Communications professionals are coming to recognize the benefits of integrating public relations, marketing and other communications functions. Silos for PR, social media marketing, advertising and digital marketing are crumbling as their roles merge.
A Weber Shandwick survey reveals that executives believe integrated communications leads to consistent message and voice across all channels of communication, more efficient allocation of resources, more nimble organizations capable of quicker reactions as well as other benefits. The Conference Board report Unlocking the Value of Integrated Corporate Communications and Marketing finds that combining marketing and PR helps create a customer-centric culture, infuse the business with purpose, and align company goals, metrics and budgets.
The convergence of PR and marketing has led to new titles: chief marketing and communications officer; vice president of global branding, corporate communications and creative services, and vice president of strategic marketing and corporate communications.
A Clear Trend to Merging of Communications Roles
An overwhelming majority of PR professionals – 90 percent of PR agency professionals and 82 percent of in-house PR pros — predict PR will become more integrated with marketing over the next five years, according to the 2018 Global Communications Report from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
“Although marketing has traditionally been responsible for the customer and communications responsible for other stakeholders such as media, government and investors, this dual-structure may be losing its relevance and efficiency in today’s marketplace,” says Micho Spring, chairman of the Global Corporate Practice at Weber Shandwick.
Integrated communications functions call for integrated communications dashboard that report all earned, owned and paid metrics within a single view. That 360-degree viewpoint can reveal the most effective strategies and prove how PR and marketing help the organization meet business goals.
While integrating communications functions offers clear advantages, integrating the metrics for all your communications teams is even more far reaching, says PR measurement expert Katie Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing. “Integrating the measurement process for all your comms functions will change your life. Not to mention make it a lot easier to show your value to senior leadership,” Paine says.
Benefits of an Integrated Dashboard
Integrated analytics for PR, marketing, social media and other communications provide the following specific advantages:
An integrated dashboard displays the bigger picture that keeps key stakeholders top of mind. During day-to-day communications projects, communications professional often focus on pressing activities and groups that demand immediate attention at the expense of customers and external stakeholders. An integrated dashboard helps show communications impact on key target audiences and stakeholders you’re trying to reach.
The integrated dashboard shows everyone the same over-arching goals. One dashboard with everything on it ensures that there is clarity and consistency among all departments, teams and contributors about how the individual campaigns, initiatives and projects are measured.
The single communications dashboard provides consistency no matter who’s in charge. Management in corporate communications can change. “But with a single source of truth in the form of consistent goals, objectives, and metrics, everyone can stay on track no matter what chaos ensues among the top ranks,” Paine says.
It improves internal communications and teamwork. A well-designed dashboard tracks all the marketing and PR activities, stories, case studies and team efforts for the month or quarter. It provides a reason for the communications professionals to sit down and review with each other about what worked and what didn’t. The media analytics provide an opportunity to collectively brainstorm about how to improve their processes.
The integrated dashboard hastens the collapse of silos. Too often people don’t share goals or messages, and each person or department works towards individual goals. Later, everyone claims attribution for success without considering the influence of other disciplines. Integrating all the efforts into a single dashboard requires sharing data and, ultimately, learning how different disciplines contribute to your communication goals.
Bottom Line: As more organizations integrate PR, marketing and other communications functions, they recognize the value of integrated communications dashboards. A dashboard that integrates metrics from all communications efforts can reveal essential insights, identify winning tactics and show how PR, marketing and social media activities improve ROI.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.