Nov 05, 2018 / in Executive Insights / by Nick Bell

The divide between communications roles (i.e. public relations) and marketing is nothing new. For decades, the two factions have often been at odds, and this can impact an organization’s ability to connect with customers. While communications pros focus on getting earned media coverage for the brand, marketing professionals set their sights on building a connection through paid and owned media campaigns. They battle for budget, and sometimes have goals that are counter to one another.

But is that chasm shrinking? Are these two starting to learn how to work together cohesively? Our 2018 Global Comms Report: Challenges and Trends indicated that the relationship between the two sides is indeed improving. Last year, 81 percent of respondents said that comms and marketing work well together in their organization. In this year’s report, that number is up to 87 percent. It’s not a huge bump, but it does give us hope that the two are on track to better align.

2018 Global Comms Report Stats#PR, #content and #socialmedia - make sure those teams are working together to maximize their efforts:

Are you integrating PR, content marketing and social media for better results?

— Michelle Garrett (@PRisUs) September 30, 2018

This goes beyond just communications and marketing. These employees might work with sales reps to develop promotions, accounting to build the marketing budget or even send communications to the entire company to get support of a particular campaign. When you break out of silos in a company, you can do much more. 

But We’re Not There Yet

While there are major leaps and bounds happening in terms of aligning marketing and PR for the benefit of the whole, not every company moves as quickly as the early adopters do. This can be frustrating for the professional who moves from a role at a progressive company to one with an organization where the two departments are still at odds. 

Many organizations still struggle to prove the value of communications, and this is evident where looking at how companies are allocating their marketing and communications spend. Spending on paid media ads was $628 billion this year, and it’s been projected that budgets for digital marketing software will hit $32 billion for 2018.

Digital Ad Spend Worldwide.png

As for tools to support PR goals? A measly $3.5 billion, indicating that communications is still working to command the respect it deserves, especially as a piece of the pie budget wise. 

Every company has a different balance between the amount of money and attention it puts on PR, advertising and marketing, but this can be frustrating for the department that ends up limited in what it is able to accomplish. 

At the end of the day, it’s not about marketing or communications “winning.” It’s about providing value to the customer and ensuring that the interactions she has with your brand are so positive that she buys from you again and again. It’s that unique relationship with each customer — regardless of who connected the dots — that has the biggest impact long-term. Still, when communications and marketing teams are aligned, it’s so much easier to do just that.

2018 Global Comms Report CTA.png

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About Nick Bell

Nick Bell is the VP of Marketing Communications at Cision. With more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, Bell has held executive-level positions with marketing technology firms including Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua and Adobe. Bell has a proven track record of developing award-winning and ROI-based marketing programs, media relations, and brand strategies. Bell holds a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @nbell94102.