Years ago, when I was toiling away for a Fortune 100 company, I found myself in an impenetrable silo where two organizations rarely met or talked, but really needed each other. Heck, the company needed us to need each other. Instead we worked side by side, creating opportunities for our employer without ever talking to one another. The whole process was totally ineffective. If only someone had initiated an introduction that simply went like this; “Public Relations meet Marketing, Marketing, meet Public Relations. We’d like you to work together.” Needless to say, neither of these groups ever talked to the sales department. As absurd as that sounds, I still constantly run into companies and meet agencies engaging strategies where one is used but not the other. This is first and foremost why we call ourselves a “Visibility Company.” We’re don’t define ourselves as a marketing company or a public relations agency because we’re actually both, plus business development, plus social media, plus web and content design, etc. Do all of our clients need all of these services? No. But if they’re not engaging a combination of the above, it’s never going to work. You can’t possibly be successful doing one without the other.
There’s a lot of marketing folks who know nothing about public relations and I’ve never really understood this. I also scratch my head when I hear about PR departments and agencies that want nothing to do with marketing. How is this possible?
Simply laid out – the company continuum should look like this:
Sales and Business Development should be supported by marketing which is supported by public relations/earned media/social media/web, etc.
- If you can’t find a direct line of communication between these three elements, you’re all wasting your time. There’s plenty of sales folks who see the marketing department as the “the people who make the brochures.” This is sad, because what the marketing people SHOULD be doing is helping the sales department open doors. And sometimes that means engaging the sales teams to let them know what you REALLY have the capability of doing.
- There’s plenty of marketing people who see the PR folks as the group that comes up with newspaper clips with no measurable ROI. What the marketing team should be looking at the PR group to do is help them brand their company and use the successes as another tool to market the company to prospective clients.
- There’s plenty of PR practitioners who try and do their job without ever aligning their pitches to the marketing or business development plan. Yep – one big giant mess of silos.
No marketing or PR agency should EVER engage a company without first understanding the needs of the sales or business development efforts. And leadership should be telling the sales people they NEED the help of the marketing and PR team. If these units (sales, marketing, PR) are not aligned and supporting each other, you’re wasting everyone’s time (and money). It’s time to break down the silos – and develop a game plan you can all work with.