A quick assignment before you start reading this blog post: send a Slack message to a member of your PR team and ask them what the demand gen team does. Did you get an answer about webinars or something vague about filling the sales pipeline? Now do the inverse. Does your demand gen team think PR is all about news, press releases or awards?
Did either mention awareness-building strategies? How about long-term relationships? If so, good for you! You are building a well-integrated marketing communications team. If not, read on to find out why PR and demand gen should go hand-in-hand.
In our day-to-day work, it’s easy to define our roles by our tactical outputs, but let’s take a step back and look at the true functions of demand gen and PR.
- Demand generation definition: building and nurturing key prospect and customer relationships for the long term. “What makes demand generation a distinct concept from other customer acquisition tactics,” according to HubSpot, “are a commitment to long-term customer relationships and a strategic mindset.”
- Public relations definition: a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. (PRSA)
Notice any similarities? Boiled down to their basics, the roles of both PR and demand gen is to create relationship-building strategies for your organization. Yet according to Cision’s Demand Gen Report, only 29% of the organizations surveyed have fully integrated earned media into their demand gen strategies, and earned media ranked at the bottom of the list of demand gen investments.
For both PR and demand gen to reach their full potential, though, organizations should rethink the relationship between these two functions, working toward truly integrated strategies. Here are the top three reasons why:
- Trust – the key to any successful relationship is trust. In fact, 82% of consumers said they will continue to buy from a brand they trust, even if other brands become more popular. PR has a key role in building brand trust, working directly with third-party media, thought leaders and influencers that provide critical objective insights to prospects. But demand gen is often closer to the sales team, and can provide valuable input into the perceptions, and misperceptions, of prospects. Working together, these two teams can create a strategy that capitalizes on the most trusted aspects of your brand and addresses any common areas of concern.
- Efficiency – looking back at those definitions above, it’s clear that demand gen and PR are working toward similar goals, so it only makes sense that the two should work together to build the stories they are sharing with prospects, media and beyond. Customer stories are one excellent source of efficiency between these two teams. Tech media, and therefore tech PR teams, are hungry for customer stories. If the demand gen team is creating a case study or event with a customer, this is an excellent opportunity to partner with PR to build exposure for the customer beyond your owned channels.
- Measurement – the Demand Gen Report found that the biggest barrier to PR and demand gen integration was measurement, including calculating ROI, lack of data and determining which metrics to use. Left siloed, it’s no wonder that measurement is a challenge, with PR lacking visibility into pipeline data and demand gen teams lacking insight into the PR efforts that should be measured. (Also at issue is the fact that most PR teams don’t know how to accurately tag their work for tracking). Working together can eliminate these barriers, giving PR a more accurate picture of what’s driving leads and demand gen a stronger understanding of the earned channels that drive results.