Ten years ago, social was seen as a new way to engage consumers — separate from both PR and advertising. It was going to be the future.

What happened instead is people started to consume social in emotional ways and it became the binding fabric between traditional PR and advertising.

But false boundaries between PR and marketing still exist. Our challenge is breaking down those walls to allow agencies to prosper and deliver great work. At Racepoint Global, our model is predicated on it. 

Part of it involves us, as PR practitioners, thinking more like our advertising brethren. It means moving away from expressing ourselves solely through words and instead focusing on creative, conceptual imagery and short-form content.

It’s no secret that visual storytelling is what society gravitates toward. Mobility on-demand and celebrity culture have driven our preference for short-burst, high-impact visual content. 

Taking it a step further, it’s also about analytics and measurement. It’s imperative that today’s communications programs be anchored in a deep understanding of customer personas and psychographics — it’s no longer a marketing funnel, it’s a continuum.

The customer experience is owned by the customer and the question remains — how do we engage through social to foster a relationship that endures? Every campaign should be doing that. And we have a more refined ability to deliver by targeting the customer with the tools and technologies at our fingertips.

By tracking the social and real-world footprint of individuals, we can understand how and where they engage, spend time and make purchasing decisions. At Racepoint Global, FieldFacts is the proprietary technology we use to do this and, in turn, develop more targeted marketing campaigns and sales content.

Once we all have a better idea of people’s online behaviors, we can create campaigns that will fundamentally change the face of marketing accountability. The result is a drastic increase in closed deals and a demonstration of real ROI that illustrates our role as a truly strategic business function.

Currently social is predicated on non-customized prompts and campaigns that pull people. The next generation of social influence is customized message delivery to people where they live. It’s basically social as email. 

PR is evolving into something different, better and more exciting. The key is to embrace this change and be open-minded about integrating creative, media, earned and marketing. 

At Racepoint, we bet our business on this notion. We chose to integrate a digital ad firm and a PR firm. The result is years of growth underpinned by FieldFacts and the holistic understanding of the customer experience.

That’s the future. And that’s how to keep up with the evolution of PR and marketing.

Peter Prodromou Peter Prodromou is president of Racepoint Global.

Featured image: Flickr user Veronica Aguilar