m rich. Will you marry me?’.

If you’re soon to be a student and interested in either Marketing or PR, it is essential you make an informed decision before you apply to a Bachelor’s degree.

The bottom line is Marketing focuses on advertising and promoting products and services so as to meet sales estimates, while PR focuses on keeping a good company image and building a relationship with the media.

Looking at details about these differences is going to make your choice much easier.

What is Marketing and what is PR

Marketing is that part of a business that focuses on customers (existing and potential). The goal of Marketing is to sell products and services. That’s why Marketing uses media and advertising as tools. Marketing works on what specialists call the four P’s: products, price, place, and promotion.

If you want to work in marketing you will need to develop skills like critical and analytical thinking, as well as organisational and interpersonal skills.

Public Relations (PR) deals with the general reputation of a company or organisation. Focusing more on the image of a company, the PR department initiates and maintains good relationships with stakeholders, the media, the community, investors, financial analysts and more.

Working in PR requires communication and writing skills, good public speaking and listening skills, along with the ability to interpret various data. Creativity is a must.

The differences between a Bachelor’s degree in PR and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing

A Bachelor’s degree in Marketing will teach you to identify which financial and managerial approaches are most effective in today’s marketing operations. As a PR student, you’ll get familiar with persuasion techniques, and with the relationship between PR and other communication industries.  Here's how the main courses are organised for each degree: 

Marketing vs. PR

Some of the countries that offer the best range of Marketing undergraduate degrees are:

Great places to do a degree in PR are:

Long story short, marketing has connections with numbers, aka mathematics and finance. PR is more linked with journalism, creative writing, and communications studies.

Some universities that offer very good programmes in both PR and Marketing are:

The missing links between Marketing and PR

The reason why people confuse these two fields is because they often affect each other. As an example, PR helps the marketing strategy to become more credible, but they both promote the same company or brand. Marketing experts often work together with PR specialists to set up marketing campaigns, and the other way around.

However, the two branches are different when it comes to the purpose of their strategies and their duration. A marketing strategy can last for a short term, but the success of a PR activity can be seen over a longer period of time. 

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What’s more, marketers always require financial resources for launching a campaign or for advertising; a PR strategy can be completely free (no need for money to get the media to publish your releases).

Careers in Marketing vs. PR

In terms of job offers, you are more likely to find marketing positions than PR ones within a company. Only major companies with big budgets have a PR. The rest contract PR agencies — the best places to find jobs in PR.

Now that you know what’s all about, you can reflect on which of the types of Bachelor’s degrees is better for you.

Marketing vs. PR

The takeaway here is that marketing deals with advertising and is mainly concerned with customers, whereas PR handles press and media. Either way, you need to be a people’s person, creative, and a fan of last-minute deadlines.

Take some time to figure out which career path suits you best, so that you can start looking for the right Bachelor’s programmes. 

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