Welcome to the 21st century. Thanks to the Internet and social media, brands are no longer restricted to one or two platforms, and this has completely changed the rules of engagement for marketers.
While the old rules of marketing and public relations still apply (don’t talk about religion or politics), the new rules require you to be more strategic and agile in your approach.
Let’s look at each area of responsibility, starting with marketing.
The marketing department’s job used to be quite simple – create awareness, interest, and demand for your products and services. Now that we’re in the era of digital marketing, your job is much more complex. You not only have to market products and services, but you also have to market online. And you have to do all of this while being measured and accountable for your performance.
In other words, marketing is not just about throwing money at an ad campaign and hoping for the best. Oh, you might get some results from such an approach, but you’ll also likely burn out your audience. Digital marketers today need to be highly intelligent, well-rounded individuals who are comfortable using data and analytics to drive marketing decisions.
Public relations is, or should I say was, the job of making the public aware of your organization’s existence and the services or products you offer. Since the dawn of the modern PR era, publicists have worked diligently to gain media coverage for their clients, typically covering topics such as business, finance, real estate, and politics. Simply put, publicists were (and still are) the gatekeepers of press releases and media placements.
While the gatekeeper model still exists in some form, the nature of PR has changed. Gatekeepers may still choose to publicly celebrate your work, but they also need to consider new metrics such as media effectiveness and cost efficiency. That is to say, public relations professionals need to be more strategic and effective in their approach.
Finally, let’s not forget about the individuals who have the ultimate responsibility for the overall success of a marketing campaign. The person(s) at the top of the marketing food chain are known as brand champions or strategic thinkers. Sometimes people confuse this with the title of a senior marketing manager or marketing director. A bit of a stretch, but not by much. The brand champion is ultimately responsible for defining the market space, creating brand awareness, and ensuring the success of a brand or product within that space. This person’s unique skill set often includes marketing, communications, and business acumen.
Whether you decide to adopt a matrix, quadrant, or other organizational structure, one thing must be kept in mind. Brand champions must be able to communicate effectively in order to gain the trust of other stakeholders – inside and outside the company. Doing this well also means you can anticipate the needs of your teammates and collaborate effectively to meet those needs. In other words, a good brand champion is a unifying figure who inspires creative problem solving and pulls the team together.
If you’re looking for a single magic bullet to propel your marketing strategy, you won’t find it here. Digital marketing is a lot more than just SEO and paid media. You need to be thinking about content strategy, developing a media list, and monitoring performance across multiple platforms. You also need to be able to measure the results of your marketing efforts and, above all, have the fortitude to constantly evolve your approach as the digital landscape changes around you.