How Social Media Changes Marketing & PR

Brand and Marketing strategist, Alex Honeysett, explains the ways in which the lines between marketing and public relations have blurred over the past few years in her article,  The Difference Between Marketing and PR. As brands continue to adopt social media into their marketing strategy, the ways in which a marketing specialist interacts with consumers has become more direct. This is more drastic depending on the size of the company they work for – the smaller the company, the more interaction there is between marketers and consumer.

The real difference continues to blur as social media continues to site comfortably in both Marketing and Public Relation departments.

So what are the differences? 

The simple answer is that marketing supports the sales team whereas PR supports the larger brand. Both areas are focused on the company’s ROI (return on investment) but in different ways.

For example, marketing continues to handle advertising and outreach efforts. The staff working in this area are concerned with creating communication and outreach efforts that get people talking about a brand and ideally engaging with its product.

PR, on the other hand, decides how to handle that engagement and how best to reflect consumer conversations through bigger and more front facing announcements like press releases.

In short: Marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product while PR is focused on maintaining a positive reputation for the company as a whole.

Daily responsibilities for PR could include writing a press release about an upcoming product launch/new company initiative, securing speaking opportunities for executives at industry events, or speaking to press about a specific company crisis (aka doing damage control to preserve a brand’s integrity).

On that same day, a marketing professional could create an advertising campaign for a new product, purchase advertising slots on media platforms (social media, radio, TV, etc.) and create supporting materials for product launches such as brochures or web pages which assist the sales team.

Regardless of their differences, Social Media sits comfortably in both departments and, as such, will continue to shape the way employers approach PR and Marketing positions.

Students interested in these fields should continue to have a bit of flexibility as it remains clear that marketing relies on knowing a little bit about PR and PR relies on knowing a little about marketing.

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By Gerry Garvin
Gerry Garvin Assistant Director, Liaison to School of Communication