Guest post: PR should be the boss of marketing

In this provocative guest posting, Craig Pearce argues that PR should lead marketing, rather than the other way round.

Public relations is a superior business discipline to marketing and it makes sense for the latter discipline to report to the former within organisations.  

 The main reason for this is that public relations is dedicated to the entire, holistic relationship between an organisation and its stakeholders. It is sensitive to all the factors that impact on the nature of that relationship. These could include:

  • the qualities/characteristics of products or services
  • regulatory and legal issues
  • the ‘eco-balance’ of relationships between a diversity of stakeholders.

Marketing, on the other hand, is focused on developing and selling products and services to make a profit for organisations. Its remit is much narrower and is less concerned with the bigger reputational picture.

A stronger focus on marketing than public relations/reputation management puts organisations at a huge risk. The lure of the fast buck is the Holy Grail. In the longer term, this can lead to compromised relationships with any number of stakeholders.

Public relations is just as driven by business imperatives as marketing. Inherently, however, it is playing a bigger game. Without good stakeholder relationships an organisation will not only fail to achieve its profit objectives, it will have trouble simply existing. A case in point is the Australian Wheat Board, which failed to listen to good public relations advice whilst prioritising profit.

Ethics plays a much more important role in public relations than it does in marketing, too. Look at fast food and alcopops. Marketers invented these products and have been reported any number of times for promoting them unethically. Two contexts are junk food advertising aimed at children and encouraging minors to drink alcohol.

Social responsibility is not one of marketers’ highest priorities…

Another important strategic difference between public relations and marketing is the way both ‘communicate’ with organisational stakeholders. 

On the one hand, marketers talk with stakeholders/customers-potential customers to help them develop products and services that will sell. It is a one-dimensional communication relationship.

Public relations, on the other hand, listens to stakeholders to hear what they have to say about the organisation as a whole. The purpose of gaining this information is to advise the organisation how it can not only communicate more effectively with the stakeholders, but how it may evolve itself so it more closely meets its stakeholder needs.

The public relations version of communication, then, is more rounded and more profound. It is about exchanging information for a more balanced, mutually beneficial relationship.

Without good public relations, no matter what the potency of its marketing, an organisation will struggle to meet its organisational objectives.

Craig Pearce is a freelance public relations professional. You can see his blog at


Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes adds: We welcome guest postings from all directions, and I’m happy to post thought-provoking pieces regardless of whether I agree with them, so long as they are interestingly argued. This is an example of that.

My view is that (although there are plenty of exceptions), PR and marketing are both a means to an end – to help companies profitably sell stuff to punters. Marketing is closer to that end than PR.


  1. Dennis
    6 Jul 09
    6:21 am

  2. ‘Relationships’ is just one more ploy that we tolerate in order to make a buck, isn’t it? Since when is it the holy grail of business?

  3. Laurel Papworth
    6 Jul 09
    6:48 am

  4. Actually Customer Service should be the boss of both P.R and Marketing – customer service deals with real live customers everyday, and therefore has more impact on brand than any spin campaigns thought up by either PR or Marketing. It is customer service that hears rumour, buzz and innuendo about the company from all quarters and often is the first to respond – correctly or otherwise.

    Note that it is Customer Service that ends up running the Twitter account, Forum moderation and answering end-user questions on social media sites. Therefore it is customer service that in the future will “own” the relationship with the rest of the world, and marketing and PR will be looking for strategic input from customer service on how to engage.

    Or… this could just be a linkbait post looking to warm winter in Sydney with some flames. 😛

  5. Jye Smith
    6 Jul 09
    8:45 am

  6. I’ve never been an us verse them kind of person, I think either can or may lead, and so much of it depends on the individuals leading the cause. I’m sure there are many examples within organisations of marketing being a far more effective, superior and ethical team than PR, just as I’m sure there’s some examples of PR leading the charge.

    Interesting post, always good to get more perspectives.

  7. Kate Richardson
    6 Jul 09
    9:47 am

  8. I reckon if you think that marketing isn’t dedicated to ‘the entire, holistic relationship between an organisation and its stakeholders’, then that’s the first compelling reason why marketing shouldn’t report into PR.

  9. Simon Sharwood
    6 Jul 09
    10:43 am

  10. Saying that AWB ignored PR is a very shallow analysis, given that the organisation deliberately embarked on an illegal course of action.
    I reckon they probably assumed they could spin their way out of it in the event they got busted. In my experience plenty of organisations see PR’s ability to deliver crisis management as far more important than overall reputation management!

  11. Rob
    6 Jul 09
    10:48 am

  12. good on you for the provocative post Craig, but there’s a problem – I’d say the NSW government is a good example of an organisation that does exactly what you describe, and the result is a whole lot of spin and message manipulation at the expense of activity and outcomes.

    why do practitioners of all sorts of communications specialities feel the need to argue that they are the most important function in the mix when it’s clear that all the tools at our disposal are as important as each other in reaching the desired outcomes.

    The minute we hand overall responsibility to any specialist the likelihood is they’ll push their own area of expertise at the expense of all others.

  13. Ben
    6 Jul 09
    11:05 am

  14. Mama-say, Mama-sa, Ma-Ma-Hard-Sell…

    but i agree 100 percent. LIKE A BOSS.

  15. Matt Moore
    6 Jul 09
    11:40 am

  16. May be marketers & PR people could arm-wrestle or run a pie-eating contest to see who’s in charge?

    I’m a little sceptical of the PR community’s ability to deliver on Craig’s promises. Many PR people understand one particular group of stakeholders very well – journalists. Their understanding of other stakeholder groups in the ecosystem (e.g. the organisations’s customer base) tends to be less developed unless they are involved in the the grubby business of making or selling stuff.

    So if your business is run for journalists (and I agree with Rob that the NSW gov may fall into this bucket) then by all means put PR in charge.

    I’d also add that I’ve worked in organisations where marketing are some other group’s bitch (e.g. sales). In this case marketing argues that it should be in charge because it is more holistic, strategic, etc. And everyone ignores them.

    Saying you should be in charge is almost always a sign of weakness – in most places power grows out of the barrel of a P&L.

  17. Greg Smith
    6 Jul 09
    11:41 am

  18. Always good to have this argument raised. Al and Laura Reis first did it back in 2002 in their book, The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR. Australian ad man Siimon Reynolds also became a proponent of PR taking the lead. The problem is that most marketing people don’t understand PR, as evident by your comment, Tim: “PR and marketing are both a means to an end – to help companies profitably sell stuff to punters”. If ever there was a shallow analysis, that was it. Yes, PR can assist in selling, but it does way more many things.

  19. Ilse Schache
    6 Jul 09
    12:12 pm

  20. Especially during a time when government has “moved in next door, and isn’t moving out any time soon”, I think it is obvious that the success of an organization relies on more complicated factors than # of products it can sell.

