PR Week this week includes a piece on why and how PR people need to adopt marketing skills.
This is when you take a step back and think about it, an astonishing statement. It suggests that PR people do now know what marketing is, what it does and the skill sets their marketing colleagues hold.
How can a successful comms function work in isolation from its marketing colleagues?
I suspect, outside the PR agency bubble, this is not the case. A PR/comms function will be an integrated part of marketing and business development space. That is certainly the case in the professional services sector.
Perhaps the real issue is not that PR practitioners need to better understand and adopt a marketing skill set, but those working in PR agencies need a better understanding of the wider marketing function.
Why aren’t more comms practitioners widening the scope of their programmes? There are a number of reasons. 1) Too many businesses still operate in silos, meaning the marketing and comms people don’t know what each other are capable of doing. 2) There still isn’t enough investment in broader marketing skills, particularly digital skills, in comms functions and agencies so people fail to appreciate how their work can be repurposed for different marketing channels and platforms. Too often these are regarded as optional skills. 3) Finally, it is often too difficult to gain access to the right data: the data analyst is in a different country or office; they’re too busy; or they simply don’t track the relevant data. This problem, in turn, means that comms practitioners lack enough data to benchmark the success of their campaigns.