Never did i think that I would write this post, but here we are.

The digital transformation has changed marketing forever and the field of public relations is no exception. Some PR functions have merged with marketing, some have gone the full digital route, and some have just gone back to basics (publicity).

As PR and advertising professionals, which way are we supposed to go from here?

One Driver, Two Outcomes

Digital is the driver, but:

Advertisers today must focus heavily on tracking and leveraging communicative behaviours. Data-driven marketing approaches, algorithmic placements, and understanding human behaviour are far more important for advertising success than being able to dazzle audience with creative uniqueness. Today, advertising is all about placing the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time — all with razor-sharp accuracy.

Public relations, on the other hand, must be able to convey high-quality and continuous messaging to brand audiences directly. Today, the biggest enemy of successful PR is mediocre and non-remarkable editorial content. If you cannot keep your brand audience engaged and in awe, you’re soon dead and forgotten.

Exchanging Skill Sets

The conclusion?

Public relations and advertising must switch skill-sets with each other.

As an advertiser today, your media budget will vanish into thin air faster than you can say “tracking code pixel”. As the adage goes, “miss by an inch, miss by a mile”. And as a public relation professional today, you’ll be deafeningly ignored if you can’t compete for attention with your uniqueness. It’s the opposite of what it used to be.

In short:

Advertisers must become number-crunching behavioural psychologists with impeccable planning capabilities.

PR professionals must master the art of high-level creative output and professional-level media production.

It’s as if the PR industry must trade entire skill-sets with the advertising industry — and vice versa. Who knew? I will make sure to explore this idea further, both in my professional life and right here on the blog. Stay tuned.

Photo by Richard Nolan on Unsplash