Wednesday, March 9

Buying The Field: Marketers Staff PR And SM

Marketers Look To Social
According to The Creative Group Hiring Index for marketing and advertising professionals, 12 percent of the executives said they plan to add full-time staff in the next three months and only three percent said they plan to reduce staff. But the more interesting aspect of the survey points to integration.

For the first time, social media topped the index as the area where marketing and advertising executives were planning to increase employment. Almost 20 percent said they planned full-time staff additions within the area of social media. Combined with Web design (13 percent) and interactive media (12 percent), the direction of advertising and marketing is clearly digital.

"Many firms have increased their digital marketing budgets in response to growing consumer demand for content and in an effort to build customer relationships," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "Employers seek experienced professionals to develop engaging social media campaigns, as well as online video and advertising."

The other interesting aspect of the study suggests marketing and advertising professionals might be losing their interest in hiring out-of-shop public relations firms. Twelve percent of advertising and marketing professionals plan to hire public relations professionals. The change makes sense as more marketing shops bring online public engagement into their marketing plans.

Anticipated Hiring Focus For Second Quarter 2011

Social media 19%
Media services 16%
Account services 14%
Brand/product management 14%
Web design/production 13%
Interactive media 12%
Public relations 12%
Marketing research 11%
Print design/production 10%
Creative/art direction 10%
Copywriting 8%

Working in an integrated communication field.

The study matches some independent research we've conducted in the last three months and even the makeup of my Writing For Public Relations class at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For the first time since I started teaching in 2000, marketing professionals make up about 65 percent of the class.

"Our organization has grown weary of paying a $4,500 monthly retainer that almost always includes overages and additional charges," said one student. "While we might contract public relations on occasion, marketing will be taking over the bulk of the work."

Her observation seems to play out after looking at The Creative Group Hiring Index in the fourth quarter. Social media placed third, but public relations had topped the most likely additions for advertising and marketing. One possible explanation is that once public relations professionals were added, marketing executives reconsidered social media skill sets — seeing that much of the function better aligned with their growing digital marketing teams.

It begs the question. Did public relations miss its window to own social* once marketers discovered public relations professionals didn't have all the skills needed, or has marketing just decided to own everybody?

*Nobody owns social, not really.
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