Xerox's Christa Carone speaks with Nicole Zerillo about the value of PR and how she measures individual success
PRWeek: What do you see as the role of PR in the marketing mix?
Christa Carone: As a CMO, I think it has to be one, if not the most, valuable aspect of the entire integrated marketing strategy... I'm somewhat biased when it comes to PR because that's actually the function I've been involved with in most of my time in the communications field: PR and media relations.
I actually believe there's a tremendous amount of value that PR brings into the entire marketing mix, and more importantly in influencing the perceptions and reputation of companies. [What] PR pros offer to a marketing organization that is somewhat unique to their peers is the ability to communicate to pretty much any constituent, [whereas]... marketing people know how to do sales enablement and have a core competency in certain aspects of marketing, whether its direct marketing, interactive, or advertising.
PRWeek: Has the increased presence of consumers in the digital space pushed PR more to the forefront?
Carone: I do think that organizations are grappling a little bit with where the social media aspects sit within the marketing mix... PR is playing a much stronger role in helping to influence how a company plays out its own social media strategy. So, for that, PR is adding even more value as to how a company is managing its reputation in the marketplace, and it's a natural extension of PR's expertise, [and] the value PR [provides] for a company.
PRWeek: How do you measure the success of your PR staff members?
Carone: Everything that leads up to the coverage and then how the coverage is handled afterward is an important part of how we evaluate talent in the company... I don't necessarily look at clips or cover reports when measuring the success of the team.
There are some soft things that come into play, and again this goes to the ability to communicate effectively. I also closely look at the judgment calls people make in PR because... more so than in other elements of the marketing mix, your judgment calls are much more visible.