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Team Up: How PR and Marketing Work Together

Working together has many benefits, especially when it comes to PR and marketing and how they can help your business. Here's how they assist each other.

Do you ever feel that PR and marketing are in a tug of war?

Pulling together on the same team feels great, especially when you win. However, when you think you are on the same team but you seem to be pulling in different directions, it can feel frustrating and unproductive.

Read on to learn how PR and marketing can work together.

PR and Marketing
In many organizations, PR and marketing are separate departments. Even if they have the same functional head or boardroom representation, there is a management split lower down. This separation can lead to a lack of coordination and even a pulling apart.

PR is about the art of influencing media and the public. It's about reputation. It's the planned effort to establish the goodwill of current and potential employees, suppliers, investors, regulators, journalists, and customers.

Marketing has famously been defined as the four Ps

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

It is the whole process of getting a product or service to the customer. Promotion is the part of marketing that includes communication and so PR probably sits here within the marketing definition.

So Where Is the Conflict?
In the real world of organizational life, the PR activity and people are often separated from other marketing teams. Competition for resources and recognition does the rest. It doesn't have to be this way. Recently, PR Week observed, "It's not one person's territory; we're all having to learn to work together." The logic of teamwork is intuitively right but not so easy to make happen. So what should we be doing to coordinate or even collaborate? How do we stop competing?

Clear Shared Goal
Lack of coordination between functions is a failure of leadership. Part of the role of leaders is to create a clear shared set of goals for the organization. Every function and every individual in the organization needs this. The strategic and operational plans for the organization should be cascaded to everybody. This makes alignment of goals easy because all goals are orientated around the corporate goals. Shared goals do not mean people are doing the same thing, but they are pulling in the same direction. This results-orientated approach reduces wasted activity and internal conflict.

PR & Marketing Teams Communicate 
Hold cross-functional meetings or have a representative from other teams attend department meetings. This helps share information about projects and issues. Share meeting papers and minutes too. Informal conversations and networking can be promoted by having people sit near each other. Don't sit the PR team in a different place in the office. Water cooler conversations are famous for finding out what's going on.

Sharing information makes sense when people are working towards the same goals. Marketing can share research about what is driving customers to purchase and PR can use this to inform their messages. PR can listen to influencers and feedback opportunities for marketing.

Collaborate on Campaigns
Establish a collaborative approach to campaigns with multidisciplinary teams working together. Marketing generated data can be used by PR to obtain earned and paid media coverage which can then be linked to advertising activity.

Give PR a clear and early understanding of the marketing proposition for a new product launch. Then they can react and manage media queries rapidly. The response to media will be prompt and in line with the strategy. In addition, PR is a perfect fit to support influencer marketing campaigns for increased success. 

Integrated Performance Measurement
When functions measure their own performance there is a bias. Consciously or unconsciously data can be filtered. Share performance measurement to understand the real impact.

Marketing can tend to monitor those aspects of a campaign where there are marketing activities to measure. Sales during an advertising campaign are interesting to the advertising team. They may be less interested in what happens to sales when reactive PR has achieved a high impact media mention.

The opportunities for aligning activities are easier to identify when performance measurement is collaborative.

Shared Business Case
John Wanamaker opened the first department store in the USA. He is often quoted as saying, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

Rival teams may well suspect that the wasted investment is in the other department.

Management can be suspicious about the credibility of PR and marketing spending requests. When they build a joint business case around an integrated campaign they build credibility. Deliver a track record of business results and the credibility grows.

Teambuilding
Away days and teambuilding events with both PR team and marketing team members builds relationships and breaks down barriers. It's much easier to trust people you know well and to ask them for help. Share social activities such as an end of the month outing. Have joint charity or volunteering events. Learn to feel good about each other and what you can achieve as a team.

Leaders Show the Way
People look to their leaders for a steer on how to behave. What will meet with approval, and what is frowned upon? If there is a lack of collaboration at the top of an organization, it is hardly likely that there will be lower down. There is a school of thought among some leaders that setting up internal competition is healthy. In these lean and performance orientated times, the wasted energy of this approach has got to be a thing of the past. There are now blurred lines between the different elements of the four Ps of marketing. Multiple channels, social media, big data, and 24-hour everything – technology has changed it all and integration is key.

Next Steps
PR and marketing can and must collaborate. The opportunities for better results are there. Measuring performance will build everybody's confidence in the value added by collaborative working. We all have more to learn about how PR and marketing can contribute to success in the future. Sharing the PR and marketing toolkit and what we each know is the next step.

 Learn More About Integrating Marketing and PR by Clicking Here 

Published on March 1, 2018,  Modified on March 7, 2018

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