PR Trends for 2017

By Mike Jamieson - President, Stryker-Munley Group New York

If your clients or customers are humans – keep reading.

I set out to write about what I see as the important trends in Public Relations for the coming year. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but did a little research as well. It turns out just about everyone in the industry is talking about the same new trends. Content marketing, predictive monitoring, visual communications, big data, quantification and tools like Meltwater, Trendkite, Hubspot and Brand24.

I want to present a different picture.

On one hand a bigger picture and on the other, a smaller one. The big picture looks like this. The lines between marketing, advertising public relations and even sales have been blurred and in many cases eliminated. This is primarily the result of the technology, trends and tools listed above among others. The need for integrated solutions has grown. Agencies must be experts in the vertical markets they serve and at the same time have an in-depth understanding of all available marketing and communications tools. The marketing and creative teams cannot be separate and the tools we use to use to reach our audiences must be integrated.

The smaller picture is an old and faded one.

It is a picture of human interaction. This is how business has always been done. While I understand the necessary distinction between B to B and B to C marketing, we should remember that in most cases a single person or small group of people are making the buying decision.  For example, my public relations agency would be classified as B to B, but in every case, over 30 years and hundreds of clients, the “sale” was closed as a result of direct human interaction.

We tend to look mostly at the big picture and we put people, customers, into convenient groups and we organize our marketing efforts by looking at trends. But sales and communications are still made by a person -  or to a person, or both.  This blog is a good example. It is available to the more than three billion internet users worldwide but in reality it’s me  - and you!

So what’s the point? My point is that you should read the other articles about technology and trends but keep in mind that there is a very individual human face on your customer. I think you will find it easier to reach them with that in mind.

My top trends for 2017

  • Niche markets will continue to become increasingly important and increasingly accessible
  • Public relations professionals will join the C-suite along with marketing, advertising and sales.
  • Technology will continue to offer better outreach and better tracking
  • Marketing agencies will concentrate on ever more specific products, services and markets
  • In the face of the latest technologies, agencies who best understand the human element in marketing will prosper along with their clients