Tips to integrating digital marketing and PR

Integrating digital marketing into an existing PR campaign can be more complicated than you think. Text100’s MunYin Liu explains how to ease the process.

Integrating digital marketing into an existing PR campaign can be more complicated than you think. Text100’s MunYin Liu explains how to ease the process.

Adding digital work to existing campaigns can be a tricky process and a source of much frustration. My background is skewed severely towards digital marketing, so working on a daily basis with colleagues who come from more communications-based disciplines means that I’m in a great position to understand how difficult it is to truly integrate digital and PR.

The process of integrating digital with existing comms work is more complicated than most people appreciate. It’s rare to find an experienced communications or PR team that has ready-made digital skills that can handle other channels.

A new team generally needs to be brought in, which can be complicated since even the most detailed briefing can’t replicate solid experience on an account.

Differences in approach

In short, the way in which new plans are executed is different. A digital team may have a mind-set that’s more along the lines of setting a strategy foundation that it knows will be optimized as a campaign rolls out. On the other hand, a PR or communications team may be more concerned with handling how different elements of a campaign feed off one another.

More often than not, communications or PR activity will only be measured and analyzed at the end of a campaign, with little opportunity to pivot or change as it is being executed.

Another contrast is the way in which both areas go about their business. Communications work needs to ensure that it remains focused on the big picture, aligning itself with other moving parts.

Conversely, digital teams have so many data points and metrics that it’s easy to get stuck on them. The key here is to remember what’s impacting those metrics, rather than the metrics themselves.

Fundamental differences like this can be a stumbling block when bringing two teams together, and this is especially evident when ideas are put forth to the client. With that in mind, it is imperative for digital professionals to remember to be patient when explaining a new concept.

A key point to note is that new concepts are often difficult to explain because they’re difficult to do. Clients also need to understand that digital can’t just be stuck onto existing work to be effective, so patience on their part is required as well.

Tips for successful integration

The successful integration of digital work can be managed through the following suggestions, covering both agency and client-side perspectives:

1)     Clients need to be clear on what their objective is, and should not see the introduction of digital elements as a massive game changer, but rather as something progressive to help augment current activity.

2)     Clients also need to be realistic and understand that they cannot expect to see instant results. This is in spite of the fact that launching a digital campaign can be very quick, but achieving positive results often requires ongoing commitment and time.

3)     Agencies need to comprehend the impact and process that comes with launching a digital initiative before recommending a new strategy to the client. I’d argue that this requires project and campaign managers to be in absolute agreement on the right way to execute.

4)     Agencies also need to be better at fitting their new digital campaign ideas into existing strategies. It’s paramount to have an appreciation of the restrictions and limitations in place.

5)     Agencies introducing digital concepts must be better at articulating the value of the work.

At Text100, we’ve been working through these ideas with our clients for more than five years. We make sure that integrating digital marketing into an existing campaign is explained logically and that progress can be tracked with transparency.

Go here to see how we can help your company with its digital marketing efforts.

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