Why marketing & public relations folks should be friends

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At the heart of an integrated marketing strategy is the ideology that nothing in an organization is a siloed effort. While "integrated  marketing" seems to be having a renaissance here lately, Illumine8 has believed this simple truth for over a decade. But this post isn't about us on a soap box about the unbelievable advantages to the integrated marketing theory in practice (for more on that click here). So, how exactly does today's PR work with a Marketing Strategy?

If you take a moment to poke around the web, you'll find a few definitions of both practices:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

– The American Marketing Association

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

– Public Relations Society of America


At the core of the matter - Marketing is the art of communication with the customer and Public Relations is strategic communication with the public. Similar yes? So why are the two practices treated separately?

A History Lesson

Before the age of tweets, likes, and pins your main source of the news was achieved solely through publishing. Gathered by journalists, news was found in your newspaper, publication, radio or TV. If you wanted to have publishing voice, an association with one of the news outlets was essential unless you had the means to publish yourself....and then the internet came along. Suddenly anyone could publish news, thoughts, ideas bringing about an unprecedented era of content creation.

Now influence in the media is not held solely by the publisher - influence has found other avenues such as bloggers and social media mavens. This has drastically changed both Marketing and Public Relations professions.

Marketing and Public Relations at the speed of tweet

Marketers look at these new communications tools as a means to reach out and engage the customer. The Public Relations professional looks at these new tools as a means to reach the right content curators and publishers. Same tool - slightly different audience application. It is not unheard of for a tweet, originating from marketing meant to engage the customer, to get the interest of a reporter for a story. And visa versa - a press release on your company website many entice a customer  to act. In the land of tangled communications the lines between customer and content publisher have been blurred.

Marketing and Public Relations working together

Making sure that your overall Integrated Marketing Strategy includes both marketing and public relations communications is essential. Each should work in concert - not against one another. Successful organizations value the integration of marketing and public relations and recognize that all companies, non-profits, associations, and even governments must nurture key relationships to ensure the success of their marketing, fundraising, and outreach efforts.

Check out this fun fact: A survey of chief marketing officers at major national and global advertisers conducted by the Association of National Advertisers found that the value public relations delivers as part of the overall marketing mix is increasing.

    • Public relations is closer to the perspectives, objectives and concerns of corporate CEOs than any other communication or marketing discipline.
    • Public relations also sees “the whole corporate picture” as it relates to issues CEOs worry about.
    • In addition, public relations is a key driver of business outcomes critical to organizational success, including crisis mitigation, reputation and brand building, consumer engagement, sales generation, wealth creation, issues management and beneficial shifts in constituent attitudes and behaviors.

So, drop your guns and pitch forks - Marketing and Public Relations should be friends.

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