    Because of this, I think the role of public relations is going be of increasing importance simply because PR is predicated on building trust with stakeholders through robust two-way dialogue. Consumers, like any stakeholder group, are increasingly “behind the curtain” of a company’s brand and image, and an organization’s communications strategy has to more about informing the conversation (that is already taking place) than ‘bright, shiny’ sloganism.

    However, at the end of the day, I think that adopting an adversial approach of PR v. marketing is as unhelpful as the legal dept v. PR guys that often happens in a crisis situation. I think PR has a lot to learn from marketing / ad guys, particularly in turns of audience reseach and measurement metrics.

    Just my two cents. :)

  21. Tom Dodson
    6 Jul 09
    12:12 pm

  22. As a recent graduate with a degree in Public Relations AND Marketing i would have to say that these days they are so intertwined that to try and put one above the other is unnecessary.. You would never find the one without the other.

    Personally i find that public relations can gain more from less, publicity for no cost. The only problem is the risk, it can be relatively hit and miss, being as reliant on stakeholders often with no interest or incentive to be kind about your product/campaign. At least with marketing you can mould the message being sent out to the masses…

  23. lyndellnm
    6 Jul 09
    12:49 pm

  24. An interesting debate, presumably posted to create further debate rather than to actually be taken as gospel. Sure, marketing is about driving sales, on the other hand PR people create relationships with consumers just to make every body feel all warm and fuzzy inside… Cosy…

    And the Ethics argument – are you saying that PR people don’t work for McDonalds and Bacardi Breezer? OK…

    I can see where the debate is going but I don’t think you can say that one kind of message is more important than the other. It’s a cycle in which PR practitioners and marketing strategists need to work on and through together. Neither can exist without the other and the kind of communication that will work in any given situation best will depend on the kind of company, product and consumers you’re engaged with. Debating who should be “the boss” defeats this purpose.

  25. Rob
    6 Jul 09
    12:49 pm

  26. and another thing – this line is a rather big claim “Ethics plays a much more important role in public relations than it does in marketing, too”.

    Consider the recent post/debate on PR’s vetting copy for magazine articles, and lazy journos regurgitating press releases and passing them off as stories. With the increased demand for transparency, it’s fair to say traditional marketing messages are at least visibly paid (except for instances such as cash for comment, but they are generally caught out).

    I’d say the cosy relationships between PR’s, media and other corporate stakeholders are at odds with the ability to be 100% ethical/transparent in all instances, compared to straight marketing/advertising/dm activity.

  27. Fionn
    6 Jul 09
    2:33 pm

  28. ad⋅ver⋅tis⋅ing  [ad-ver-tahy-zing] Show IPA
    Use advertising in a Sentence
    1. the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., esp. by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.: to get more customers by advertising.
    2. paid announcements; advertisements.
    3. the profession of planning, designing, and writing advertisements.

    Wouldn’t advertising be the boss of Marketing, Media and PR?

  29. Anthony Johnston
    6 Jul 09
    2:36 pm

  30. WPP recently put on a couple of seminars with G2 & Hill & Knowlton representing the “activation” and “PR” disciplines respectively. The result wasn’t a blood bath but a grown-up view on how the roles are morphing. They need to, as consumers have already changed. Google also spoke at the event and their view was similar.

    Fighting over patches is old school, even within the “new school” digital space. Agencies that don’t accept this are going to have to evolve or end up sub-leasing their empty office space to others.

    Just as ATL practitioners in the late 90’s early 00’s tried to re-skill to suit the change in consumer behaviour, so will those within the digital space itself.

    If I was a client, and my agency didn’t know that, or my PR agency didn’t, I’d find someone who did…

  31. Eleanor Page
    6 Jul 09
    2:50 pm

  32. Interesting article, Craig, and I think you have a good point, but aren’t going far enough with it. What you are really talking about here is Corporate Social Responsibility and, yes, PR people are in an arguably much better position than marketers to be proactive about CSR in their sphere, and possibly even persuade a company to embark on a CSR initiative. However, genuine CSR is about policies that permeate every department and decision in a company. Here’s an interesting research body on CSR which also gives insights into how CSR influences reputation and perception of companies who practice it.

    Interesting topic to bring up and it should remind all us media types that we need to look beyond both marketing and PR to recognise that the public face of a business touches customers and stakeholders in arenas well beyond the remit of those two departments.

  33. Dave
    6 Jul 09
    2:53 pm

  34. Matt Moore – PR people only understand one market – journalists? Really?

    Anyone who actually does good public relations and knows the industry firstly does not see journalists (or should we say media) as a stakeholder group, they are one channel to reach your intended audience.

    In the course of my day to day work (and I am a public relations consultant) I have to deal with and manage relationships with a range of stakeholders including all levels of government, lobby groups, non-profits in our sector areas just to name a few. That is in addition to knowing the ‘customer’ stakeholder group through research done in conjunction with marketing. Are you seriously telling me that marketing gets to know all of these stakeholders too?

    In having said that, I dont agree with Craig’s comments at all.

    Public Relations done primarily to push product sales, such as FMCG public relations to complement advertising and sponsorships are quite rightly in the marketing column, and should report to marketing.

    Strategic public relations which includes stakeholder management and relationships, issues management, crisis management, government relations, community consultation etc etc etc complements the corporate and strategic levels of the organisation. It does not belong under or above marketing as the strategic focus is separate.

    And Laurel – Customer Service should be the boss of marketing and PR? That is hilarious. I have mental images of a Woolworths check-out chick madly calling for a price check at a board meeting…..

  35. Laurel Papworth
    6 Jul 09
    3:01 pm

  36. Dave, customer service is no more the checkout chick at Woolies than marketing is the banner ad stats counter or PR the intern writing spam copy. And the new customer service – public discussions on forums like BigPondTeam on Twitter – are moving front and centre. If every member of staff can and does broadcast, marketing and PR are disintermediated. Customer Service have a better chance of surviving in a traditional role than they do.

    Actually Eleanor is right – I wrote a blog post around 2 years ago about the need for a Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer that rolls all these roles into one. Here Chief CSR – Japan have had them for a few years now.

  37. Con Frantzeskos
    6 Jul 09
    3:28 pm

  38. Good post. It’s all about the definition of the “view” from each discipline, an argument that can never be won or lost, because each area / function has merit in stating the case:

    Sales people would argue they should be leading the charge – as they know what makes people buy – and all comms efforts should be directed to aiding the sale.

    Finance might argue they should be on top – as they are there to ensure the most efficient use of dollars per sale – maximising profit per unit and per interaction.

    HR people could argue that they understand the skills and talents across the entire business, so should be involved in communicating those internally and externally.


    Whatever the case may be, my personal belief is that PR isn’t about press or marketing, but about relationships – whether those relationships involve internal, external or other stakeholders and audiences – in order to drive business outcomes.

