As social media continues to change marketing landscape, one change I have seen is the convergence of marketing with PR.  In the past, if you wanted an advertising campaign, you produced commercials, print ads and maybe some billboards.

If you wanted a Public Relations campaign, you used some of the more traditional tactics: a press conference, sent out a press release to media, product placement and TV appearances.

But today, marketing and Public Relations  are closer than ever. No more can you launch a great product, with a big ad campaign, and talk TO the consumer.

You have to take it one step beyond that and bring the product to the people, get it in their hands, and talk with them – not AT them.

The overarching goals of Marketing and PR are the same: get people’s attention, get people to connect with, to talk about and, ultimately, buy your product. And finally, perhaps most importantly, it’s about building brand awareness and loyalty.

But that is where the similarity ends. Marketing is about speaking to the consumer. PR  today is about speaking with the public and creating a two-way dialogue. With the growth of social media, and the changing landscape of traditional media, power has shifted to the consumer. It’s not enough to speak loudly and blanket the airwaves with ads.

And even if you do blanket the airwaves, finding that target market is increasingly difficult as more and more people are turning out traditional channels, and the media landscaped continues to fracture. In 2012, one in 50 Canadian TV subscribers cancelled cable in 2012, and 130,000 are expected to follow suit by the end of 2013. And Netflix subscriptions are growing, as is the use of PVR – meaning no more commercials!

This is just where PR comes in. A good PR campaign can get the word out to increasingly niche target markets using a mix of tactics: events, blogger campaigns, product placement, media appearances and social media campaigns. Done right, the message will get out to just the right markets and people, creating buzz, awareness, a relationship with the customer, and, ultimately, sales.

There are multiple benefits to a public relations campaign, including:

  1. Relationships – A blogging campaign will create brand ambassadors, consumers who will talk about your product, and share this with their followers. They will blog, and share about your product, with links back to your website. This also fits in nicely with social media.
  2. Social Media: Obviously, thanks to the blogger campaign, your followers will grow, and you will connect with new fans and followers. Once bloggers post, and share, their blogs, you can repost on your page, and retweet their tweets. This provides a gateway to new followers, and consumers.
  3. SEO: Do you produce your website to maximize SEO? A PR campaign will improve your online presence, with links back to the site, which will help the site ranking.

How do you think Public Relations has changed? How does it fit within the marketing mix?