Is PR the new marketing?

20 June 2018, Blog

Recently I presented to the South West Chartered Institute of Marketing group on the changing media landscape and the implications for the disciplines of marketing and PR.

Sharing the story of how JBP has evolved over the last 34 years and how we now do things that would have been once been considered a marketing agency/department function (e.g. research and insights development, video production, design, campaign branding), I posed the question whether PR has become the new marketing in the age of social media? This was by no means suggesting that PR was going to dominate in the new media world but that it now had the potential to perform a marketing role.

This question came on the back of some recent articles, reports and promotions I’d come across (read Trendkite’s fascinating report – PR: The Next Scalable Marketing Channel), which pointed to this new opportunity for the industry and stems from the simple fact that PRs can now use their instinct for a good story and skills in generating objective content to:

  • lift SEO and drive traffic to your website
  • facilitate two-way dialogue
  • capture data (GDPR compliant of course) through downloadable material
  • spread the word through social sharing

We forget that not too many years ago, before the advent of digital media platforms, the PR industry could only demonstrate real business value if those reading their articles in the print media or seeing their clients featured on the TV bothered to look up their contact details and get in touch. How times have changed.

As natural storytellers, PRs are also well placed to enter the paid media arena through creating sponsored posts, using the back-end functionality of social media channels. Their capability in creating compelling and non-salesy content combined with new technology-led media platforms means that PR is no longer just about building relationships and enhancing brand credibility.

It also presents an opportunity to support the lead generation process. The introduction of GDPR will also mean that PR’s role in supporting its clients’ engagement and interaction with stakeholders via social media channels will become increasingly important in the future.

What’re your thoughts on PR becoming the new marketing? It would be great to have your views.

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