    Advantages of PR in this era of conversation are that PR moves with a speed and level of personal tonality that is best suited to conversation and personal relationships. While I agree with Laurel that customer service has a strong role to play, I believe this is to be the “ears” of marcomms, while traditional marketing should be the “mouth” – and PR should be the “brain”.

  39. Nancy Gray
    6 Jul 09
    3:36 pm

  40. When ‘advertising is what you say and PR is what they say about you’, then today PR delivers the greater influence. New communication technologies (blogs, twitter et al) allow each person to become part of the media itself while school children are taught to be skeptical of advertising. Credibility counts over one-way messages any day and tapping into what people think and say about you is where PR comes of age.

  41. Jörn
    6 Jul 09
    3:36 pm

  42. Dave – I agreed with everything! And then you went and used ‘strategic’ public relations, distinguishing it from FMCG PR. I come from the school of thought that one needs a good strategy to achieve one’s objective. If the objective is to sell more chocolate bars – and the FMCG PR campaign achieves that – then that’s strategic PR!

    More so than someone doing all the other disciplines you listed under Strategic PR, but not achieving his/her objective…

    Maybe less focus on which discipline should report to which – and more energy on dedicated to making a better return on the the marketing/publicity dollar?

    Imagine how we could all help Bono in his fight against world poverty if we could donate all those ‘marketing’ budgets that never achieved much…

    BTW – I’m a PR, director of Hill&Knowlton’s business technology practice. These opinions are my personal ones though.

  43. Dave
    6 Jul 09
    3:55 pm

  44. Laurel – by your own definition of customer service people they should also rightfully be reporting into PR!

    If customer service people are out there communicating (which we all know they are), then it is the job of public relations to monitor the impact (either positive or negative) they are having on the perception of the organisation and give appropriate advice to ensure that this impact is in line with the objectives of the organisation.

    To believe that you could just let front of line staff take over communications (as much as they may know the customer probably better than anyone else in the organisation) is laughable. How many organisations have had their reputations tarnished by front-of-line staff and online communications?

    Jorn – apologies, i did not mean to insinuate that FMCG public relations or brand PR is not strategic. I am constantly impressed by the ingenious public relations in the FMCG market. I know that this is not done by chance alone. I was only using the word strategic from an organisational sense, rather than from a product or service line.

  45. Laurel Papworth
    6 Jul 09
    4:23 pm

  46. Actually Dave, the concept of putting Customer Service in charge is not my idea – though I am in agreement with it more and more, as we move from broadcast to engagement strategic communications. Especially after I see the problems PR/Marketing cause for Customer Service with ill conceived campaigns (vastly more problems than the odd inaccuracy from Customer Service causes PR).

    However PR/Marketing serving customer service is standard management practice. “If you’re not serving the customer, you’d better be serving someone who is.” and the Upside Down Pyramid (customer service and sales at top, everyone serving them, including CEO at bottom). I forget who originally inflicted it on us, but it’s pretty standard in real world businesses or was when I was last in management.

    Probably all superceded now. IT&T at the top of the tree. All Hail the CTO/CIO 😛

  47. Matt Moore
    6 Jul 09
    4:24 pm

  48. Dave – Easy tiger – I said that PRs (and this should be qualified with “most of those I have met”) understand the media well but tend to be less understanding of other groups in an organisation’s ecosystem. I have had conversations with PR people where any talk of “ecosystem” or “relationships” was immediately drowned out with “will this get me more press mentions this month?” Now, all PR practitioners may be responsible, strategic thinkers like yourself but I suspect that there are an equal number of press release churners out there.

    As my comments may indicate, I don’t really care who is in charge. I think the original article touches on something important – that the management of relationships & networks is overshadowing more traditionally process-focused ways of reaching consumers & publics. But then it gets lost in a PR/Marketing pissing contest. And if you care about that then I have a new gig for you rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  49. Jörn
    6 Jul 09
    4:29 pm

  50. Loving it! Healthy debate should uncover a new perspective!? Should we relegate this to a blog and its comments? Or do we have the time to meet for lunch and thrash it out? Happy to keep it to a simple sandwich and a complicated discussion. I’m in the Sydney CBD? Happy to arrange the logistics…

  51. Gordon Whitehead
    6 Jul 09
    4:36 pm

  52. I don’t think Craig Pearce really knows what marketing is all about.

    I do believe he confuses advertising or marcom’s with marketing, a common mistake made by Lawyers, Accountants, Fairfax Journalists and year 6 High School kids.

  53. Matt Moore
    6 Jul 09
    4:41 pm

  54. “If customer service people are out there communicating (which we all know they are), then it is the job of public relations to monitor the impact (either positive or negative) they are having on the perception of the organisation and give appropriate advice to ensure that this impact is in line with the objectives of the organisation.”

    Whle I agree with the first part, may one suggest that you reword the second half in a way that doesn’t sound unpleasant & control-freaky? May one also politely suggest that organisations do this through a genuinely customer-focused culture (which is far rarer than the wording of most mission statements implies) rather than what sounds like a PR editorial function?

    “Maybe less focus on which discipline should report to which – and more energy on dedicated to making a better return on the the marketing/publicity dollar?”

    Now there’s an appealing concept…

  55. John C
    6 Jul 09
    5:59 pm

  56. Initial Proposition: “Public relations is a superior business discipline to marketing and it makes sense for the latter discipline to report to the former within organisations. ”

    Logical GFC impact statement : Everyone reports to the CEO.

  57. John C
    6 Jul 09
    5:59 pm

  58. …and the CFO….

  59. Jane Wong
    6 Jul 09
    6:58 pm

  60. Fighting over territory is always bound to get you a good stoush in terms of blog comments. Strategically it was a good move to invite a guest blogger to be controversial and hopefully the related PR, tweets etc will bring you more clicks and hence more income from your advertisers.

    I would say that’s a marketing plan designed to raise revenue from advertising, supported by PR. No?

    In direct response to the thread, we ought not to be asking ‘who should be the boss?’. The product is always the boss. All related industries serve the product.

    The marketing division of a company is the conduit by which the product meets the consumer. The marketer should use holistic means by which to engage and seduce the customer, whether it’s through advertising, social media, PR, sales promotion, packaging, Design, CRM, events, out of home etc. These same disciplines also build the brand and manage customer perception.

    Old school linear thinking and territorial back biting is what is slowing the Aussie market down. While in other developed countries, lines are blurred, allowing the most effective mediums to a business strategy to play out in unison.

    Open your minds, enjoy your chosen medium and learn to play nicely together in the sandpit. Good teamwork should result in a spectacular sandcastle that everyone’s proud of.

  61. Simon
    6 Jul 09
    10:19 pm

  62. I believe Warren Buffett (famous US investor) once claimed that his number one reason for investing in any company was their brand. Which is of course the domain of the marketing team. He said a good team and a good balance sheet was second and third.

    I don’t believe he mentioned PR anywhere…..

