Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Whose Responsibility is Social Media? PR or Marketing?

By Toivo Mvula

Why am I even asking this question?

Why can marketing and public relations not just get along?

Why can they not just be integrated into one?

First, we have public relations (PR) practioners claiming that marketers moved into their territory, taking over some PR functions and re-labelling them from for example ‘employee communication’ to ‘internal marketing’ (Gronroos, 1981), ‘crisis communication’ to ‘crisis marketing’ (Marconi, 1992), virtually the whole of ‘public relations’ is now ‘relationship marketing’. (Hutton, cited in Heath).
Then we have marketers who claim that public relations is nothing more than just media relations and publicity.

There are countless battles between these two disciplines, not to mention advertising as well.

Now the battle is on for ‘social media’.  The debate relates to agency partners,  organisational structure and departmental functions.

We have what is now called ‘Social Media Marketing (SMM)’ and ‘PR 2.0’. Both are new terms for marketing and PR activities in the social media arena. However, SMM is much more widely used and in some of its definitions, it include PR as one of its activities.

Another hijacking?
I don’t know, but I believe this whole confusion between PR and Marketing is a sign that both disciplines should be integrated for the benefit of clients and organisations.
It’s already happening, albeit with much resistance, especially from the PR industry who feel, and rightly so, that marketing is engulfing PR.
Who can blame them? Marketing is after all a bigger and established discipline.

Nevertheless, this incredible communication platform which is social media, provides both industries the opportunity to carry out their functions effectively to achieve their campaign objectives. Social media gives marketers the opportunity to reach their customers and attract new ones. And it gives public relations practitioners the opportunity to build and maintain relationships with their stakeholders.

What is important is that PR practitioners and marketers work together to achieve their client or organisations’ campaign objectives.

No one can claim ownership or responsibility for the social media. Social media is an open platform used by anyone, for everyone.

Anyone can be an expert in social media use.

1 comment:

  1. When I first read the title of your blog, I immediately felt that the answer to the question posed was undoubtedly BOTH! Marketing and PR professionals need to work together to be successful in the social media world and to help one another figure out what works best. For instance, According to a study by Morpace Omnibus, Facebook users join fan pages for two reasons, to support a product and therefore building on the product's reputation and to receive coupons/discount offers. To have a successful Facebook fan page therefore...effort is needed from both the Marketing and PR departments - collaboration is key in the social media world.