There continues to be great debate in the marketing industry regarding who should “own” what in the era of social media. There are rational arguments and real opportunities on all sides of the fence. Marketers leverage word-of-mouth tactics to engage consumers. Advertisers create branded profiles and channels in social networks and community properties. Communication professionals (i.e., public relations, marketing communications, investor relations, etc.) engage in the conversation and secure editorial placements with influencers and among consumer-produced sites.
Perhaps this is oversimplified but here’s what I see happening. Few organizations trust or understand how to tap the influence of conversation. And they still want control. So they opt for the creation of a channel, whether it’s a Web site, a profile in a social network, a podcast or a video on YouTube. Easy stuff. And it’s easy for advertising and marketing companies to sell because it’s related to what they have done for years.
The power of outreach and need to spark conversation seems to be lost on the average marketer. Even in New York, which is one of the most progressive pools of talent in the industry, the lack of new thinking (other than a new wrapper for old ideas) is astounding. PR professionals that understand how to navigate social media and new communications are creating some of the most appropriate original thinking. Professionals from all marketing disciplines need to spend time in the social media space to understand what really matters and what works.
In the end, it’s not marketing vs. PR. It’s channel and conversation. An integrated mix of messaging platforms is the best way to proceed. Establish a bit of control and participate in the ups and downs of uncontrolled communication.
[tags]public relations, social media, marketing, digital channel, conversation, conversational marketing[/tags]