  63. stu
    7 Jul 09
    6:22 pm

  64. Simon, if you don’t understand that PR issues and strategy influence brand value equally or more than advertising and marketing, you need to get an up to date understanding of the meaning of ‘brand’

    a brand can be destroyed by negative PR and no amount of advertising can revive it

    and it terrifies the ad industry to know that great brands can be built without advertising – to wit, Mr Warren Buffett, one of the most powerful financial brands in the world

    advertising = what you say about yourself

    PR = what others say about you, which is obviously influenced by what you say about yourself but consists of many other influences

    advertising is therefore a subset of PR

    or to put it another way – strategic PR is about unpaid and often unseen influence – whether its media, government, regulators, customers, employees, yet advertising is about paying in an effort to influence (usually) one of these constituencies

    which sounds more powerful to you?

    the ad industry has lost its grip because this grip was only ever tenous, based simply on wielding of large TVC budgets, and people tended to irrationally focus on money rather than real influence

    with the fragmentation of media, rise of social media, on-line accountability, decline of the TVC etc, the emperor has been left shivering in the cold, sans robes

  65. Jane Wong
    7 Jul 09
    7:33 pm

  66. Warren Buffett makes decisions based on extrapolating mathematical probabilities. This is the key to his success. He also only invests in companies who service the core needs of the populous. It’s not about their PR. In fact if they keep a low profile it has been said that it can be even more enticing for him.

  67. Laurel Papworth
    7 Jul 09
    8:09 pm

  68. … that’s not quite true. Warren Buffet speaks often on what he refers to as the “intangibles” – as in, “amortization of the intangibles” . If you ever want a dollar figure for your brand, part of it is there. So is “human capital” “goodwill” etc. Low profile is not necessary – a good profile is.

  69. Simon
    7 Jul 09
    8:17 pm

  70. Laurel is correct, and Jane is off the mark.

    If you can be bothered, Warren Buffett said the brand is the most important factor in deciding where to invest to a group of investors in Germany back in 2008.

    Financial Times, October 11th 2008 if anyone wants to look it up – in an article by S.Kuper.

    So his decisions are frequently made on the ‘intangibles’, not on extrapolating mathematical probabilities.

  71. Simon
    7 Jul 09
    8:19 pm

  72. Stu, Stu, Stu,

    I hope you’re not in PR and that you don’t write like that for your clients. Your grammar and punctuation were terrible.

    In one post you use the words ‘advertising’, ‘marketing’ and ‘brand’ as though they were interchangeable. They’re not. I don’t think you really have any idea what you’re talking about.

    Advertising is not simply about ‘wielding of large TVC budgets’. Never has been, never will be. Advertising is a subset of marketing. Advertising tends to fall into two categories Above-The-Line (ATL) and Below-The-Line (BTL). There are numerous definitions of ATL and BTL, but generally ATL is considered mass media and BTL is considered more targeted and specific. Most proponents of PR believe they fall into the BTL area – as their skill-set involves more direct communication to the consumer.

    There are two things that make marketing bigger than both advertising, PR et al.

    Marketing is about the experience a stakeholder has with a brand – be that stakeholder a customer, supplier or consumer. It is imperative to the success of a business and organisation that not just the consumer lives the values of the brand, but so do the employees. This is well above and beyond the remit of both advertising and PR – PR is only concerned with the public (hence the word ‘public’ in its name) – it has no bearing on the internal organisation it represents.

    Secondly, marketing (and I’m going to refer to my dictionary here) is ‘the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.’

    In short, marketing injects throughout the whole process of creating, buying or selling a brand. PR is more specialised in talking directly to the public about that brand and its benefits.

    Finally, a case study; Cascade changed their beer bottle size from 375ml to 330ml last year, without reducing the price, and left it to PR to provide the positive spin on it. They failed and consumers gave Cascade a kicking where it hurt – in their sales. So what did they do? Uh huh. Changed it back, and used a large-scale marketing plan to communicate to the consumers that they’d made a mistake and they were sorry.

  73. Jörn
    7 Jul 09
    8:22 pm

  74. Anyone know how we could invite Warren to this discussion? I’m sure he’d be delighted to get involved in the all important consideration if PR should report to marketing, or marketing to PR…

    Anyone vote for marketing to be dedicated four (or five) Ps while PR should be dedicated to creating a relationship with the public/audience/market/community/individual who is appropriate?

    And that they should both be held accountable by the CFO and report into the CEO…?

  75. Jörn
    7 Jul 09
    8:28 pm

  76. And following an earlier comment from me… Am I really to believe that all this earnest on-line passion on the subject can’t translate into a drink after work in Sydney where we can truly disagree with each other?

    I think this raises an even more important question – what’s the industry coming to if we prefer the internet over a drink?

  77. Simon
    7 Jul 09
    8:32 pm

  78. Jorn (I can’t find the dots to go above your ‘o’ so apologies)…

    I’d love a drink…if I were in Sydney! Brisbane is where it’s at these days…lol…but that’s another argument for another day….

  79. Jörn
    7 Jul 09
    8:42 pm

  80. Simon – good on you! Don’t worry about looking for the dots… I’ve got them.

  81. Anonymous
    7 Jul 09
    9:47 pm

  82. Siiimon, Siiimon, Siiimon
    mate you are gasping for air in an intellectual vacuum.
    keep the non-sequiturs coming becuz arm reely enjoin them
    it’s delightfully pathetic to criticise grammer and punctuation in a blog entry instead of arguing the logic
    you’ve got your marketing definitions wrong my friend – the experience a consumer has with a brand is not called marketing – it’s called the brand experience, funnily enough..
    loved your dictionary (reference, please) defn of marketing – please give an example of a great marketing campaign which involved the shipping and storage of a product. I’m sure we’d all love to hear about it
    your definition of PR was also a cracker – take a peak at an undergrad PR text and you’ll find that employees are actually defined as a ‘public’, which is why internal comms sits under PR in companies
    Your case study was extraordinary in its ability to fail any of the points you were trying to make. All it told me was that Cascade’s marketing schmucks tried to pull a Cadbury’s and failed, and that PR was required to haul them out of a hole. Refer back to that undergrad PR text and you’ll find that apologising when you’ve done something wrong is PR 101. Heard of a company called the Commonweatlh Bank, by any chance?
    FINALLY, and i save the best to last – you are smoking crack if you think Warren Buffet invests more on the basis of brand than on discounted cashflows and market positioning. To use a comment you claim was made in a newspaper article as the defining attribute of his investment strategy says that you not only have poor judgment – you know nothing about finance and investment

  83. David
    7 Jul 09
    9:55 pm

  84. Wow. Seems like a few specialists pushing their own agenda here. Whilst Craig’s original post is an interesting read, it’s deeply flawed. Clearly he, some of the above, are not advocates of the marketing mix. Remember that old chestnut?

    The many disciplines of the marketing function, from pricing to supply chain (and yes, even adverting and pr) will have a different weighting of importance dependant on the category, product and consumer need. Anyone suggesting otherwise is delusional.

