The lines between PR and marketing are blurring.

That’s one key takeaway from a recent report on the state of the communications profession.*

The report, from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, surveyed public relations and marketing professionals to understand the subtle shifts taking place and how they are impacting the ways communicators do their jobs.

Marketing is winning the battle.

Marketing versus PR

Okay, no one is really winning.

But the skill sets are evolving — and merging.

This is a good thing.

This also makes perfect sense to me. Whether you’re doing media relations, social media, marketing, community relations, or using another strategy to reach out, it’s all designed to help organizations achieve their business goals. It’s why I’ve always resisted being labeled (or worse, lumped into any one category).

Marketing vs. PR is just one takeaway from a new report that explores the attitudes of practitioners — and the way that their two “disciples” have become increasingly aligned over time. The report also reveals that 51 percent of those surveyed think that in five years most people won’t make any distinction between paid, earned, shared, or owned media (aka, PESO).

Businesses need to understand this PR and marketing shift.

You might be tempted to think this is an agency turf battle.

You would be wrong.

This is about ROI.

This is also about the best way to reach people where they are. Here’s how we’re going to do this more and more over time.

PR Trends

This is how we’re going to engage with our customers (clients, patients, members, and so forth) and create emotional connections. It’s new school (digital, big data), but it’s rooted in what’s always worked: storytelling.

The trend line looks good.

PR and marketing are converging. More important, practitioners are finally starting to talk about business goals. To measure success by moving the needle rather than eyeballs on a page or likes on a post.

Read the Annenberg report. It’s worth understanding.

*Annenberg report: http://annenberg.usc.edu/sites/default/files/KOS_2017_GCP_April6.pdf
Trends chart
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