PR and marketingThere have been whispers of more integration between PR and marketing for some time.

But current thinking holds that next year, it’s really going to make an impact.

Whether or not that’s a good thing, we’ll soon see.

Recently, I wrote an article on the social media trends that will impact 2019.  I had help from some of the biggest experts and influencers in our industry.

For instance, Spin Sucks’ very own Gini Dietrich raised the issue that in 2019 we’ll see more integration between PR and marketing.

PR and Marketing
Source: Talkwalker

Uggggggg. It makes me sad that marketing and PR are more readily becoming one. I am a big proponent of metrics and making decisions based on data, but the PR industry should have stood up 10 years ago and taken control of this. Instead, our marketing brethren have known exactly what to do with data and are owning it. Which means PR will most definitely become more integrated with marketing—and, unless the company is extremely savvy and has a sophisticated PR team, PR will never again own a seat at the proverbial table.

Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

PR and Marketing: A Combined Effort

I agree. Integration between departments will be essential in the future.

But will it really be as bad as Gini believes?

From my point-of-view, I think it’s a good thing. But I’m a bit biased.

As a member of a smaller marketing team, it’s usually a combined effort when it comes to PR, marketing, comms, social, ads, etc.

As a business originating as a start-up (though more grown-up now), we still have the opportunity to strategize communications as a whole and expand those processes exponentially as we grow.

The issue is more about how established marketing and PR departments will adapt.

And it all boils down to how brands are growing in data maturity.

Businesses are becoming savvier when it comes to data.

And they’ve got a better understanding of how they should be handling and measuring it for data-driven marketing and decision making.

PR and Marketing: Data Maturity

Data maturity is all about alignment.

It’s about ensuring that all of your goals, benchmarks, and KPIs are mapped to your business outcomes. And that means aligning your marketing and PR departments, so their goals match too.

But, this is easier said than done.

Some of the biggest brands in the world are still getting to grips with how this works.

For example, look at how Sky have drastically cut their KPIs to improve monitoring. They previously measured 2,000 KPIs across the brand.

As you can imagine, this was an analytical nightmare.

Now, they focus on 30 KPIs they use throughout their business, with an aim to reduce that number to 12.

Pepsi had the same issue.

What the business was left with was a flood of information. You could always find an answer to support the position you were trying to push forward if you used the right data, but the context wasn’t there, and the business wasn’t able to make those decisions based on the most effective information possible.

Nathan Linkon, Director of Strategic Insights, EMEA

Reiterating the Importance of PR

The phrase, “not everything that can be counted, counts” springs to mind.

Albert Einstein highlighted this decades before social media analytics even began.

But even then, he knew that if you tried to monitor everything you would quickly drown.

So what does all of this mean?

I think it’s an opportunity. Remember, the keyword is alignment, not hostile takeover.

For data-savvy PR personnel, this is your chance to reiterate the importance of PR and define exactly where your seat is.

By focusing on a data-led strategy which aligns with your business needs, you should be able to drive success and have analytical evidence to show where that success came from.

And if you’re leading from the front, marketing will need to keep in line with you.

PR and Marketing: Plan Your Data Strategy

For this, consider your data maturity level for next year, and how you can improve it.

Whether for your brand as a whole or as a department. The key areas to think about are:

  • Forget vanities. Map your metrics to the business outcomes that matter. Did the increase in chatter from your latest press release have a real impact on brand awareness? If not, then was it really a success?
  • Are you using the right data sets to plan your strategy? All your customer-oriented data-sets must align (there’s that word again), to give you the complete picture of your audience.
  • To prepare for the future, you must understand your past. Your benchmarks should be clearly defined and shared. Make sure everyone is following the same strategy, and ensure that strategy fits within your overall business goals.

PR and Marketing Must Be Adaptable

Think of where your key skills lie and how they can be used in other areas.

In the future, your role won’t just be media relations. It will have to be adaptable to incorporate other marketing messages.

There are numerous occasions where I’ve worked on press releases and then reshaped them into social messages, blog posts, outbound emails, etc.

And because they all have the same aim and target, it doesn’t matter if some traditionally count as “marketing” or “PR.” The trick is adaptability.

Gini’s work on the PESO model is the ultimate example of this.

Merging together all possible outputs into a focused distribution method means you can maximize your output while minimalizing your content efforts.

All you need is a consistent message you can share. And there’s no reason why PR pros can’t take ownership of that message.

PR and Marketing: Take a Stand and Start a Trend

Maybe we should be calling it Content PR, not Content Marketing.

It’ll be a challenge. But also an opportunity.

The PR industry has a right to stand up and take control of this new trend.

Right now, 2019 is looking like the year that gives us the chance to take a stand, and really shake up the industry.

And that’s not just PR, but marketing, comms, social — the whole kit and kaboodle.

I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Do you think PR is on the back foot, or is there still an opportunity for you to take charge? Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Dan Seavers

Dan is part of the content team at Talkwalker. With an interest in social analytics and bad puns, he enjoys writing about a variety of marketing topics.

View all posts by Dan Seavers