PR Research

How communication and marketing roles must change

Date: 11 June 2013 10:19

Social media and economic pressures mean PROs and marketing teams cannot continue working in traditional ways. A recent white paper by research firm Kantar suggests that to meet today’s challenges, PR and marketing industries need to introduce new roles, and better ways of measuring effectiveness:

  • The new director of communications and content must understand both traditional public relations and online and social media – and how to connect the two.
  • The new director of marketing and sales will shift away from engaging consumers with content, towards converting them into sales.
  • The new directors must work together to measure the cumulative impact of their collective activities, from end to end. This will drive media monitors to develop new ways to address the evolving data needs.


It wasn’t that long ago that the main role of public relations was simply to create awareness among consumers and encourage them to seek out brands, so they could be converted into leads and sales by the marketing people. Marketing and PR performed separate, although complementary, roles. The illustration [below] shows the classic sales funnel model: communications builds awareness, marketing influences choice, and sales clinches the deal.

Source: Kantar Media

But this has now changed, François Nicolon, global CMO of Kantar Media News Intelligence, explains: “New online, particularly social, media cuts through this process, blurring the lines of responsibility“. Nicolon adds: “It’s up to agencies and brands how they split (or share) ownership of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but it is vital that marketers take full responsibility for resultant sales, and the PRO professionals take control of content under the leadership of the new director of communications and content”.

Describing the role of the director of communications and content, Nicolon says: “Creating and optimising content will become vital work for their team, which will be made up of designers and SEO experts, as well as those with a media background. And they must work closely with the new directors of marketing and sales.”

Nicolon describes the changing roles of directors of marketing and sales: “The development of this new role is more evolution than revolution. Marketing professionals’ focus will shift away from engaging consumers with compelling content, towards converting them into sales. The new director of marketing and sales will benefit from a renewed focus on the bottom line, and the means to prove their impact”

Source: Kantar Media

Nicolon concludes: “In the coming years, the new roles of director of communications and content, and director of marketing and sales, will be filled by people with a deep understanding of social media, its impact on their separate teams’ responsibilities and relationships, and its implications for their measurement models. They must forget about counting eyeballs in favour of measuring the effectiveness of their team’s content strategy.

Kantar Media’s white paper is available here:


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    Surely the purpose of a white paper is to introduce new thinking? The changing roles of PROs, marketing directors etc have been discussed and debated within the comms industry for the past five years

    Name: Phil Reed
    Date: 14 Jun 2013 01:35 PM

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