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The Future of PR and Marketing: Part One

This is the first of three Guest Posts by Rick Rudman, CEO and President.

Part One: It’s Social, It’s Online and It’s Big News

The Internet has had an impact on almost every aspect of business, but perhaps nowhere is this impact more profound to PR and marketing professionals than in the area of prospect buying patterns. This is true regardless of whether your prospects are retail shoppers, businesses, donors, association members, or any other type of consumer.

According to a recent study by Edison Research and Arbitron, social media now reaches the majority of Americans of twelve years and older, with 52% having a profile on one or more social networks. 25% of social network users follow brands, products or services on social networks, and 38 million 13-80 year-olds in the U.S. are now influenced in various ways by social media (up 14% in just six months).

In today’s socially-networked online world, things are different.

Information is consumed differently. People learn about breaking news through Twitter and Facebook, favoring news that their network identifies as important.

  • New products and brands are discovered through social channels. People trust their social network to provide honest feedback about products and brands, instead of listening to one-way, vendor-led, direct marketing.
  • Unsolicited vendor led communication is not welcome. However, people are open to any relevant information that meets their needs at a particular moment.
  • Brands are expected to be present and active in the same social venues where people hang out, listening to their feedback, whether it’s negative or positive, and responding to their needs in real-time.

What this means is that the one-way, traditional marketing channels – email, advertising, etc. that have been a cornerstone of marketing for the last fifty years – are steadily losing effectiveness. The buying process now takes place online, centered on research, references and trusted sources, and it begins long before ever talking to a vendor.

And herein lies what could be one of the best opportunities ever for PR people. Why? Because while we all have different titles, responsibilities and jobs, we are all, at the end of the day, responsible for driving sales. Take it from the CEO of a public company. This is true.

Today, driving sales increasingly means reaching and influencing people across social networks, online and through the media. And as a PR or marketing professional, that’s your sweetspot.

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