Combining Forces: How Marketing and PR Can Work Together

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In a time where 50 hour work weeks, working from home, and working with multiple screens have become commonplace, needless to say, many job positions and careers are transforming. With societal trends and changes in the economy, expectations and responsibilities in the workplace change as well, and the fields of marketing and public relations are shifting too.

Due to advances in the fields of technology and communication, it’s not surprising that roles in areas that rely heavily on B2B and B2C communication have shifted and grown as a result. Marketing and public relations are two overlapping areas that have responded to these changes.

Dual roles

So, what’s the difference between marketing and public relations? Though the two are separate departments, job roles in these areas both usually deal with customers, client studies, and customer satisfaction. Due to the close relationships PR and marketing foster with clients, the two areas could be thought of as one unit centering on the same customer information, each covering their different specialties.

Not only is it possible to share tasks and goals between marketing and PR departments, it may be becoming increasingly necessary. Because many of the functions of each are similar or at least highly interrelated, some data may become lost or be unaccounted for without communication between departments. Joint meetings and task lists may be other ways for PR and marketing to work together.

It’s important that marketing and PR not only account for gaps in communication inside the company but it’s also recommended that these two departments present a united front to customers. Because their end goals are so related, both departments need to be on the same page in order to optimize the business’s relationship to current clients as well as initiatives intended for the overall client base.

Many Hats

Many marketing and public relations professionals are finding themselves taking on amorphous roles with diverse daily tasks. Marketers take on customer service and public relations. Public relations specialists are finding themselves becoming marketing mavens and strategizing on ways to increase sales.

It’s true that for these areas, the lines of responsibility have become blurred, and in some places, they have disappeared altogether. Due to the nature of each, marketing and public relations are often the same department in some companies, wherein marketers compile and send out news, press releases, product updates and so on. Public relations professionals may find themselves conducting customer service calls or collecting testimonials in a manner that primes future clients for retention or advocacy.

Office Synergy

Marketing and PR can certainly work together to better reach an intended audience. Marketers analyze data corresponding to weekly events. Public relations specialists speak directly to customers. The former has information on client reactions, while the latter initiates contact or interactions.

In a sense, marketing and PR form two halves of a whole when it comes to customer information. Marketers have access to information like analytics, weekly web leads, click-through-rate and the like, while public relations employees craft communications via email blasts. Both groups are assigned to monitoring and using social media platforms.

Because marketers and PR professionals already work in many of the same areas, it makes sense that their work could be done cooperatively. In the age of information where technology and opinion are often intertwined, marketing and PR need to share data and coordinate on team vision to speak to clients and potential customers.

Conclusion

Marketing and PR each have a separate, valuable use and function as well as working in tandem. In some cases, they must function separately and in other cases, the outcome in a particular situation will be much more successful if those two areas work together.

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Megan Ritter

Megan Marie Ritter is an online journalist and technology enthusiast living in Southern California. In addition to writing about business communications today, her writing also covers social media and video marketing, business globalization, and virtual technology.

Megan grew up in California. She attended the University of San Diego, and graduated with a degree in Marketing. Megan is working on her master's degree at the University of Southern California. She has worked in marketing in financial institutions for 4 years. She spends her time researching her ever changing field and writing online publications to advise those working in the industry. You can reach Megan at @megmarieritter or on Google+.

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9 Responses

  1. Joseph Feigenbaum says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    Just as you’ve stated. An editorial calendar of PR, creates perfect opportunities to align and time other specific marketing activities, which together create a greater overall impact, better brand recognition, and more reasons to contact your customers and prospects.

    Fundamental: Make sure that proper PR and marketing materials are available at times of editorial releases and events.

    See that when news is broadcast through normal PR channels that it is also fully supported on the corporate and/or product website(a) as well as through email, content marketing (targeted landing pages associated to valuable educational content) and webinars. Align thematically developed marketing tactics in voice and design for more impact and recognition (brand and subject) which ultimately is much stronger than unique and separate views of the same or similar information.

    When planning events use PR aligned ads, direct mail, premiums, and online marketing as well as the corporate website to market the event. Use marketing tactics to invite and motivate quests.

