The line between marketing and sales has blurred. Today, marketers often work collaboratively with salespeople to drive business growth and advance the brand. This collaborative environment benefits both parties: Marketing brings in the audience, and sales convinces them to purchase.
While this may be the case, each profession holds a different set of responsibilities and each serves a unique function within the organization. To know which job you might be best suited for, you need to understand what each role entails and what skills are required.
The Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations
If you’re new to the role of a marketing or sales director, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many different responsibilities that go along with the role, and it can be challenging to know which are the most important. To help you get started, we’ve put together a guide to the basics of what is the best job for a marketing or sales director.
Marketing and sales are often used interchangeably, but they’re different professions with different responsibilities. Marketing is all about getting people to acknowledge your product or service, while sales is about delivering on that acknowledgement and turning it into a purchase.
To better understand the differences, let’s take a look at how each profession broke down the numbers for the 2019 Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Agencies.
Marketing vs. Advertising
Looking at 2019 figures, marketing and advertising agencies earned a combined revenue of approximately $32 billion, with marketing earning 25% and advertising gaining 75% of that pie. This trend is not new: In 2020, nearly all of the surveyed marketers said that revenue from digital marketing will increase by 30% compared to 2019 figures.
The share of ad revenues from digital marketing increased from 19% in 2018 to 24% in 2019, while the share of traditional advertising (such as print and outdoor) dropped from 76% to 71%. This shift is likely a result of increased consumer engagement with ads when they are more in line with the brand’s values. Additionally, more than half of the marketers (54%) reported that video is the most effective type of content for attracting and engaging customers. Finally, the use of robots and AI for marketing and advertising doubled in 2019 from 29% to 58%.
Digital Marketing, Advertising, and PR
Now, let’s take a look at how each of these professions breaks down the numbers for the Top 100 companies.
Digital marketing agencies earned a combined revenue of $9.6 billion in 2019, up 25% from the $7.5 billion they made in 2018. This represents a staggering increase of 73%.
The number of digital marketing agencies jumped up by 20% in 2019 (from 360 to 420) and now stands at the highest level since 2012. This increase can be attributed to the fact that marketers have shifted to digital strategies and maintained focus on email marketing. Email marketing provides a versatile means of communication that allows marketers to target and engage with consumers at any time and anywhere.
Additionally, 92% of the marketers said that making immediate purchases is one of the benefits of their email marketing strategy, and 88% said the same about using social media.
Social media advertising agencies earned a combined revenue of $6.1 billion in 2019, up 16% from the $5.3 billion they made in 2018. This represents an increase of 27%.
The number of social media advertising agencies increased by 49% in 2019 (from 400 to 586) and now stands at the highest level since 2012. This increase can be attributed in part to the fact that marketers are keeping up with the times and adapting to the changing ways consumers want to communicate and engage with brands. These days, consumers can be found on every social media channel—from LinkedIn to TikTok—so it’s essential that marketers have a presence on each of these platforms.
Public relations agencies earned a combined revenue of $4.5 billion in 2019, up 8% from the $4.3 billion they made in 2018. This represents a decline of 3%.
The number of public relations agencies decreased by 7% in 2019 (from 430 to 400) and now stands at the lowest level since 2012. To put this in perspective, during the 2012 presidential election, there were more than 1,200 PR agencies in the U.S. On one hand, this might indicate that PR is no longer considered essential for a brand to succeed in today’s world. On the other hand, it could mean that consumers have grown tired of being bombarded by ads and prefer to avoid them. Either way, it’s clear that modern PR tactics—such as measuring the results of a campaign and adjusting accordingly—are no longer effective enough to draw in the audiences needed to support a profitable brand.
Which Job Is Right for You?
While the previous sections clarified the differences between marketing, advertising, and public relations, now it’s time to figure out which one is the right fit for you. To get started, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for in terms of flexibility and responsivity to change. Once you have that, it’s easy to decide which role is right for you.
If you’re looking for a stable job with a company that has longevity, then the marketing or advertising role may be a fit. You’ll be working with a team of marketers and ad agencies to grow a business and drive sales. You’ll also be responsible for the creation and maintenance of digital marketing strategies and tactics, such as websites, blogs, and social media.
If, however, you’re looking for a position that is more dynamic and offers more opportunity for growth, then the public relations role may be a better option. Here, your responsibilities will vary but typically include media relations, event planning, and crisis management. You’ll be in the thick of brand awareness, advertising, and marketing initiatives, as well as be responsible for coordinating and executing press activities. Additionally, you may be called upon to take on a leadership role during a corporate crisis—responding to media queries and acting as a public face of the company during a time of turmoil.
Where do I start?
With all the information at your fingertips, it’s easy to make the right choice and enter the right job. However, even if you have everything in perspective, nothing is guaranteed in life. The best strategy is to prepare for the job search process through continuous learning and develop the right skills. Additionally, you can take advantage of the many resources available to you on the Internet and within your community. In times of need, you can contact existing or former colleagues, friends, and family for help—trusting your network is an essential tool in today’s digital world.
If you’re just getting started, the safest bet is to specialize in marketing and online sales. From there, you can move into advertising, public relations, and sales, each with their unique set of responsibilities. Finally, if you’re looking for a more specific niche, consider marketing analytics or email marketing management.