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Public relations Versus search engine marketing Versus marketing

Elemental Communications (Social Media Portal) - 23 October 2006

Public relations versus search engine marketing versus marketing

In the face of increasing media convergence, Tim Gibbon, director of Elemental Communications, argues that being able to bring together the core elements of public relations, search marketing and marketing is essential to a successful integrated online strategy

It’s obvious that many people rely upon search engines and news search engines for information whether they belong to the B2B or B2C audience categorPhotograph, Tim Gibbon, director of Elementalies. Today there are more and more channels that are growing in popularity. The rise and potential of these channels brings a range of opportunities for brands to work with. 

Understanding how these channels – online and offline – work individually and as a collective is as vital to campaigns as understanding how to connect with your audience. Crucially of course, social networks are catching up with search engines and portals in terms of traffic, audience loyalty and brand value. The acquisition of social networks by some of the world’s biggest media networks is clear evidence of their growing influence.   

Learning how you can influence paid and unpaid listings to ensure the right message about your company and brand is getting out there using progressive marketing and PR is growing in importance as the mediums have collided and are now so closely intertwined. To know how to find, create and influence conversation is even more critical especially if competing brands are employing these methods to encroach upon or capture your territory and space - or to hurt your image.

Traditional media’s sudden interest in social media - and the mention of social media at least three to four times a day in the broadsheets - shows that their potential is being realised. The way we communicated changed an awful long time ago, but over the last couple of years it has reached a completely new level. Now, the mediums are even more complex, and overlap significantly more than ever before. And so, the need to step up to the plate and define brands in an already competitive space has begun.   

It was never about public relations vs. search engines vs. marketing. It was always about them working together - seamlessly. Agencies and in-house departments that have embraced this ethos have thrived and have built extremely powerful skill sets. Being able to adapt as the marketing technology and channels (news engine SEO, online PR, social media and viral advertising to name a few) change is invaluable. Traditionally, niche agencies have led the way in this area. We have seen them mature into all-round specialists that have either been snapped up by networks or been completely outdone by the creation of new specialist departments or agencies that have realised the importance of the next generation of communications.

Recently, we have seen a very well known established PR agency launch a search division, an e-marketing agency adopt more focused online PR and a search marketing agency add a social network department to its business. These are further clear indicators that agencies are keen to get to grips with managing multiple media requirements and attempting – rightly or wrongly – to cover all. Consolidation and acquisition is always inevitable within our industry, but only recently have we seen this move gather pace.   

Only by appreciating and acknowledging what the media is today, what impact it has upon the channels we choose to use for campaigns and the direction it may be heading in will we be able to work together effectively. It may be a slow and painful road for many in terms of being able to bring the essential core elements of public relations, search marketing and marketing together, but this is where harmony and success lies. 

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