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Will PR and Marketing Soon Become One Department?

Public and/or media relations traditionally has served companies as stand-alone departments, separate from marketing. In the age of digital communications, though, these disciplines have become more closely linked.

Now, the USC Annenberg Center for Communication and Journalism’s Global Communications Report 2017 – a survey of nearly 900 PR professionals worldwide – found that nearly half of PR professionals and more than 60 percent of marketing executives believe their two disciplines will become more closely aligned in the next ­five years. Currently, 18 percent of corporate communications departments report into the marketing function, while PR agencies report into marketing 21 percent of the time.

As a marketing and communications professional, I often state public and media relations is much closer to marketing today than ever before. When we’re pitching client stories to prospective media outlets, we’re marketing. We may not be marketing a physical product, but we are marketing and almost selling a story. Public relations may not properly describe the role of PR pros anymore. In fact, 87 percent of PR executives surveyed believe the term “public relations” won’t accurately describe the work they will be doing in ­five years.

When asked about the trends impacting the future of PR, survey respondents listed digital storytelling, social listening, social purpose and big data as the top four trends. And I could not agree more! Data drives action, whether that be the way we post content or the way we make purchasing decisions.

At MCCI, we brand ourselves as an integrated marketing agency. And that’s a true statement. But with an office full of former journalists, we have a unique differentiator from many of our competitors: we are storytellers. Regardless of how we pitch your story, or who we pitch it to, we’re telling a story and telling the world why you’re different.

The USC Annenberg Center for Communication and Journalism report is excellent, and MCCI is proud to say we’re already there: PR and marketing connected at the hip. Don’t agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Where do you envision public relations, media relations, corporate communications and marketing being in the next five years?


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