In my career I’ve heard a lot of “PR and marketing, they’re basically the same” and “just hire a marketing agency” as the catch-all solution for C-suite executives. I’ll admit, early on I might have agreed.
Marketing strategy looks at a full brand approach, usually using a mix of advertising, brand partnerships, unique content and other promotions to amplify the product or service. Public relations, on the other hand, can be a little misunderstood. Is it publicity? Media relations? Event planning? And what about functions that don’t fit in either camp? Internal communications, thought leadership and crisis communications mark a mature business – or their absence can leave a brand exposed.
After working on both sides of the marketing/PR aisle and spending a lot of time (money) in undergrad and graduate classes on the subjects, I think it’s time we look at the business benefit of integrated marketing campaigns. It’s not an “either/or” but a “yes, and” approach.
Our most successful clients view public relations and marketing as complimentary functions. An integrated marketing strategy shares consistent messaging and prioritizes key audiences to attract new customers through a variety of channels.
A solid strategic communications campaign follows the PESO model:
- Paid Media – traditional advertising, boosted social media posts, paid sponsorships and brand integrations
- Earned Media – media relations, blogger/influencer engagement, contributed articles, speaking engagements
- Shared Media – social media, brand partnerships
- Owned Media – company website, blog, customer testimonials and unique content
Marketing and public relations, when integrated, can be a powerful engine for driving sales. The best agencies and departments see their individual contributions and leverage them together. When all of a brand’s communications are working together, you’re likely to see an impressive impact.