Going to the Darkside: A Flack Turns Marketer


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low angle view of two fists collidingA few weeks ago, I began a new position. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be innovative and creative, to work with fantastic properties and develop social media strategies. It’s a dream come true for a flack like me.

One tiny thing. I’m not in the PR or publicity department. I’m on the marketing team.

I’ve gone over to the Darkside, guys. Red lightsaber and all.

Smarter blokes than I have hashed out the way the lines have blurred between marketing and PR, especially in the face of social media. So I won’t bother to do that here.

What I will say is that this switch had given me a whole new perspective on what PR and marketing is about. I’ve always been peripherally aware of the war over which department should be in charge of social media, PR or marketing. And in my naive devil-may-care fashion, I always thought it didn’t matter.

But now that I’m on Team Marketing (we’re getting the glittery T-shirts next week), things have changed. The scales have fallen from my eyes and I see the truth: Not only does it not matter, it SO does not matter.

I’m not saying the people arguing both sides don’t have valid points; they do. I just don’t see their stances as mutually exclusive. I can’t be the only one who gets frustrated by the title game; who cares what you call it? A PR push, a marketing campaign: a social media strategy by any other name smells just as sweet. If anything, social media is the proving ground on which previously disparate departments should begin to meld.

I don’t want to gather you all around the campfire and sing Kumbaya just yet, though, because I don’t have an answer for what this new landscape is supposed to look like. I don’t know. I don’t know. I simply do not know. But I do know what I’d like to see: communication. It’s a simplified solution, but it’s a start. Flacks, talk to your marketers. Marketers, talk to your flacks. You may be in different businesses, but you’re not on different planets. You’re both here to get products in front of the right people.

So this story ends more on an Ewok dance number than an Empire sort of thing. (For you non-geeks, that’s a good thing. Unless you hate muppets.)

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