The only thing constant in life is change. And there is a lot of it happening in the professional communications world. Of course, it’s being led by digital trends, but fear not, we’ve got you covered. We have our eyes on five big trends for 2017, and I’m writing about them one at a time. Fasten your seat belts—it’s going to be a wild ride this year.
The Convergence of Marketing and Communications
- More Influencer Marketing/Sponsored Content
- Metrics—This Year, Accuracy in Measurement
- Right-Time (Rather Than Real-Time) Marketing
- Video (More and Better)
Since shortly after man invented the wheel and decided to form a business to sell that wheel, marketing and communications departments have operated as completely separate functions of a business and rarely have the two met. Each department traditionally had its own budget and reporting structures, performing completely separate tasks. This has been equally true within the agency world as well. Almost exclusively, agencies specialize in very specific lanes—marketing or public relations.
Not any longer.
One of the biggest trends I see happening in the business communication world is the destruction of the silos that have separated these departments. It’s not going to be a smooth transition as each division sees itself as the public face of a company. But it is a necessary trend because both are the public face of any company.
You see, digital communications is forcing this convergence. The fact is, digital has an outsized influence on the perception of communications. TV, print and radio communications still exist. Traditional news media still exists. But digital has become the great equalizer. It allows the public to view both marketing and public relations through a digital lens, primarily social media, and it is a unified lens that makes no distinction between corporate communications and marketing.
Marketing was the one with the big budgets, paid advertising, and consumer focus. Public relations or communications had to move fast and be nimble in order to spin the company line through the media.
Now, both are needed to effectively communicate with the public. Speaking with one, unified voice—backed with speed and advertising dollars—is critical.
This new model should be led by communications and PR, taking into account the core tenets of marketing. Organizationally, this model can be leaner and meaner. But mostly, it is tremendously more focused.
In the age of social communications, businesses must move fast and be nimble in marketing, but they also must back that with a creative strategy and advertising dollars.
There is so much to be gained by this convergence. Now, some businesses and agencies will fight this trend. They’re naturally protective of their turf. But that won’t stop the changing nature of communication, led by digital, where the public makes no distinction in their social media feed between corporate PR and business marketing.
They’ll either enjoy what you are pushing or they’ll scroll on by.