That the lines are blurring between PR and marketing is not news. This trend has been on the cards for at least 3 – 5 years. But do PR professionals make good marketing executives as well? What skills do they need to transition to an integrated marketing communication role? We find out.
Analytics matter for marketers more than for PR pros
Tanay Chaturvedi worked with MSLGROUP as a PR account executive for two years before making the switch to marketing with messaging app Nimbuzz. For Tanay, the difference between PR and marketing lies in the fact that strong analytical ability is extremely important for a marketer.
While a PR professional has the ability to build relationships, the results are dependent on others.
Tanay who now heads marketing at hotel aggregator WudStay says that, “While PR is almost always about relationships and building noteworthy content, dependence on multiple stakeholders, including media, client, and agency, often makes the process inconsistent. However, I strongly believe that a PR professional's understanding of the industry, the ability to focus on the minutest details and strong content abilities pave the way for a successful role as a brand manager.”
Content skills matter for both PR and marketing jobs
Sanjay Chaudhary spent a decade in pure play PR in companies such as Good Relations and American Express, before moving to integrated marketing and now a marketing role at Oracle. Explaining the demands of a marketing job, Sanjay points out that digital has completely redefined skills needed for marketing bringing it closer in some ways to PR.
He says, thanks to information available on digital platforms, “Buyers are almost 60% (industry reports) through their decision before they even talk to someone in sales. During this time, buyers form or reinforce perceptions and build loyalty with the company.”
“All these changes have enhanced focus on building relationships and sustaining interactions rather than engaging with customers only around transactions.” This is something that PR executives excel at.
According to Sanjay, today marketing teams are now not only tasked with sourcing and creating net new demand but also influencing the buying processes. To engage the customers and nurture them effectively (during their initial 60% of buying cycle) marketers are leveraging content marketing i.e. sending the right content at the right time in the buyer’s journey.
Sanjay feels that, “PR professional with strong foundation in content development can play a decisive role in devising the content marketing strategies of the company.”
Sanjay also pointed out that apart from sales, Pr professionals are in the strongest position to handle an integrated marketing role. The challenge for PR pros is to focus on understanding the customer better and not just the business.
Skill set for marketing
Shubhra Sinha, senior manager, marketing communications, Denave and formerly with Accord PR and LG Electronics, feels that writing prowess, negotiation skills, research abilities, management skills are important to succeed both as a PR and marketing professional.
But, says Shubhra, “While increasing adoption of modern marketing by companies is bringing lot of synergy and convergence among marketing and PR teams. Marketing gives you access to far more tools and vehicles (versus PR) to amplify your message, strategy building ability and business sense.”
Tanay says that he likes marketing better than PR because, “Marketing allows me to own the way customers look at my company. It also allows me to build the central positioning for the brand, which is then replicated across multiple channels including PR and Digital. Increase in customer base and revenue are by products of great marketing and channel distribution. This for me is the greatest thrill and defines my love for marketing over PR.”