Marketing and public relations are usually regarded as two separate entities. However, because of the way businesses have shifted gears in terms of strategy over the years, it’s safe to say that conventional classifications may no longer hold.
Marketing essentially focuses on the promotion of the product while public relations deal with the company’s promotion and image. The organizational hierarchy keeps them under separate domains, which may not be optimal. This premise can be backed with solid reasoning.
The first reasoning is that the consumption behavior has evolved and relies more on the values of the company. This can be attributed to the exposure that products and their makers are getting via social media and similar networking areas. A new term that has been coined in this regard is that of ‘affinity marketing’. The point is that buying behaviors are related to the affinity that people have with companies that sell their product.
Secondly, PR disasters have a direct impact on the marketing ROI. This can be understood from the example of oil companies that take a lot of bashing after oil spills. Likewise, indelicate comments on social media by senior representatives of the company can lead to PR disasters.
It may happen that a customer or a blogger who has a decent following in their site or their social media platform posts a very negative review about your product/service. Such incidents can multiply rapidly and generate negativity regarding the company. The entire marketing budget can go down the drain if necessary steps are not taken within time.
In such cases, it becomes vital to consider the provisions for dealing with negative reputation and press through reputation management agencies like Brand.com.
There is the example of Michael Arrington, a famous blogger who tweeted about the incompetence of his ISP service. With a mass 12,000 following on Twitter, a single comment can adversely affect the sales of a company. This is why reputation management should be taken seriously.
There is a lot of talk about sustainable marketing, and it can happen when marketing is inspired by PR to manage relations with customers. The ‘four P’ marketing mantra no longer holds value without an effective relationship with your buy-end consumer.
This means that the company has to identify key influencers who have the capacity to inspire customers and direct their buying behavior. As per the old model, marketing and public relations would go opposite ends on this notion. So this warrants an integrated approach.
The benefit of keeping these two factors together is that it makes PR into a measurable tool. A challenge in PR has been to make the tools measurable and indicate the ROI of their actions. In a combined model, key indicators and detail reporting can be added, which helps in quantification.
A number of brands are focusing on decorating their marketing campaigns with social media activity and missing out on sustainable strategies. A workable model should consist of two gears (acquisition and monetization).
In the middle, both marketing and PR should work hand in hand. PR can help to acquire the customers while the marketing sector can help monetize them. By managing marketing and PR together, the concept of customer engagement becomes a whole lot easier.