Better together! Truly integrated PR and marketing benefits the brand

October 20, 2020 | Posted by: Outside Labs

As an integrated PR and marketing agency, we’re always on the lookout for ways to channel the best of both worlds (marketing and PR) and maximize the synergies in-between. Last week, Intrado Digital Media and PRWeek hosted a webinar on the topic: “The evolving PR and Marketing partnership: Benefits of self-reflection.” Panelists included Linda Rutherford, SVP and CCO, Southwest Airlines; Jen Sey, SVP and CMO, Levi Strauss & Co.; and Stuart Smith, Chief Marketing & Growth Officer, Caulipower.

The merging of PR and marketing is more evident today than ever. And, like the panelists, we believe it benefits clients when these disciplines work together. In a recent study, Intrada Digital Media and PRWeek surveyed senior agency and in-house leaders in the U.S. and Europe. Here are some of their interesting findings: 

  • More than five out of six respondents (83.2%) agree that “the lines between PR and marketing are more blurred than ever. Of those, more than half ‘strongly agree’ with that statement.”
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74.3%) said the relationship between PR and marketing is strong at their brands, suggesting unity is not only possible but happening. 
  • In organizations where marketing and PR work as one, PR predominantly reports into marketing (90% said that), not the other way around.
  • Metrics: Sales-qualified leads were deemed very valuable by the highest percentage of respondents followed by share of voice. Media impressions and number of social media followers ranked near the bottom.

In our work with clients, we have found that PR can add more value to a marketing campaign and success is greater when PR is brought in early. All of the panelists agreed that PR people should remember their roots — especially for B2B PR. For 280blue, our roots include earned media and a network of journalist relationships. These are still fundamental attributes that PR professionals bring to the table. Today, there are too many PR people and PR agencies trying to be marketing agencies. 280blue is built on a truly integrated approach. 

Another core offering that PR people bring to the table is storytelling for an editorial audience. We mentioned above the importance of journalist relationships — knowing how to give them a story they are going to find interesting and cover is an art. The Levi’s and Southwest Airlines’ executives agreed: PR can add authenticity from an editorial/journalist point of view, as PR people have the experience digging into the human element. Indeed, 90% of respondents said that PR delivers better results from brand storytelling. Integrated agencies are successful when they combine the marketing and PR “soup of ingredients” and work together. 

Ultimately, according to the panel, PR can sprinkle “fairy dust” onto a campaign. And companies should consider both, working together to provide another layer of impact. This helps clients’ dollars go further: marketing is focused on customer segments and goes digital-first, while PR builds the “surround sound” — the credibility and trust needed to make those strategic marketing efforts land. Towards that effort, there are many places PR can go with all manner of stories and content to build brand awareness, affinity, and stickiness. 

For success, collaboration is necessary from start to finish — and before anything sees the light of day. The team working as one will yield results that clients will appreciate. How can we help you? Reach us at