The marketing world is changing. We know that. And with the change in process comes a change in budget. We have been talking about it for years. However, there were two amazing blog posts published today that talk about the changing world of public relations. They are a must read.
Jay Baer published a post called Blogger Outreach Changes the PR Timeline Forever.
KD Paine also published a post called Memo to the PR Profession, budgets are there, just not for what we used to do.
Many of you know that I have been an outspoken critic of traditional PR and ad firm practices over the past few years. This does not mean I disagree with the need for marketing and guidance but I do believe the entire model is changing. It may not be changing drastically now… but it will in the near future.
Jay’s post talks about the changing world of strategies to pitch bloggers on upcoming events and public relations needs within the market. Like Jay, I receive pitches on a daily basis that are not personalized or relevant whatsoever to my content or blog. The mass distribution of content is still around in the PR and marketing world. However, the world of relationship management and budget development is changing drastically. Jay states:
PR firms need to be billing their clients to develop relationships on a retainer basis, so those blogger bridges can be crossed whenever necessary. That’s also why I see smart PR firms starting to specialize more and more in a particular vertical, whether it’s B2B technology, marketing to women, or food and beverage. It’s much easier and cost effective to develop and maintain many blogger relationships when doing so can benefit multiple clients instead of just the one client with the big launch coming up soon.
It is the truth and it is nothing new. Just like customers, bloggers need to be developed before agreeing to pitch your product, service, idea, or event to their masses. Also from Jay’s post:
Despite all the apps and influence metrics and crazy stunts, social media isn’t a game. It’s about business. Relationships are the foundation of success in business, and Twitter and Facebook and Klout and WordPress don’t change that one iota.
If we are still following the traditional model of relationship development with media professionals… why are we changing the model with social media? KD Paine’s post is related to the way companies are spending money in the world of marketing and PR. She talks about budget battles not being between advertising and PR. However, the battle is between “traditional PR thinking that can’t get beyond AVEs and HITS and the PR pros that understand two way relationships fueled by social media are the future.”
In her post, KD quotes Pierre Loic from Traackr in which he states:
For generations, mass media has governed marketing. TV alone would represent over 80% of an average marketing budget. Ad agencies have made a living of charging brands obscene amounts of money for creative and media buy. A senior exec at one of the top ad agencies told me just a few months ago, “when I meet with a CMO for an hour, do you think I sell them a $15M ad campaign or $200k in social media?” This is still today’s reality in an ad agency. The truth is that the economic model of an ad agency is based on big dollars and social media is small dollars – ad agencies haven’t figured out how to earn money on it, and this is their Achilles’ heel.
For better or for worse, PR firms have experience working with small budgets. They have also cultivated the art of the two-way communication with their target required to perform on social media. In many ways, social media is very much an extension of PR’s existing business model that only requires tweaks to succeed, not a business overhaul. This is the edge PR has over advertising in the land grab for social media ownership and budgets.
PR firms should have been the social media and digital mavens from the beginning. They have the ability to shift and communicate with individuals in a different way. However, I am witnessing many cases where PR firms are taking the traditional route of communication and not shifting fast enough for the market.
What do you think? Are PR firms the future of marketing and communication? We both know that traditional agency models are dying… but what is next?