I love reading blogs this time of year because so many writers take a few minutes to reflect on the successes and lessons of the last year and predict what’s to come in the next. My favorite blogs are the ones that look back at last year’s predictions to see whether the author nailed it or missed the mark. So, today I am going to share our predictions for 2015, we’ll revisit them next year and see how we did. We also thought it would be fun to look farther into the future and offer our best insights into what will be trending in 2030. If nothing else, those predictions will be food for thought.
The Relationship between Marketing and PR
2015: The relationship between marketing and PR will be more collaborative and coordinated
The line between PR and marketing is becoming more and more blurred. Although marketing is focused on influencing people who are in the market for a brand’s products and services, while PR is focused on influencing the general public, the media, analysts and other influencers, both use many of the same tools. Content and social medial, in particular are leveraged by both disciplines. We predict that these areas of focus will become increasingly intertwined during the next year, requiring unprecedented cooperation and collaboration.
2030: PR and marketing will become virtually indistinguishable
People’s trust of information coming directly from brands is rapidly diminishing. Instead, modern buyers prefer to receive recommendations from peers, analysts, journalists, and other trusted third parties. While marketing will still be essential in establishing the facts of what a product or service is, and creating compelling offers and promotions, without the support of PR these messages will not be received. This means that every marketing activity will involve elements of PR and PR pros will need to become adept at weaving marketing messages into the brand’s story. Advertisements, in the way we think of them today, will become disappear over time and give way to tactics that have historically belonged in the public relations sphere.
Public Relations Technology
2015: Adoption of PR technology that reports results and defines the landscape will continue to accelerate
If it hasn’t become so already, effective public relations management will be impossible without technology designed to monitor the media, alert PR professionals of relevant, important news, and create interactive reports that communicate PR effort and success. The media landscape has simply become too fragmented and large for manual, or basic computer-aided monitoring (e.g. Google Alerts). There is so much content being generated that without the help of sophisticated big-data analysis, brands and agencies are unable to understand exactly when, how, and from whom to get the mentions that will propel engagement.
2030: PR technology tells us what has happened and what will happen
Predicative analytics technologies are emerging to help people in many industries respond to what will be, rather than react to what is. Retailers, health care organizations, traffic planners and investors are all starting to enjoy the benefits of predictive analytics. We predict the same will happen in the PR world, with software that can spot trending topics, emerging influencers, and brand impacting events well in advance.
2015: Content distribution becomes as important as content quantity
PR and marketing pros alike have been shouting, “Content is king,” for so long, our throats are sore. We’ve already started to see a shift from pumping out tons of content, to a greater focus on quality. We think the content evolution will continue in 2015 with keen concentration on distribution. “If you build it, they will come,” has been a failed content strategy. In 2015, marketers and PR teams will work more closely together to put quality content in the hands of the target audience.
2030: Micro distribution means personalized content
Distribution channels will only continue to become more specialized, meaning there will be lots more of them. Each piece of content will be of interest to a small and smaller audience. This means that PR pros, marketers, and authors alike will need to take one thought, content form, or story, and personalize it for several niche audiences. Don’t panic. We predict that PR software will evolve to support this need and automate content customization for specialty audiences.
2015: Brands and agencies must prove ROI
The days when executives accepted that it was impossible to calculate the impact of PR spend because it resulted in, brand recognition, positive sentiment, aura, and the like are over. It was fun while it lasted. Like everything else, PR is now being held up to strict metrics and data-driven analysis. In 2015, insistence on PR being tied to objective results, such as increased web traffic, improved SEO, more leads, and quicker sales cycles will become the norm with brands and agencies adopting technology to support proving ROI.
2030: Technology can predict ROI
By 2030, organizations will be able to run “what if" scenarios to determine exactly which PR activities will result in a positive return on investment. Do you want to get a story in the business section of the New York Times? Your 2030 software will be able to tell you exactly what the revenue impact of that achievement would be. Maybe technology influencer, Guy Kawasaki (or whoever has an audience like his in the future), shares your blog post. What does it mean for engagement and traffic? In 2030, you’ll know before it happens.
Business expert, Peter Drucker, once said, “The only way to predict the future it so create it.” Butthead, of Beavis and Butthead, once said, “I’m pretty cool, Beavis, but I can’t change the future.” We’re going to go with Mr. Drucker on this one. Working together brands, agencies and technology providers can create a future for PR that adapts to the changing way people consume and interact with information. How exciting is that?