There’s a lot of conversation going around the blogs I read regularly on which marketing discipline social media will fall under. PR is trumpeting transparency as its main WMM (weapon of mass marketing); while our advertising brethren are holding up examples of believable marketing as the reason they should be on the top table.
Shel and Neville had a fascinating interview with Larry Weber, which I have listened to no less than three times and take something great out of each time, where Larry warns PR not to miss another golden opportunity to take the lead in marketing – something Shel and Neville have themselves trumpeted for a long time.
David Maister points out (on the Doug Walker post) that, despite many PR/Ad agencies being owned by huge “marketing” holding organizations, and despite all the talk of offering integrated campaigns, it comes down a feeling of us against them.
It all comes down to ego. There are some ridiculously clever, ambitious and talented people working in both industries and neither wants to lose. The ad guys have been top of the tree for more than fifty years and this represents the first time they face losing their perch (too many metaphors!).
On the other hand, PR guys are sick of seeing the ad agencies spend what we see as our money (PR budgets are usually first to be cut) and see social media as a way of redressing the balance.
It’s not hard to predict where my loyalties lie. I see advertising as intrusive while PR seeks to strike up conversation. Advertising buys loyalty; PR earns it. Advertising screams at you a few meters from your face; PR whispers in your ear. Advertising tries to bulldoze you into submission; PR gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction.
And because PR is a subtler discipline, it’s had to take the back seat. But now marketing is about forming relationships, bonds, community and to continue the driving analogy, because we seek to form conversations between clients their customers, PR is now in the driving seat.
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