Here are the definitions of marketing and public relations from http://dictionary.com :
- the act of buying or selling in a market.
- the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.
- the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual,etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
- the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.
While the definitions are obviously different, it seems to me that when reading between the lines, you can see how the two could easily combine to the benefit of their organization. Even when they are outsourced, especially when they are outsourced, they can come together for the good of a company and it’s bottom line.
The distinction between the two has become less clear over time. Although many organizations maintain Marketing and Public Relations in separate parts of the org chart, it seems that the benefits would be greater if they were combined. A few of the most obvious benefits:
- Consistent messaging
- Branding efficiency (internal and external)
- Team approach (providing best viewpoint for the organization from a relationship and sales perspective)
The detriments…I can’t come up with anything significant enough to list, maybe it is because it has seemed obvious to me for so many years that the two work better as one. Are you in Marketing or Public Relations? Have you had the occasion to hear about what the other department was doing because you read it on the internet or heard it through the company grapevine? Doesn’t it seem that it would be easier to be on the same team? Aren’t they effectively on the same team because they are a part of the same company or are responsible for the results of the same company? The logical answer is yes, but in reality it doesn’t happen.
Why? Maybe because organizations are so entrenched in traditional structures, it is too cumbersome to reorganize, or because each department is trying to prove themselves/meet their goals.
The better question seems to be, “What if…?” What if we merge the functions? What are the possibilities? I think they are endless. What do you think?
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I have a fairly contentious view here, in that I have always viewed Public Relations as an essential but sub-ordinate discipline of marketing.
I struggle to understand the point of Public Relations outside of an integrated marketing programme? I an excluding Financial PR, although again that should really only be undertaken as part of a planned Investor Relations Strategy.
This view in no way devalues the importance and role of PR; quite the reverse; I see PR like the life blood that runs through the body of marketing activity. Used well, it enhances and multiplies the effective returns of marketing investments.
But Marketing can exist without PR, whereas I as I say above; I don’t see that PR should exist without marketing.
So clearly; my view is that that not only should join forces but in fact should never be separate!