In many organizations public relations and marketing are separate functions in separate departments and never the twain shall meet. This scenario is a mistake because in general the two work better when they are coordinated, resulting in better successes for the company overall..
Public Relations is defined by the Public Relations Society of America as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” In general, public relations is about building relationships with influencers who can aid in communicating with the end user, and with the users, investors and other relevant audiences who support the organization in meeting goals. Marketing is more focused on the customer and direct communication to show the benefits of a product or service with a specific goal of boosting sales. Public relations is more subtle with its impact on sales.
According to the 2018 Global Communications Report from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 90 percent of PR agency professionals and 82 percent of in-house PR pros predict PR will become more integrated with marketing over the next five years. With an integrated public relations and marketing strategy, the tools used by practitioners in each field are blurring. While PR pros focus on earned or free media coverage, some people may place whitepapers and social media as marketing tools. Marketing pros are more likely to use paid media tactics to directly drive sales. PR is more focused on portraying a positive image of the company and its products.
Both PR and marketing cooperate on the shared brand strategy goals and how to achieve those goals. Elements of the strategy include messaging, events, media relations, social media and inbound marketing tactics of attracting attention to and interaction with the website, social media, and chats. PR pros can support marketing in developing content for email marketing and repurposing content across whitepapers and blogs.
As campaigns continue or are completed, marketing and PR can share data on which messages received the most engagement, which moved prospective customers along their purchase cycle PR can keep the marketing team updated on when coverage will appear so the marketing and sales team can be prepared for a jump in inquiries. How will success be defined? Can metrics be assigned to this vision of success? Remember the SMART goals—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. These metrics can include likes, shares, website visits, sales, inquiries, and requests for information.
The key takeaway is that public relations and marketing are on the same team with the goal of increasing sales; the first step in this process is increasing brand awareness, Before any outbound marketing or public relations can be pursued the company need s to have its ducks in a row meaning in-place, structured messaging, collateral, and prepared staff. By working in conjunction to “sell” both the company and the product, PR and marketing increase their chances of success.
Note: this blog originally ran on February 27, 2019