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MFG-Blog-Images-49by: Katie Kern, Marketing and PR Vice President

When a love-hate dichotomy exists in a relationship, emotions run rampant. But what happens when this destructive warfare arises between two departments in an organization?

Two departments with one shared purpose

It’s well established that marketing and PR are at their best when they work in harmony, yet the continuous battle between the two continues, with no end in sight. What’s more troubling is the fact that many professionals in the industry feel they need to support one side or another.

PR and marketing, personified 

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PR is defined as “the strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Marketing, on the other hand, is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Both disciplines implement research, strategies, tactics, and measurement to ensure the successful outcome of their campaigns. While marketing encompasses the full scope of brand communication, ranging from advertising to sales support, PR is about implementing strategic communications strategies designed to forge lasting relationships with the people that matter most to an organization.

Despite having the ultimate shared long-term goal of increased customer engagement leading to increased sales, these critical departments often operate in silos, focusing on their individual metrics without understanding and contributing to the overall corporate vision. Rather than working together, the disciplines engage in a turf war over who gets to do what—possibly for bragging rights. If you’ve worked on a team like that, you probably have some cringe-worthy memories of ridiculous battles. But why not make love instead of war?

At the heart of the contention…

  • Value and goal alignment. Successful organizations value the integration of marketing and public relations. Deciding whether to activate a marketing or PR strategy can be a challenging process, but it depends on the end goal. Since both disciplines speak the “sales increase” language that everyone understands, it makes sense that PR should be involved with marketing in its planning stages to help marketers extend the reach of their messages and improve marketing performance.
  • Engagement. The fight over who is better to engage with customers rages on. PR strategists drive a substantial amount of business from creating a powerful messaging strategy. With marketing leveraging content to develop leads, the opportunities for integration between PR and marketing become a reality pretty fast. Ultimately, both marketing and PR professionals need to reach customers and converse with them in the most authentic and meaningful way possible.
  • Channels. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, PR believes social media belongs to it because it allows brands and consumers to engage across a variety of channels in real time. But we must remember that it’s also a great way to build the customer base for marketing. Instead of fighting over the digital and social landscape, PR and marketing professionals should collectively embrace the fact that consumers embrace campaigns uniquely across different channels and platforms.

What can marketing and PR do to ensure a long-lasting relationship? Ideally, the two camps will take time to define where one discipline begins and the other ends so they can align and achieve shared organizational goals. Those aligned objectives can lead to new ways of working together that create a win for everyone.