PR or digital marketing?

September 14, 2008

Let me tell you a story which reflects something I’ve been mulling over recently

(This is me looking mournful, BTW)

(This is me looking mournful, BTW)

A friend of mine from university has been considering getting into PR over the last year. I was pleased; she’s bright, outgoing and self-aware enough to know what she was getting into (which you can’t always say for Oxbridge grads, where we’re largely tailored to think just of careers in banking, management consultancy, or law). Just the sort of person I want in my industry.

I gave her the benefit of my (limited) wisdom, gave her a few pointers on agencies and approach to interviews etc, and crossed my fingers for her. Recently she sent me an email. She’d accepted an offer. Great, I thought, and entirely unsurprising- if I was interviewing for grads I’d take her on.

Here’s the twist though. It’s not in PR. She’s taken a job with an established and well-known digital marketing agency. Not because she ddn’t like PR. But because she liked social media, and wanted to help clients communicate in that medium.

I’m not territorial or possessive about such things; I don’t really think it matters how you define yourselves  long as you do good work for clients in any medium. But it did make me sad that she’d seen the opportunity to achieve her goal, but it didn’t lie within a PR agency. She’s the sort who will end up at the top of her chosen profession, and she’s the sort we need working in PR. You know, the type of person who dispels the image of PRs as fluffy un-intellectual types flogging FMCG crap, and instead combines a decent academic mind with some human empathy and creativity.

It probably doesn’t matter in the long run, we could both easily find ourselves working in the same agency on the same campaigns as barriers between media disciplines become ever more fuzzy, but for the sake of PR agencies as they stand, I hope we don’t miss out on too many more of her ilk.



3 Responses to “PR or digital marketing?”

  1. Will Says:

    In general, most comms agencies don’t get digital. And it’s more than just a lack of understanding about the medium; it’s the mindset.

    The idea of sharing, of opening up a debate – these concepts are foreign to the veiled ad networks and some of the larger PR agencies.

  2. Lisa Short Says:

    I think it’s a positive shame. I recruit solely in the Healthcare / Pharma PR arena and I spend my day banging my head against a brick wall with clients, trying to get them to give people a chance in PR who have transferable skills. In Healthcare Pr especially, Pharma companies are going to have to put up with bad press for a bit longer if the industry won’t allow new people to enter it’s closed doors!!

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