Once considered staunch competitors vying for C-Suite attention, marketing and PR teams are more in sync than ever in terms of operations, goals, tools and yes, executive priority! This is especially true in tech and cybersecurity where building a brand and market credibility fall squarely on the shoulders of integrated communications programs.
The In-House & Agency Combo
There are a number of configurations any given company might have for their communications “department.” Maybe marketing and PR are both internal. Maybe both are external. A common arrangement is a split between internal and external in which marketing is in-house and PR is outsourced.
This is a strategic arrangement. Marketing professionals need to be closely aligned with the sales team’s needs, and PR professionals’ value lies in the breadth and depth of their connections with reporters, publications and analysts. By hiring a PR agency, a company benefits from the connections of not just one or two people, but many. This combination of internal and external talent allows marketing and PR pros to combine their strengths and produce effective communications programs.
Shared Business Goals
The primary goal of both marketing and PR is to communicate information about a brand to key audiences. While tactics differ (ex: advertising versus proactive pitching), both aim to establish brand awareness. One way in which these teams work together is developing messaging and disseminating content that reflects that messaging.
For example, if a marketing team works independently to put together a technical blog on the dangers of SMS phishing, they might publish that blog to the website, include it in a monthly newsletter, and post it to social media—all great ways to distribute company-owned content! Better yet, would be working with the PR team to pitch the unpublished blog to relevant publications as a contributed byline. When content is published by a third party, it garners even more authority and credibility. The marketing team can then disseminate that content the same way it would a blog on the company’s own website.
When marketing and PR work together towards elevating and disseminating messaging, it makes a greater punch than either team working solo!
Here too, marketing and PR find common ground. Ultimately, brand messaging should be developed between both of these teams to ensure consistency. Depending on the communications tactic at hand, this core corporate messaging will be tweaked. For example, if the marketing team is setting up a lead generation campaign, it’s going to use succinct and attention grabbing language to get users to convert. On the other hand, the same core message may be transformed into a media pitch by the PR team to connect it to relevant news topics. Same messaging, just repurposed for different uses!
Leveraging Social Media
Perhaps the communications “tool” with the most overlap in use by marketing and PR teams is social media. Social media channels offer communications professionals incredible access to stakeholders, from prospects to investors. The ideal mix of content incorporates both branded marketing materials, press and corporate news, and employee-centric content. Marketing and PR are thus poised to share the responsibility of creating public-facing content.
Finding a balance between stakeholder engagement and media relationship building through social media can be achieved as these teams collaborate on a content schedule. The fast-paced nature of social media requires agile communication between teams to ensure the content posted is timely, cohesively and is “on brand.”
Why Collaboration Trumps Siloing
Siloing refers to creating distinct (namely, separate) teams for specific functions. While this may work in some industries, it’s not ideal for tech and cybersecurity brands due to the rapid pace of operating an emerging technologies company. The fewer communications barriers between teams the better.
As such, even if marketing and PR are two separate entities (as in the case of one internal and one external team), they should work as one to achieve optimal results. The worst thing any brand can do is treat marketing and PR initiatives as completely independent of one another. This philosophy leads to conflicting messaging and out-of-sync communications tactics.
If you need further convincing that marketing and PR are necessary for brands, even those just starting out, read these words of advice from industry analyst Richard Stiennon of IT-Harvest.