What is Integrated Marketing?

As if there weren’t already enough ambiguity in our line of work (seriously, how many times have friends or family members asked you, “so, what do you do, exactly?”), PR has evolved so much over recent years that PR professionals themselves are hotly debating what exactly defines this profession nowadays.

While our job function at its core is still relating to the public, the term “public relations” just doesn’t quite encapsulate everything we do anymore. Recently, the term Integrated Marketing has emerged and has become increasingly popular in defining what is essentially today’s “PR 2.0.”

The rise of social media can be largely credited with changing our industry, as it has put more brands directly in communication with their end users. And while traditional media is still a critical channel of communication, success in PR as we know it today also requires fluency in social media. One must be comfortable with Facebook and Twitter, all while keeping an eye out for the next big thing to come along. A year ago, no one had heard of Pinterest. Today it rivals Twitter in terms of traffic referrals, and is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful channels in social media marketing.

In addition to social media, integrated marketing encompasses a wide array of other communications roles. Today’s practitioner must have experience – or at least familiarity – with functions such as:

These all affect a brand’s public persona, so it makes sense that they would morph with traditional PR into today’s integrated marketing function.

While integrated marketing isn’t a perfect descriptor (people will still inevitably ask, “so what do you do, again?”), it does seem to be a better fit than the oversimplified, “public relations.” What are your thoughts? Is integrated marketing is the new PR?

Amanda Hoffman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @hoffmandy.