    Use PR as a good reason to maintain communication with your clients and prospects via email. Almost everything that is company news is relevant information for these audiences by either creating thought leadership or building the perception of substance, success, and high business activity.

    Also, utilize your marketing calendar to create PR. New content can be news. Creating new content through industry trends and targeted research are great ways to create both new marketing content as well as PR.
    By Joseph Feigenbaum

  2. Isha Edwards says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    Ditto re: what has already been said except that my position is that like sales, advertising, and communications/publicity, PR is a marketing function, which falls under the Promotions facet of the Marketing Mix, and should naturally be including in all marketing planning.

    Similar to the 7 Facets of Business, I take the “mastermind,” versus the silo, approach to marketing communications management. With that said, I add that inbound marketing strategies and social media engagement are also assisted by PR efforts. In some organizations, a publicist or the crisis communications team actively manages social media and create company-specific content.

    With the help of PR, white papers may be created around media calendars or industry trends. Depending on product type, signature events are good PR “assets” that shouldn’t just be popular, but newsworthy.
    By Isha Edwards

  3. Suresh Parmachand says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    Earned-Owned-Bought, Push-Pull-Profile, Awarness-Engage-Convert-Retain-Advocate, Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action whether we are discussing PR, communications, digital marketing or advertising…each function has their own lense and factors which they use to engage audiences, measure their actions and tell a compelling story about the business. That’s table stakes.

    What’s more important today is, whether organizations resource their marketing departments with generalists or specialists, that they all subscribe to a common vision, mission and objectives.

    The tactics can and will differ, but if all functions within and without marketing are not fulfilling a common purpose and communicating frequently while working together. You risk diluting your message, confusing your audiences and weakening your brand equity. This can and will have an impact on your sales and long-term success.
    By Suresh Parmachand

  4. Brad Young says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    You do it with one word: Content. Companies have unprecedented ability to tell their own story and distribute that story in a way that drives inbound leads and revenue without taking up massive media budgets. PR functions are uniquely suited to be a huge part of the brand storytelling and narrative. Figure out your narrative, align your top management around those points, and you should be off to the races to execute in a holistic, integrated way that moves the needle for the company.
    By Brad Young

  5. Shirley Kirsten says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Jewish Professionals
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    I synergize you tube with blogs with cds with performances…use FB, Linked in, Word Press, Authors Den, write for Patch Online… and lots more..
    By Shirley Kirsten

  6. Walter Daniels says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Jewish Professionals
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    As _I_ see it, the real “problem,” is in seeing them as separate items/jobs. Both are part of the same spectrum. PR is gaining awareness of existence. Marketing, is gaining awareness of what you have to offer, to *solve people’s needs.* See how they complement each other? PR is actually part of the advertising/Marketing/Sales spectrum. In spite of what too many want you to think, they _flow into each other_. None actually exist independently.
    By Walter Daniels

  7. Ed Graczyk says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    I’ve never understood the separation of PR from Marketing. In orgs I’ve run, PR has always been a key part of the meta function we call “Marketing”. PR is simply one of the tools in your marketing tool bag that you use to reach customers with your message and excite them to try, buy, and try again. Sure, you can put PR into a different department within Marketing, just like you might put advertising or research in their own departments, but at the end of the day it’s all Marketing.
    By Ed Graczyk

  8. Kimberly Nelson says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    We leverage PR as another channel to customers and the broader external stakeholders. It is aligned to the overall strategy and messaging of the business. What is an ongoing process is where does social fit – marketing or PR – again all a function or part of the marketing mix, but who owns and drives and how do we align.
    By Kimberly Nelson

  9. Prasad Vikrama Rao says:

    Via LinkedIn Groups
    Group: Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network – #1 Group for CMOs
    Discussion: How Do You Synergize Marketing and PR in Your Business?

    PR is a part of the fourth P ‘Promotions’ and should be built into the marketing plan.
    I have worked on product categories where the role of evangelists / influencers is important in brand choice. So appropriate aspects of PR ranging from media conferences and releases regarding new products etc. to activation / direct contact programmers / experiential marketing were used to good effect.
    By Prasad Vikrama Rao