The Convergence of Marketing and PR: What it means for the industry and 4 tips to enter the field

By Lea Knobloch

Since the birth of the internet in the 1980s, there is no denying the monumental advancements of communication technologies. Restraints like time and distance no longer apply, and the world feels smaller and more interconnected than ever before. These advancements have changed the way we interact with one another, and they will continue to do so. At its core, this is an example of convergence.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, convergence refers to the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole. This form of innovation has opened the door to the holistic, integrated communication we enjoy today.

Similarly, in PR and marketing, convergence refers to the increasing integration of the two fields. Broadly, marketing consisted of the multi-channel promotion of a product, while PR centered around a brand’s communication with its target audiences. Thus, although they were divergent channels in the past, due to convergence, lines between the two fields are growing thinner and thinner. In fact, today’s top PR agencies describe themselves as “full-service” and “integrated,” meaning they provide expertise beyond what was traditionally expected of PR.

As this changing professional landscape impacts young professionals trying to break into the PR field, here are 4 tips to help you stand out:


  1. Think holistically

With the increasing overlap of PR and Marketing goals, it is vital to think holistically. Expanding your thought process ensures alignment of your objectives with the ones of the overall marketing communications mix of your client. By being familiar with the challenges of practitioners of the other components in the marketing mix, you will be able to collaborate closely with them to find and fill gaps in strategy on both sides. Even if you are not working for an agency or in-house yet, being aware of the challenges both sides face and reading news related to both fields will make you a stronger candidate in the converging professional landscape.


  1. Be well-rounded: don’t squash interest you think don’t relate to PR

Due to technological convergence, the hiring process has changed. According to Marty Baron, the former editor of The Washington Post, employers used to hire candidates for their potential and then train them. Now, communication skills are considered a given and employers hire for additional insights into other areas or skills. So, the weird quirky habit you have, or the hobby you can’t stay away from even if school gets busy? Own them! They will distinguish you among a crowd of communicators and add value to your personal brand.


  1. Networking is key

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Utilizing your network, whether through school, family, or friends, is a great way to get your foot in the door. However, make sure connections are of substance. Don’t randomly add everyone you can find on LinkedIn to reach 500+ connections. Instead try to establish more nuanced relationships by connecting with people at companies or in roles you are interested in and ask them for informational interviews. People are generally open to help students, especially if this person is an alum of your school or connected to you in other ways.


  1. Be adaptable and eager to learn

Lastly, being adaptable and eager to learn are incredibly important attributes in a converging professional landscape. According to Tony Weisman, Dunkin’s former North America CMO, resistance to change and doing things a certain way only because that’s how they were done in the past no longer leads to success. However, drive and a strong desire for growth do. With role definitions blurring between marketing and PR, being able to pivot because you have a joy for learning and a curiosity about the field you are in will make you a top candidate during the hiring process, and likely a happy employee or intern in the future.