    In terms of marcomms the true boss of marketing is not digital, pr, atl or btl. It’s the harmonious integration and collaboration of each discipline

    … and that’s something that we all still strive for, but rarely achieve.

  85. Simon
    7 Jul 09
    10:21 pm

  86. Well Stu (assuming that is you posting again)…

    I only pick on your grammar as it signifies your lack of attention to detail. And if you’re coming here as an ‘expert’ on PR, then a lack of that detail undermines your authority. If you want to be taken seriously, then act serious.

    The marketing definitions I proposed are text book stuff, not summoned out of my head. There is no arguing about them. Go and look up ‘marketing’ in any dictionary.

    “loved your dictionary (reference, please) defn of marketing” Not the Oxford English I know, but pretty comprehensive nonetheless.

    So anyway…marketing campaigns that involve shipping and storing of a product?

    Shipping: Amazon – a key marketing component is their ability to ship to you promptly.

    Storage: Ikea – despite making furniture, a key marketing component is their ability to store everything flat-pack, and thus reduce price.

    I think I win there.

    “All it told me was that Cascade’s marketing schmucks tried to pull a Cadbury’s and failed, and that PR was required to haul them out of a hole.”

    Erm, no it doesn’t. Read it again. My story is fact. Cascade led with PR, and used a big marketing push to pull them out of the hole. It is a fact. There is no disputing it. Ring up Cascade if you like.

    Incidentally, Cascade did their reduction BEFORE Cadburys…but that’s moot…

    “your definition of PR was also a cracker”

    Nowhere in my comment did I define PR. I said it is only concerned with the public. Which it is. Because its called ‘Public Relations’. Not ‘All Stakeholder Relations.’ Or ‘Staff Relations’. It is purely outward looking.

    “apologising when you’ve done something wrong is PR 101”

    So first lesson at PR school is to be there when the company cocks up? Hardly proactively creating a brand experience, eh? So if that was the case, what was with the giant Cascade billboards all over Australia??

    “To use a comment you claim was made in a newspaper article as the defining attribute of his investment strategy says that you not only have poor judgment – you know nothing about finance and investment”

    I don’t ‘claim’ it. It is a reference point from the FT in a book published by the Economist this year called ‘Brands & Branding’ (Bloomberg Press in case you want to brush up). I’m not making this up. Nor am I ‘smoking crack’. Nor would I imagine Warren Buffett was ‘having a laugh’ with his German investors. AND if you read the original post PROPERLY, he DOES take balance sheets into accounts…but he values the company brand above that.

    PLEASE try and read what I write properly and digest it before you reply…it will save so much time.

  87. Jane Wong
    8 Jul 09
    12:33 am

  88. Buffett also said:

    Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.

    But my favourite is:

    “I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.”

  89. lyndellnm
    8 Jul 09
    9:17 am

  90. Why the product “P” is king.

  91. stu
    8 Jul 09
    11:48 am

  92. David – nice post

    Simon – According to your own rules you’ve just undermined your authority on this topic – “if I want to be taken seriously, then act serious”….”he does take balance sheets into accounts”

    Oops. This is why you should’ve simply argued the logic rather than disputing correct grammar and punctuation in blog entries

    Re your examples – as the saying goes, there’s no-one easier to sell to than a salesman. It’s good to see you swallowing the Amazon and Ikea spin

    Re Amazon – they don’t ship faster than any other online retailer because they use the same postal and courier services as every other on-line retailer.

    Re Ikea flatpack – how much of the saved warehousing costs do you think flow through to the customer as savings, as opposed to Ikea’s bottom line? About nil – but it’s a nice PR line to trot out, isn’t it? Helps soothe the aggravation you feel at having to self-assemble their furniture

    On the counts of both grammar and relevant examples – I award you a Golden FAIL

    Likewise for your second Cascade fumble – you’re contradicting your own definitions of marketing ….you said they reduced the bottle size while keeping the price the same…er, wasn’t that a marketing tactic that backfired? PR tried to save it with spin but consumers saw through it then PR had to pull them out of a hole by doing a mea culpa and marketing had to make the decision to return to the bigger size.

    To answer your question – “So first lesson at PR school is to be there when the company cocks up?” – errrr….obviously yes – as your Cascade example has shown, when marketing stuffs up, PR often has to come to the rescue. Marketing’s abject failure to consider the PR dimensions of charging the same price for less created a much more negative brand experience than any shiny big billboards can defend against or repair.

    Your claim that one of the world’s most successful equities investors values one intangible asset – the brand – of a company more than the net tangible assets of that company (ie the entire balance sheet = total assets minus total liabilities) is ludicrous, and only goes to reinforce why marketing people have such a hard time getting a seat at the big table.

    Do you remember a company called One-Tel? Had a great brand, didn’t it?

    Almost as good as Enron’s.

  93. Simon
    8 Jul 09
    1:11 pm

  94. Ahh well Stu,

    At least by the end of all this you found the shift button….

    I’m done banging my head against your brick wall.

  95. stu
    8 Jul 09
    2:39 pm

  96. that’s good news Simon, i’m a compassionate man and i’d hate to see you inflict any more self-harm…

  97. Simon
    8 Jul 09
    2:42 pm

  98. Just out of interest Stu…whilst you’re here…why not give us a plug for who you work for?

    Just in case I need a PR expert to dig me out of a hole….

  99. stu
    8 Jul 09
    2:44 pm

  100. I would never do that sort of thing Simon.

    that would be advertising

    sounds like the perfect thing for you to do though…

    so let’s hear it – who do you work for?

  101. Simon
    8 Jul 09
    2:48 pm

  102. You haven’t grasped this intramanet stuff have you….?

    Click on my name. It’s been there all along.

  103. stu
    8 Jul 09
    2:55 pm

  104., hate to break it to you, but any site that takes 5 minutes to load isn’t worth visiting

    (but hey, i’m no intrament expert – i just understand people)

  105. Simon
    8 Jul 09
    2:57 pm

  106. I think you need to check your internet connection buddy.

    It’s a WordPress site….

  107. Jörn
    8 Jul 09
    4:13 pm

  108. Simon. Stu. Take it into the car park – this is no longer insightful content and hardly a good example of cohesion and collaboration to improve the lot of those in charge of the one P in marketing – promotion.

    Still no one up for a beer in Sydney? This could become a pub-fight…

  109. stu
    8 Jul 09
    4:13 pm

  110. gotcha
    it’s finally working…

    Dear SKD
    I love a man who calls himself by his own three-letter acronym
    thank goodness i can now read those nasty, nasty things you wrote about me, when you chose to retreat to your home turf, tail between your legs
    thank goodness i can now also read about your impeccable credentials, being not only a Man With A Hyphenated Name, but a “Successful published Photographer” (sic) and spruiker for “Elan Men’s Hair and Body”, whomever they are
    by your pic i see you enjoy using a few scoops of the old men’s hair product yourself
    well done

    Stu Worthington-Smythe esq.

    ps..will you let me post comments on your blog, without editing them? I promise not to use swear words

    pps. i think you mean ‘spawned’, not ‘spurned’, and it’s spelt ‘segue’ not ‘segway’, unless you’re talking about the transportation device.

