Why PR and Marketing Must Work Together to Measure Success

October 1st, 2014

In the olden days before the Ad Tech revolution, back when advertisers were counting the number of drivers passing a billboard on a Tuesday as a metric for success, PR and marketing rarely combined forces to prove ROI.

Today, with new methods of measurement, a blurring of responsibilities across social, and the growth of content marketing, an organization’s success is built on solid results from its communication efforts. And neither marketing nor PR can do that alone.

What PR Can Learn From Marketing

Social media, smart phones, digital television, and big data in general have led to fractured audiences and the end of “news as an event.”

We no longer pick up the paper to read on the train in the morning or say, “Honey, leave the dishes be, it’s time for the 9PM news.” We receive aggregated news, in real-time, customized to us, through myriad sources and formats.

PR pros are now being challenged to figure out how to reach their audiences without a single silver bullet. Normalizing the results of their efforts and measuring how they actually moved the needle is a bigger challenge than it has ever been.

From a client perspective, PR frequently looks like a cost center instead of a profit center, which is typically why marketing and PR budgets tend to be cut first.

PR pros need to look into how to measure the actions they inspire instead of just the number of eyeballs they secure. Marketers are great at this. They look at how leads are nurtured, how campaigns have impacted SEO, and A/B test content to figure out what has the most impact.

Just recently, Cision and Vocus co-hosted AMEC Measurement Week in NYC, where this was a large part of what several industry thought leaders talked about.

Want to check out the video recordings from the event? Visit here to receive the videos.

What Marketing Can Learn From PR

Many marketers are struggling with the rapid growth of content marketing because, frankly, the content is different than what they are accustomed to. Truly successful content marketing is rarely self-promotional in its entirety – it’s about telling a story. That’s what PR has always been about: managing and telling a brand’s story.

PR pros work to craft key messages that avoid the “Click Here! Buy Now!” mentality, and instead create top-of-the-funnel messages that begin to build trust, reputation, and awareness. PR pros have also consistently focused on how to share their message, whether through social by building relationships with influencers or more traditional by pitching reporters and bloggers.

By embracing PR content and message distribution tactics, marketing can begin to build an even longer tail to their lead nurturing and fill in some of the missing top-of-funnel gaps they may have been missing.

What We Both Gain by Working Together

Marketers have been perfecting attribution modeling: figuring out what made someone become a lead, buy a product, or take an action.

Frequently, PR is left out of this equation.

However, looking at spikes in leads and sales that occur during a major PR campaign or article mention – and without a corresponding marketing campaign – can start to help identify the ROI of PR efforts and eliminate marketing anomalies.

With the growth of content marketing and the importance of original content in search, branded journalism, corporate blogging, social engagement and native advertising have all become tools in a communicator’s arsenal – it’s just not always clear who owns it.

Check out the excellent work Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang have done for Altimeter Group with the Converged Media Imperative. Their “Converged Media Workflow” is a new job description for PR pros and marketers alike.

As lines blur between marketing, PR and social, we all need to look across the aisle to discover the tools and tactics that will provide our brand with the greatest results.

What do you think marketing and PR should do to help work together to measure success?

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