The Link Between Marketing and PR. USA Vs. UK.


Returning home to England has been challenging. After one week of constant sleep deprivation, it was clear that jetlag had the best of me. 5 days prior to landing in the UK, I was ready to leave Los Angeles and head to Grand Rapids followed shortly by Detroit, the heart of the Midwest. It’s not easy hopping between three time zones, especially when the finale is a 4000 mile flight back to London.

After my arrival I soon became bored, although being home was relaxing, I was idle during my transition from Gloucester to London in late June. So what did I do? I called a friend. A contact that I was able to acquire little under two years ago when I had just become an undergraduate at Kingston University, London. He is the Director and Owner of an extremely influential marketing and public relations (PR) agency in Gloucestershire. The company, Moose Marketing and PR, work alongside a wealth of clients throughout the Gloucestershire area together creating and distributing a government-funded business magazine called Punchline.

Now the reason I have referenced Moose Marketing and PR is because I want to explore with the differences between the marketing and PR link in the United Kingdom vs. the United States of America.

Following my decision to temporarily re-join the agency, I sat and spent some time reflecting on my time in America, It soon occurred to me how different the process of PR is between the United Kingdom and the United States – two well-established economic powerhouses, often thought to be the mechanical fundamentals of global business.

As a marketer at heart and in profession, I always enjoy expressing my own opinions and understanding of the link between Marketing and PR. So much so, I would always express my opinions in class, especially in the more intimate environments in the USA. I would question why in the PR practice is it understood that PR and Marketing do not work together? I would express my own understanding of how PR is a marketing process, evidently becoming more independent – but nevertheless still a marketing process. Evidently a British view.

Now in the USA, academic debates were not uncommon, in fact they would occur often in class. But it was clear, the generic and proffered understanding in the United States is that Marketing has stolen many basic and complex elements of PR – a prime example would be ‘big data’, yes – the term that intrigues me. It was also expressed that marketing is oriented around ‘selling’, where PR was oriented around ‘Relationships’. Digging deeper into the United States and their practices in comparison to academic teaching now; Alex Goldfayns, the profound American CEO of the ‘Evangelist Marketing Institute’, mentioned that when he was working for the Chicago Tribune as a technology columnist, he would receive around 300 press releases a day for him to edit into the Chicago Tribune. He would only choose 3. He later expressed why he would choose those three, and the deciding factor was the relationship he has with the business sending the press release.

Now lets track back for a second. Without further ado, it is vital to realize that it is not a coincidence that Alex, who currently operates one of the most influential marketing consultancies, was once working as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. In the 20th Century many labeled press roles a Public Relations function. A perfect example of how marketing and PR worked in synergy to create a cherry pick marketer in Alex who now writes for Harvard Business Review. For someone with a Harvard level visual for both marketing and PR, he does well to express the importance of relationships. What’s more, he’s American who currently works in Marketing. Another coincidence? No. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a function of marketing, and an extremely important one. What Alex shows in his work is that essentially, marketing and PR should be practiced together, hand in hand. Neither focuses on sales while the other focuses on the importance of relationships.

Now for the sake of business and departmental efficiency – this should be the case. It is much easier to have a PR team located within or alongside the marketing department. Now in opposition to my academics in the United States, it seems to be common in the UK to have stronger links between marketing and PR. It seems to be a popular way of integrating a more rounded business concept, broadening the skills of an agency.

With Moose Marketing and PR, the link between the two processes work extremely well, they compliment each other to create a fantastic core product – Punchline magazine. Both Marketing through CRM and PR work together to engage a client and a reader emphasizing the importance of relationships to a business, regardless of size. I can talk on behalf of Moose Marketing and PR by expressing just how important their clients interested are to them.

Finalizing my research and opinions, we see similarities between the two countries and the disputed relationship between the two practices. Unfortunately, I believe that the controversy behind ‘PR’ stereotypes play a large part influencing efforts to drive the practice away from traditional marketing. After all, from my experience, the majority of PR professionals in the United States dislike operating under the marketing umbrella. The intensified media in the United States is always going to be an issue. I do believe this to be reason as to why there is such an extreme dispute between the two. The United Kingdom is more traditionally oriented, meaning that they will amalgamate both practices simply without worrying about the media stereotypes. This is not necessarily a good thing as it makes the profession harder to evolve. After all, status incentives are extremely influential.

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