  111. Simon
    8 Jul 09
    4:47 pm

  112. Stu,

    Post your name, email address and your own website on my comments…and you can write whatever you like. AND I won’t edit it.

    Abuse me behind the anonymity of the internet, and you’ll get deleted.

    I am taking this argument off here…if you wish to carry it on, you’ll have to do it via my site with your name.

  113. stu
    8 Jul 09
    5:05 pm

  114. Simon,
    Stu IS my name, i don’t have a website, and i’m quite happy to conduct my discussions with you in full view of an ambivalent public
    one piece of advice before i depart this topic for good – potential clients won’t be impressed by reading a juvenile dummy spit on your website, and will be even less impressed should they click through to the flame war which you lost in spectacular fashion
    you started out questioning the relevancy of PR in the marketing mix, and have ended up generating bad PR for yourself and your firm
    nuff said

    Field Marshall Thurston Howell III

  115. Karalee_
    8 Jul 09
    6:54 pm

  116. Got an idea to float… Anyone interested in taking this debate to a friendly, constructive, casual drinks level in real life? Public relations vs publicity vs marketing perhaps?


    Be kind people… no blood shed please 😉

  117. henrybuck
    9 Jul 09
    8:48 am

  118. Community service announcement

    you can follow The Black Knight’s wit and wisdom here:

  119. Paul Ting
    9 Jul 09
    8:49 am

  120. Well I think that ‘discussion’ was interesting to a point. When all is said and done, you both attract different clients with different styles and different points of view.

    In my opinion, this is what gives our industry so much depth and diversity. Bring on the tactical discussions about strategy, technique and approach but please save the childish tit-for-tat as it’s boring to read. Furthermore, I find it quite ironic that you both work in the ‘effective communications’ industry and yet you both clearly aren’t effectively communicating with each other to achieve a productive result. D’oh!

    Additionally, I think both of your clients would be encouraged and enthused by your passion for your art, particularly Simon who is willingly allowing real people to know who he is, (even down to his picture) and enter into a professional forum with him.

    Any client that is disappointed by dealing with a company that is passionate and motivated by the very work they’re purchasing could be perceived as short-sighted and probably not your type of client anyway.

    All in all if I was such a critic, my only concern would be the amount of wasted billable time you’ve both spent pulling on each other’s sleeves. You said your bit, people came and they got the t-shirt. Get on with your day and change the world.

  121. stu
    9 Jul 09
    8:56 am

  122. Paul – love your website.

    a couple of points

    1. i am not a PR consultant so am not making posts in an attempt to drive traffic to my business (can Simon say the same?). Hence billable hours are also not a relevant concept to me

    2. do you stand to benefit financially from your relationship with Simon – i note your twitter “Completed a very insightful workshop with Simon @StraightEdge_ What a refreshing way to approach branding!”

  123. Paul Ting
    9 Jul 09
    9:08 am

  124. “Social responsibility is not one of marketers’ highest priorities…”

    I’ve seen plenty of irresponsible PR too.

    I don’t think PR, Marketing, Advertising and Sales are mutually exclusive. They’re all communication channels that must work intertwined with one another.

    It’s like arguing that the wheels on a car are ‘first’ and better than the brakes. After all, without wheels, the car won’t move. Needless to say, it’s not until you’re moving that you value brakes.

    As a client, as a ‘marketer’ (for the use of a better word) and as a consumer, I believe it’s about objectivity and being spatially aware of the environment to work out what the best recipe for commercial success is.

    I agree that ‘marketing’ has been arguably irresponsible in some environments, but it has been incredibly responsible in others. The same goes for PR.

    When all is said and done, there is always a set goal for whoever the work is being done for eg. to improve/maintain commercial returns, exposure, awareness and/or consumer activity.

    I’d be reluctant to do business with any client, agency or work in a company where there was such aggression to demean supporting resources. It’s not a dichotomy, and it’s concerning to read that ‘professional communicators’ could appear so closed minded and taking sides.

    Craig, can you please write a blog about the validity and purpose of each resource and where you’ve seen examples of each perform well and also poorly?

  125. Paul Ting
    9 Jul 09
    9:13 am

  126. Thanks Stu!

    We’ve worked hard on our website so it’s always great to get positive feedback! :)

    Yes I’m currently working with Simon as a client and was attracted to this discussion based on his communication on Facebook. And yes I believe this is good-of-a-channel as any to help him drive business.

    That said should you be a PR consultant in disguise, I’m always open to ideas as you seem quite passionate about it also so I always have time of day for passionate people.

    Remember, I’m a client Stu. I’m here to make my business profitable, ethically, responsibly and memorably. I’d be foolish to segment my communication channels and write them off because an Eddy Expert doesn’t believe in it. So please, your feedback is always welcome.

  127. stu
    9 Jul 09
    9:20 am

  128. HI Paul
    there is no PR consultant in disguise here
    I have made full disclosure of this fact
    i dont post to mumbrella as a biz devt exercise – i just like a bit of intellectual debate and am compelled to call out people who talk nonsense about PR
    my view is that there’s a dearth of understanding of modern PR in this forum, with people simply viewing it as publicity
    this is very much an advertising-centric perspective that i find surprising given the decline of that industry

  129. Paul Ting
    9 Jul 09
    9:29 am

  130. Yeah I tend to agree with you Stu.

    I don’t know whether you can say it’s nonsense (as it clearly isn’t nonsense to them), but more conflicting with your own beliefs and opinion.

    In my opinion, PR is incredibly important. But so is marketing and advertising. I don’t see them as mutually exclusive or ‘ranked’ in strict level of importance or even in an strict order of delivery. Depending on the message and the timing, one could be before the other and vice-versa depending on the desired result.

    I see it all as publicity of sorts. It just depends on what kind of publicity and to what outcome.

    Can you define what modern PR means to you as I’d love to get your insight?

  131. stu
    9 Jul 09
    10:29 am

  132. Paul
    I don’t know whether it’s insight, fact or supposition, but my view of PR is as follows:
    PR (aka strategic communications) seeks to influence an individual or organisation’s multiple publics/audiences/constituencies through listening, strategic messaging and relationship building. This can be achieved directly or through the media. Because the media is highly influential across all audiences, media relations often becomes the focal point or driving force in strategic communications campaigns. Specialist PR disciplines include media relations, publicity, issues management, investor relations, government relations.

  133. Con Frantzeskos
    9 Jul 09
    10:30 pm

  134. Simon, you are clearly talking out of your arse.

    And I quote:
    “Erm, no it doesn’t. Read it again. My story is fact. Cascade led with PR, and used a big marketing push to pull them out of the hole. It is a fact. There is no disputing it. Ring up Cascade if you like.”

