PR vs. Social Media: #EnoughAlready

It drives me nuts when I hear people argue about PR vs. Social Media. It’s officially replaced the, “Is the Press Release Dead?” debate in my book, which in its own time was so mind-numbingly annoying that my body practically shook (and still does) when I encountered it.

Traditional PR people dismiss the new breed of digital pros as the hipsters of the marketing world. These communications vets ask themselves, “how can these kids who couldn’t even order a drink during the financial crisis possibly think they know more about the financial services field than I do?” And they’re right. What the next gen of marketers have in tech-savviness they lack in experience. It’s not a knock. We were all young once, but it’s impossible to deny.

fish-388346And the digital crew dismisses their older colleagues as out-of-touch traditionalists clinging to the old ways and not adapting with the times. They ask themselves, “how can these senior level marketing people be so out of touch? Don’t they see the world changing before their eyes? Don’t they want to evolve with the times to ensure they’re connecting with their customers in the best way possible and, hopefully in the process, raise more assets and strengthen their reputation?” Guess what, they’re right too.

But wait…. they can’t both be right, can they? The whole “One Side vs. Another,” headline loses its punch when both sides put down their light sabers and make peace, right?

It may be an anti-climactic ending but guess what… it’s the right one, and it’s one that smart financial companies have known for some time now. Just as brands in the past didn’t completely abandon TV advertising when the internet came around, brands today aren’t completely abandoning media relations to put all of their eggs into the digital basket. Instead, they use a balanced, multi-layered approach that combines the strengths of each platform. You don’t have to choose between the two. You can have them both.

As my colleague opined in a recent post, media brands, both traditional and digital, are doing fascinating things today to analyze the performance data of their editorial content to make informed decisions about what and where to publish. This use of data is allowing them to offer more tailored and timely content to their readers, who in turn are reading more than ever.

This is the financial communications space I love working in. The one where two heads are better than one, where people never stop learning new things, where companies finally stop hiding behind the regulatory and compliance curtain (because trust me, you’re losing money over it), and where brands openly take advantage of all the tools at their disposal.

Today’s landscape is new and challenging as hell (and guess what, within 12 months this post will likely be worthless!), but there’s never been a better time to be a financial comms/marketing pro.