Home > Marketing > Social media is making marketing more like PR (Part I of III)

Social media is making marketing more like PR (Part I of III)

marketing more like PR

Social media is making marketing more like PR (Photo: Baltimore Harbor)

by Frank Strong

Note:  Previously I have written that  marketing increasingly looks like PR. This post is the first in a series to expand on those thoughts.  

* * *

The lines between public relations and marketing have burred, yet this convergence more accurately reflects the idea that marketing looks more like PR rather than PR being subsumed by marketing.

Consider the following:

  • Forbes Insights survey in late 2009 found that 73% of CMOs said they were responsible for PR causing Edelman’s Steve Rubel to comment, “PR is in the best position to manage a business’ social media endeavors. The reason is that engaging in social circles requires an understanding of psychology and also it is an uncontrolled discipline. Both of these play well to the skills of PR practitioners. If I were a CMO controlling $5M in spend with an interest in social media and I oversaw PR, I would connect these dots. I suspect that’s what many are doing.”
  • Advertising Age identified a trend that senior marketing executives were increasingly being chosen from the ranks of communications professionals. Global brands such as IBM, Intuit and American Airlines were cited as examples.
  • Vocus survey in late 2009 of more than 1,700 respondents found that 64 percent believe that PR will become increasingly important in the overall marketing mix in 2010.  It’s important to note that respondents identified themselves as having a range of backgrounds beyond just PR including marketing, SEO and advertising, among others.

It’s about the approach

This isn’t a comparison of tactics or another post about for ownership of social media.  For example, it’s not a suggestion that PR is better than advertising or vice versa.  There has always been a better question than that one:  how can these tactics work together?

Instead, it’s about technique:  it’s about “conversations” as Rick Levine & Co. wrote in the Cluetrain Manifesto in 1999, noting their best results stemmed from being reliable sources, rather than pitchmen. It’s about the “slow-build up” as Al Ries and his daughter Laura wrote of in 2002 in The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR citing the credibility of sustained conversations as opposed to a paid media blitz for building brands. It’s about talking to your buyers in their words and breaking from “interruption” marketing, as David Meerman Scott said in The New Rules of Marketing and PR in 2007. It’s about engagement, as Brian Solis wrote in his new book published this year.

The concept of marketing more like PR is about the approach.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these:
Part II:  Why the change in approach now?
Part III: Marketing more like PR: Conversation relations

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