Budget defines perspective. What I’m talking about in particular are the roles Public Relations and Marketing have within social media.
It’s no secret that there is a battle for funding going on in the PR and marketing agency worlds with PR agencies poaching marketing expertise – intent to win more of the social media budget.
I came from the marketing agency world and saw this from that perspective and am now watching it from a client perspective. What I’ve learned from both views is that PR has some advantages and so does marketing, but no one discipline will win sole ownership of social media; however, there is a clear advantage PR has over marketing.
Public Relations traditionally is defined by the press release and media relations. It’s about getting the message out. Crafting a compelling message and then pitching it to gatekeepers who one hopes will find the effort valuable enough to share with an audience. In a world where controlling the message has drastically changed with instant feedback, public one-to-one communication, and customers defining the message more than reporters it is no surprise the PR industry is drastically changing, which the readership of this blog knows all too well.
PR gets that it is about relationships and more importantly long-term relationships. This behavior is rooted in the media relations skill set that is core to a good PR team, but now relations is not just about traditional media; it includes bloggers, advocates and customers. With many companies, AT&T included, there is a desire to build strong relationships using social communities like Facebook, Twitter, and forums.
PR brings an amazing talent base to foster community relationships. Marketing is struggling a bit with this concept, since marketing budgets are based on campaigns. Campaigns have a very clear start and stop.
What will be interesting to watch is if PR can retain its relationship mindset as it attempts to acquire dollars from marketing. In other words, will PR agencies suffer the stop and start nature of the campaign mindset as they win business from marketing agencies?
Christopher N. Baccus is Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at AT&T. Previously, Chris was Vice-President of Digital Brand Strategy at Team Detroit, the Agency of Record for Ford Motor Company, where he led digital strategy for the Lincoln & Mercury brands, The Ford Story, & several Ford campaigns. He’s also done digital marketing for General Motors and Chrysler. His background also includes having worked at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where he was the Director of Online Collaboration. Follow Chris via @cbaccus.
- What can PR learn from social media (ubervu.com)
- PR Minds Offer Predictions for B2B Companies in 2011 (blisspr.com)
- Getting Smart with the Data: Measuring PR and Social Media (proactivereport.com)