After working at Fleishman Hillard for the past couple months, I have witnessed a growing demand for full-spectrum interactive services. These services include print, web development & design, online advertising campaigns, and continuous market analysis. While I can’t discuss specifics, many (if not all) of the projects that I’ve been involved with are similar to those at a previous interactive agency that I worked at. While sitting at my desk, I began to wonder how my job would be different if I was working at a “Marketing Agency” rather than a “PR Firm”. My conclusion? There would be no difference aside from working with different people (and the people that I work with at Fleishman Hillard are phenomenal people). While this is mostly due to the line of work that I am in (web development), I also believe that both marketers and PR experts will begin to share many of the same roles.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a clear separation between PR and marketing. PR experts tend to play defensive: “How do we stop this bad news from spreading?” Marketers tend to be on the offensive: “How do I increase my client’s ROI?” Although there is a separation between the two industries, many activities are beginning to overlap, and the intersection lies in the internet. Jonah Bloom of Adage puts it well. He says that there is a cultural gulf
but as the internet makes the relationship between corporate reputation and brand equity ever more transparent, the two departments will have to use their new found common language to bridge it.
So how do we handle this transparency? Easy, by joining the conversation as all the bloggers already do. Activities such as blogging or joining online communities and forums all contribute to the conversation. As the consumer shifts their attention toward the web, both PR firms and marketing agencies will be forced to create an online presence and join the conversation (as they have already begun to do). The winner online, is usually the person with the louder voice. Now, both Marketers and PR experts face a similar challenge. The challenge is no longer just creating the message (and pushing it out there via traditional media), but rather how to make their client’s voice heard in a larger, interconnected world.