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Charlotte Johnston

Published on

June 1, 2016


Integrated, Marketing, public relations

LEWIS recently hosted an executive round table at PRWeek’s global event, PR360. The discussion focused on the changing relationship between marketing and PR. Delegates agreed that the relationship between PR and marketing has traditionally been adversarial. But it is changing.

So what has changed, and why?

Yasmin Diamond, Senior VP of Global Corporate Affairs at IHG, indicated that the relationship between marketing and communications “has changed 360-degrees – we’re peers. We bring a different view and a complementary skill set.”

With the digital shift, marketing and PR tools and channels are converging and teams must achieve synergy between the two. Here are four reasons why the two disciplines will continue to become more closely aligned:

1. PR relies on Marketing – and visa versa

Andy Oliver, Global Client Engagement Officer at LEWIS, commented that, if anything, roles are reversing. He suggested marketing departments are more reliant on the PR and comms departments: “We have benefited from the rise of social and digital, and the increasing number of channels that we have to communicate with; the demand for content is insatiable and it’s growing all the time. The type of content that our audiences need will be generated by comms and PR teams, rather than marketing teams.”

There is no doubt that comms teams support marketing in a number of ways. The ultimate goal of PR is to improve brand awareness and company reputation with a target audience, which in turn makes them increasingly receptive to marketing messages.

2. Marketing and PR share a toolkit

Modern marketers and PR pros use many of the same tools. Social media is the most obvious one – with marketers using ads to promote products and generate leads, where PRs are interacting with influencers or improving brand sentiment. Content is another tool that both teams have in common. Regardless of the individual objectives or sharing platforms, the aim is to create engaging material that is interesting and useful to the brand’s audience.

3. Content is cross-channel

John Bird, Director of International Comms Strategy at Manhattan Associates, noted that the explosion in content must drive greater collaboration between comms and marketing. “We all have a collective responsibility to produce great content that resonates, no matter which channel we place that content through. We’ve got to turn to those people within the marketing team which includes us, the PR folk – and utilise those skills that best deliver the content for that asset.”

Content marketing and PR is a symbiotic relationship that can be used to gain credibility and awareness. Engaging content can help establish a brand as a thought leader, optimised press releases can help SEO, influencer engagement can boost brand visibility, and so on.

By coordinating campaigns, a brand can harness and amplify its content more effectively to increase engagement with the target audience and deliver value for money. A case study could provide the basis for a press release, ad copy, an award entry or even a shareable infographic.

4. No more silos

There is no longer clearly defined territory. Digital has blurred the lines between marketing disciplines, and it is time to embrace that fact. PR and marketing teams must break down silos and focus on how they can work together to deliver integrated and effective campaigns.

Click here for the full round-table write up, which also covered changes in measurement, skills and platforms.


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