    You are COMPLETELY wrong. I don’t have to ring up Cascade – I know the full facts – because I designed the communications strategy in reverting the bottles back to 375ml. It was led by PR – specifically social media. It was a huge success.

    Good night.

  135. Simon
    9 Jul 09
    11:21 pm

  136. “It was led by PR – specifically social media.”

    You know what….I’m going to take that back to my blog.

  137. stu
    10 Jul 09
    6:28 am

  138. Folks and particularly potential clients of Straight Edge, go back to Simon’s blog where DESPITE being proven comprehensively WRONG by a guy intimately involved in the Cascade campaign, he gutlessly tries to attack Con’s strategy. On the way through he does mention himself once or twice. Of course.

  139. Paul Ting
    10 Jul 09
    7:16 am

  140. woah Stu, too far mate. Let it go everyone.

    Allow the people to make up their own minds based on the readings and comments. I understand you’re upset but personally insulting him isn’t respectable.

    Everyone wants to voice their opinion, hence why the internet is so great for that. It’s not your job to moderate and dictate to the point of personal attack.

    Enjoy your forum, but this isn’t my style of interaction. Good luck and best wishes. :)

  141. stu
    10 Jul 09
    7:27 am

  142. Paul
    Your friend Simon has shown a high degree of disrespect to several people on this forum from 7 July and first directed personal insults at me, so your paternalism is mis-placed. Your public counselling efforts would be better directed at him but that’s not going to happen,is it?

  143. Paul Ting
    10 Jul 09
    7:51 am

  144. Oh Stu, please stop being so bitter. The repercussions of Simon’s comments have a far greater reaching impact (professionally, financially, publicly) than yours and my professional relationship with him and the discussions I have with him are my business only. Please don’t be condescending and insinuating.

    I find it confusing that you suggest my desire for a rational, clean and un-aggressive
    conversation is called paternal then you back that up with ‘he did it first’.

    Anyway clearly this is a very important and personal topic for you and I’m the last person who likes people raining down on me when I feel focused on a particular topic. So I feel it’s best we tip hats, wish each other a good day and move on.

    Good luck Stu.

  145. mumbrella
    10 Jul 09
    8:39 am

  146. There are some great points being made here, but I have edited one or two where they got a bit disrespectful. Criticising people’s views is all good, but let’s try to keep it vaguely courteous if we can.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  147. stu
    10 Jul 09
    10:44 am

  148. Paul

    I agree wholeheartedly with the first half of your second sentence.

    But because I assume you’ve read Simon’s cowardly, puerile and juvenile blog attack on me, the rest of your post appears condescending and disingenuous.
    You might roll over and ask for your tummy to be tickled when someone attempts to defame and publicly bully you, but I don’t.

    If you’re going to intervene to defend your friend, then either present the facts honestly or cease making misleading inferences.

    Re what and what is not your private business, when you as a third party insert yourself into a debate by posting a purportedly objective viewpoint, yet fail to disclose your business relationship with one party, you put the nature of this relationship on the table for discussion and question.

    Finally, you have seen first-hand my preference for “rational, clean and un-aggressive conversation” in my 9.29am 9 July response to your request for my ‘insight’ into modern PR. Your lack of reply was particularly surprising to me as you said you’d ‘love’ to get my view.

    Surely yours wasn’t a facetious request? I’d hope not otherwise I’d think you weren’t being clean, non-aggressive and rational yourself.

  149. Sully
    10 Jul 09
    10:59 am

  150. An interesting discussion for the most part.

    But it is interesting to see how it becomes personal with a dose of vitriol. The art of collaboration between the very worthy disciplines of advertising, marketing and PR seems to be getting lost in a turf war.

    The best, often biggest and brightest companies are able to manage these disciplines together and in depth. In my view a “PR person” who tries to generalize into the disciplines of marketing and advertising is doing a great disservice to the specialist skills of PR.

  151. Paul Ting
    10 Jul 09
    11:00 am

  152. Oh I forgot to unsubscribe! Damn autoresponders…

    Stu, it sounds like you have an incredible amount of hostility and anger.

    I did love to read your thoughts and a non-reply shouldn’t be seen as disinterest but rather that I agreed and had nothing else to add.

    You haven’t been defamed in any way as your identity is anonymous so you essentially don’t have a visible reputation or profile to be damaged.

    Honestly Stu, if you haven’t noticed but this forum has cleared out as we’re off topic and each comment made has become subjected to aggressive, argumentative and accusatory behavior.

    If you want to discuss this article and topic please do, but for the sake of everyone else please leave the personal attacks in your head.

    I participated in this conversation to share my opinion (which has as much validity as yours) and to discuss the subject with like minded people. Not to have my personal values and being come under attack. You do not know me and I do not know you, so how about we both cease to presume?

    Regardless, I’ll be unsubscribing from this thread and hope you do the same. Please Stu, let’s all walk away with our reputations, emotions and dignity intact.

  153. Paul Ting
    10 Jul 09
    11:01 am

  154. hear hear Sully. My thoughts EXACTLY.

  155. stu
    10 Jul 09
    11:06 am

  156. Paul – the only thing i have to say to more of your hypocritical and intentionally misleading remarks is that they are utter and complete rubbish

    but personally, i bear you absolutely no ill will at all, and look forward to rational and non-aggressive discussions with you in the future.

  157. stu
    10 Jul 09
    11:08 am

  158. Sully i don’t understand the logic of your last sentence can you please explain it?

  159. Sully
    10 Jul 09
    11:15 am

  160. What I mean is that the specialist skills of PR demand a dedicated, skilled resource.

    What I have experienced as a potential issue is PR specialists broadening their remit into the areas of advertising and marketing to the detriment of PR i.e. generating positive publicity / stakeholder value for the business.

    Not to say that some very successful sales campaigns aren’t PR focused.

  161. Anonymous
    10 Jul 09
    11:17 am

  162. Uh oh Sully….looks like you’re next…

  163. John C
    10 Jul 09
    11:20 am

  164. “The Cult of the Amateur’ by Andrew Keen puts forward a view (amongst several) that without knowledgeable editorship we will continue to be bombarded with mindless noise :

    ‘Today, on the Web where everyone has an equal voice, the words of a wise man count for no more than the mutterings of a fool’.

    I think we’ve just seen how Blogs and commentary can impact a brand. I’ll be a bit ambivalent when opening a Mumbrella posting for a few days where once I was looking forward to some real news.

  165. stu
    10 Jul 09
    11:55 am

  166. …still a bit fuzzy for me Sully…pls correct me if i’m wrong – but are you saying that when PRs work on advertising and marketing they have less time to work on PR, which can be a bad thing for a business that values positive publicity?

  167. David
    10 Jul 09
    12:41 pm

  168. Guys, PR has always been and will always be a component of the marketing function. Please stop making out like they are separate beasts.

