PR and Marketing: Where’s the Mix?

When I scanned the blogs this week to find something unique to write about, I hit the jackpot on a blog I’ve never before visited. It’s called which focuses on social media and marketing. All of a sudden, the words “Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism” pop out at me. I couldn’t have been more surprised by this mention.

The author of the blog, Todd Defren, wrote a piece called “The Creative Destruction of Public Relations” in which he notes that Dr. Dawn Gilpin, a Cronkite PR professor, has taken his site off her syllabus because Defren “straddles the line between PR and marketing.” Defren defends his claims by saying that the larger worlds of PR, marketing, advertising and social media are so intertwined that it is impossible not to “straddle the line.”

Defren quotes another PR veteran who hypothesized that PR, as an independent industry, won’t last outright for much longer because of the blurring together of social media, media relations and other abilities.

Above all, I almost gasped when I read this article. The industry I spent four years learning about will be no more in five to 10 years?! What?!  But then I looked into it further.

Had I really learned “traditional” PR during my time at Cronkite? Not necessarily. My courses (and internships) have taught me so much about PR, social media, media relations, and yes, even the basics of marketing. Public relations to me isn’t about sending out direct mail and placing ads in newspapers.

Defren’s thoughts are not something to fear; they are something to embrace. We, the Cronkite Class of 2010 or 2011, have been prepared for an ever-changing and developing industry in which consumers demand more, spend less, and are always rewarding creativity in public relations.

So my fellow future Cronkite graduates, what do you think? Can we go out in the world and do more than send out direct mail pieces? Will we be the ones to popularize the “next big thing” in how our agencies/corporations disseminate their messages? I have faith in us.

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6 Responses to PR and Marketing: Where’s the Mix?

  1. fmatera says:

    I find it curious that Todd Defren would concern himself with Dr. Gilpin’s decision. But it certainly generated a lively exchange about the role of PR and marketing while at the same time attracting eyeballs to his blog.

    From my reading, Dr. Gilpin’s goal is to establish the past-present-future role of the practice for beginning PR students. Rightly so. You can understand how the lines blur but only after you first see the line.

  2. bajohn10 says:

    I believe it is actually quite exciting that news is being generated about the Cronkite School. This means that we are influential and noteworthy within the public relations and journalism industries.

    I cannot disagree more with the notion that PR is “dying” out with newspapers. The industry is merely at a crossroads: one where technology is rapidly advancing, and the audience is increasingly more intelligent. It will be our job in the future to lead the way connecting multiple generations to the innovative ways of communicating our messages.

    It will take great creativity and dedication to keep PR differentiated from marketing.

  3. alervin says:

    I find it interesting that Defren is keeping track of a class syllabus. Why would he track Dr. Gilpin’s syllabus and where did he get it?

    Other than that, I kind of go both ways on this issue. It is not so much as PR will be gone in 10 years, but more that it is changing into a new entity all together. It is blending PR, social media, media relations and a bit of marketing. But the great thing about being students right now is that we are learning it all. We are being taught to be flexible and adjust with the industry — an advantage that people who have long been practicing traditional PR do not have.

    I think PR will remain an important resource for business growth — it’s not about marketing, its about building relationships with the public and the media. As you said, we will just have to get more creative as lines blur.

    • bmalex says:

      I agree. I like how you called the change a “new entity.” That is sort of what I was going for and a great way to say it.

      I also was wondering how he got his hands on a syllabus from a Cronkite class. This is a guess, but maybe professors send blogs a courtesy email or some communication that they will be suggesting that blog for students. There has to be more to it than that though.

      • Dawn Gilpin says:

        I’m using an online syllabus this semester for JMC310, so he just followed his referrer logs. However, there are a few factual errors in Todd’s post; for one, the blog wasn’t removed from the syllabus itself, but simply from the blogroll that I use as a starting point for a particular assignment.

        If you click on the link in his original post, you can see the exchange with my student that sparked his response.

  4. malauddi says:

    I concur the idea. I found it interesting. the more we discuss the more we learn.

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