As I alluded to last week, PRWeek's Marketing Issue, released today (Friday) online and winging its way to you in print, is a clear sign of the direction in which the communications industry is traveling.
So why did we choose to do a Marketing Issue now, and what is a PR publication doing pitching a large part of its monthly content in the context of marketing?
Well, communications has always played in the marketing space. As well as all the other areas where we know PR pros are experts, such as corporate reputation, government relations, investor relations, internal communications, CSR, digital, and so on.
But marketing is now headed - in fact it is already there - right into the sweet spot of PR pros' areas of expertise. As Target CMO Jeff Jones told me in an interview I did with him for the issue, he is attempting to modernize what marketing means to Target. PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned content) is his mantra and he says “we have to move from campaigns to content,” with everything driven by “mobility and transparency.”
That means taking a few risks as well, as witnessed by Target's link-up with Neiman Marcus – not an obvious partner for the retailer's “cheap chic” ethos – and its recent campaign around The Everyday Collection, a glossy approach to selling everyday food and household items. Both initiatives garnered critics and plaudits, and mixed sales results for the former with the jury still out on the latter. But whatever you think of them, people were certainly talking about Target.
Jones' challenge is to harness Target's powerful peer-to-peer stakeholders and turn that buzz around the brand into sharing: “Our paid investment works very hard for us… but I need to create an organization that creates content that's worth sharing and gives me leverage against that paid investment.”
Those connections are more "authentic" and more likely to result in a higher spend per shopping basket, which is what it is largely all about of course.
You can find out more about Jones and his marketing philosophy at Target, as well as further in-depth pieces on integrated execution, leveraging content, the role of the modern CMO, and agency collaboration – as well as a handy infographic – on our website, in our digital edition, and in print.
And don't worry; we haven't forgotten about all those other elements that make PR pros special (although of course the lines are blurring in all of these areas too.) We have The Reputation Issue coming up in June, and The Digital Issue coming up in September, reflecting a new sub brand PRWeek is launching out of the West Coast. But more of that later.
For now, I hope The Marketing Issue stimulates some thought, helps our in-house readers to make their brands and corporations fly, and our agency folks to tap into those very attractive marketing budgets and better serve the needs of their clients.