  169. stu
    10 Jul 09
    1:02 pm

  170. definitely true in the consumer sphere where advertising, DM, and PR are simply the means to an end where that end is driven by the marketing function

    notionally sitting over this is PR as practised in the Corporate Communications function, particularly where listed and/or diversified companies are concerned

    CC sits across the company to help manage an organisation’s sometimes conflicting communications objectives, and will have knowledge of matters that marketing functions aren’t exposed to (eg investor concerns or regulatory sensitivities)

  171. David
    10 Jul 09
    1:29 pm

  172. Accept you point mate, but in almost all instances Corporate Comms still reports in to the head of the marketing department.

    Any outward communication (product, npd, brand, pr, campaign, customer service) is still the primary function and responsibility of the marketing department.

    Re: Corporate Comms, the direction may come from the board level, but it’s still the marketing professional who shapes and crafts to actual communication.

    My point is, PR / Corporate Comms is still a componant of the wider marketing function.

  173. stu
    10 Jul 09
    1:59 pm

  174. David i have to respectfully disagree with you because Corporate Comms categorically does not report to Marketing.

    Corporate Comms reports to either the CEO, CFO or COO. External corporate messaging has nothing to do with product marketing and is the sole domain of corporate comms, working with senior executive and Board.

    eg Johnson & Johnson’s response to cyanide found in Tylenol wasn’t led by the marketing function. It was led by the Corporate Communications and Legal.

    eg. financial calendar PR for listed companies isn’t handled by marketing – it’s conducted by media relations working with investor relations.

    if you’re talking about a firm’s wider marketing function rather than just the narrower product marketing function, it’s fair to say that Corporate Comms isn’t just a component – it is usually fully responsible for “corporate marketing”, or the various ways in which the entire corporation is ‘marketed’ to its constiuencies.

    i think this is what Craig was driving at with his original article – which is not so much his provocative opinion as simply a description of the communications hierarchy within modern corporations

  175. Simon
    10 Jul 09
    11:19 pm

  176. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I agree with stu.

    (forum falls over in disbelief)

    I used to work for Lion Nathan. Corporate Communications answered directly to the board, and was in fact in a different building. The Corporate Communications manager had his own PR company on call.

    However, the marketing team also had their own PR companies that answered directly to the brand managers, who in turn answered to the director of marketing.

    So I think we have FINALLY got to the crux of the matter here…the difference between PR and Corporate Communications, the latter standing outside, and potentially above the marketing function, the former working with/for the marketing team.

    Now if only we’d worked this out at the start, we could have avoided all the tears.

    Incidentally, Andrew Keen is a GREAT read and a wonderful commentator. I disagree with just about everything he says – and have told him that personally – but I love his ideas. I believe he’s nailed a column for the Daily Telegraph in London recently. Would love to get him to Australia…

  177. craig pearce
    11 Jul 09
    8:39 pm

  178. Lots of excellent, incisive, positive comments here. Thanks everyone for the value-ad.

    Your feedback has provided plenty of prompts for a further post/article. There certainly isn’t space (or probably the desire to hear) the sort of response these comments deserve. Maybe Tim will tolerate further discussion…

    Just one thing, remember that, when operating at its optimum level, public relations professionals advise organisations on how the organisations can not only communicate more effectively with their stakeholders, but how they can evolve themselves so they more closely meet their stakeholder needs and wants.

    So, not just about external change, but about organisational change.

    Upshot: organisations that operate in a manner more attuned to society and, by extension, a better world for us all to live in.

    And yes, I am serious.

  179. Tony
    13 Jul 09
    4:34 pm

  180. As a PR/media person, naturally I agreee with the core of this article, however the issues is getting the right mix.

    In many businesses there is no real ongoing PR issue (a manufacturer for example just wants to build brand and sell stuff) while others are dealing with issues on a daily or hourly basis and only use “marketing” as a back up to help keep the wolves from the door (governments especially like to do this to show they’re ‘doing something’) or re-gain lost ground.

    This is certainly the case in large corporates and government which, if marketing has too much of a say the real issues get lost in the traffic and too much attention goes to getting a good vibe going.

    Unfortunately few people in marketing have a real understanding of PR or issues management and because it is high profile (and budget) have an un-deserved sense of its importance. Where they become elevated to head communications / Corporate Affairs sections but in the ‘wrong’ environment, great care is needed to ensure the correct balance is maintained. In these sorts of businesses marketing activity is just a tool and should never have the keys to the car.

  181. Simon T Small
    19 Jul 09
    5:24 pm

  182. Wow – what a heated debate – It’s a strange theoretical argument as Marketing is the umbrella term for sales, PR, advertising and everything else.

    To quote the ever incorrect Wikipedia
    “Marketing is an integrated communications-based process through which individuals and communities discover that existing and newly-identified needs and wants may be satisfied by the products and services of others.”

    This debate should be labelled advertising VS PR.

    The funny thing is that so many marketing departments are actually really advertising departments, which I believe is due to the fact that their budgets are generally heavily geared towards buying media – therefore buying media & creative for those media placements gets all the attention (internally). So why are they heavily geared towards media? It’s easy, low risk/low reward, and seems to have been working for the last 50 years?

  183. Gordon Whitehead
    19 Jul 09
    5:45 pm

  184. @ Simon T Small spot on with your remarks.

    Its a shame marketing is so often confused with advertising and its a bigger shame so many marketing departments and marketer’s are the ones confused.

  185. Greg Smith
    19 Jul 09
    9:56 pm

  186. All this has done is show how little pr people know about marketing, and vice- verda. How do I know? I’ve got 30 years experience and a PhD. So shove it.

  187. Greg Smith
    19 Jul 09
    9:58 pm

  188. And if my spelling is off, that’s because I’m on a mobile and half tanked.

  189. Jamie Verco
    29 Jul 09
    12:01 pm

  190. Craig…Provocative comments. I like lots of the points you made however it may be too much too fast.

    I would be happy as a starting point for more alignment of marketing and PR plans. Working in PR too often we are asked for the PR plan without the detailed marketing (or business) strategy.

  191. Vanessa
    3 Aug 09
    10:57 am

  192. Working in PR under a marketing manager, it was very frustrating working with brand managers and a marketing manager who placed no value on PR and had no concept of what PR actually was. This was quite disturbing given it was an industry based solely on reviews, editorial resulting development tours, social networking and word of mouth, aIll tools traditonally used in PR. The marketing team thought they could use their marketing $$$ and buy covers of magazines or indeed buy reviews which of course compromised editorial integrity, something I think they knew nothing about. It was a constant battle with the marketing department and eventually I had to leave as I was compromising my editorial integrity and my values as a person. I don’t believe that marketing should report into PR but equally so, I don’t think that PR should report into marketing. I think they should both be different branches of an agency or company and both report to the CEO or head of the company.


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