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Co-ordinate your PR and marketing strategies to amplify results.
Co-ordinate your PR and marketing strategies to amplify results.

Why PR and marketing go hand-in-hand

In many businesses, public relations and marketing often operate as separate departments or teams. That structure can lead to a lack of co-ordination and missed opportunities, writes WILLIAM J COMCOWICH.

PR and marketing teams perform better when they work together. Co-ordination helps each accomplish what they cannot do separately, and improves the bottom line for the entire organisation.

The most successful businesses have cohesive marketing and PR strategies working side-by-side to promote the business.

Jessica Tiller, co-founder of Weiss PR, says, “Think of marketing and PR like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies — they just go together.”

Tiller explains that integrating the two brings credibility, consistency and greater visibility to a business’ messaging – that is, the information it communicates to potential customers about its products and services.

Disappearing differences

Traditionally, PR focused on media relations and building relationships with key groups such as investors and employees, as well as journalists.

Meanwhile, the marketing department oversaw advertising, promotional materials and gathering customer information through surveys and focus groups.

"It’s important that PR officers work with the marketing team before, during and after an announcement or campaign launch"

In other words, while PR representatives safeguarded the brand’s reputation, marketing officers concentrated on boosting sales.

Today, PR and marketing objectives collide, overlap and intertwine. For example, both PR and marketing teams may control a business’ social media channels or manage the company’s blog.

Communications professionals agree that PR and marketing are merging, with 90 per cent of PR agency professionals and 82 per cent of in-house PR representatives predict PR will become more integrated with marketing over the next five years, according to the 2018 Global Communications Report from the University of Southern California.

As a result of increasing integration, the percentage of in-house communications teams reporting to the marketing department has increased significantly in recent years.

Strategies for effective co-operation

Here are some ways PR and marketing staff can work better together:

  • Cooperate early and often – PR and marketing teams or staff members can develop effective campaigns by engaging with each other frequently and starting the collaboration early in the process. Attending meetings of the other department helps ensure that different sections know about the projects, goals and campaigns of other groups. Have at least one member of each group attend meetings of the other team.
  • Share goals – determine common objectives for PR and marketing as well as other functions like social media. Without results-focused objectives that match business goals, PR representatives can produce ineffective content without a strategic purpose. Sharing goals can help PR focus on activities that improve sales.
  • Focus on dual-purpose activities – analyse how marketing assets can help gain media coverage. At the same time, research how PR can assist in meeting marketing goals. For example, social media is not only important in discovering how customers and potential customers perceive the brand – it is also useful in discovering opportunities for sales.
  • Develop integrated campaigns – PR can support lead generation and paid campaigns. For example, PR officers can use data from an industry or consumer survey to secure media coverage, and later repurpose the data for content marketing such as blog posts, or email campaigns.
  • Comprehensive monitoring and measurement – marketing officers typically gather and analyse data related to sales and leads, but they may not always include earned media in their analysis. Yet, leads and sales might abruptly increase during a broad PR campaign or even after a single high-profile media mention. Aligning a co-ordinated marketing campaign with PR successes can increase sales even more.

    Meanwhile, it’s important that PR officers work with the marketing team before, during and after an announcement or campaign launch as both can benefit from monitoring reach, engagement and impact.

    Data from news and social media offer a potential goldmine of information about a brand’s customers, potential customers, product development possibilities and competitors. It also can provide insights about reactions to marketing and advertising campaigns.
  • Share information – because customers often research products online before purchases, PR content creators have become ‘pre-salesmen’. Marketing data can inform PR officers about the types of content and delivery channels that best drive customers to purchase.

The bottom line is that PR and marketing professionals can improve performance of both of their departments by working together closely.

With greater co-operation between the two, a business is more likely to meet financial goals as well as improve its reputation within the category.

William Comcowich • Contributor

William Comcowich is founder and acting CEO of Glean.info by CyerAlert. Visit: glean.info

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