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2018: Demolish the silos and look to an integrated future

We live in complex times. In complex times, it’s easy to retreat into our natural silos. And yet, if there is one trend that I feel sure will be realised in 2018, it’s that traditional marketing silos will continue to disappear. As communication professionals, we need to be ready for this.

In this year’s PRCA Digital Report, 45% of in-house respondents said the majority of digital and social media content is produced by the PR and communications department – but this is a figure that has dropped 65% over the last five years.

Increasingly, other departments have been managing the responsibility for social media content, with 27% of respondents pointing towards the marketing team (up from 21% in 2016; and up from 13% in 2013). This suggests a growing trend towards social media being integrated across departments as organisations move away from having standalone social media teams.

A move away from silos is good for businesses but good for comms results, too. The reality is these labels are usually restrictive. And it's certainly not how the audience views things. Time and time again, I see it’s the campaigns that work seamlessly across channels that are the ones that succeed. The PR campaign that is boosted by paid media syndication. The TV ad that has second screen activity on social. And the corporate announcement that remembers to speak to a consumer audience.

In 2018, we need to be focused on an integrated media approach – one that helps you reach the right audience at the right time, in the right channel.

The first step on this journey is proper audience understanding. You know that media list you’ve used for years? How do you know it’s actually reaching the people you need to reach (and I don’t mean the journalists, but the end audience)? Are there better ways to reach these people? More efficient ways?

It's time to re-evaluate your audience and truly understand their media consumption habits in 2018. Only then can we start to put together strategies and campaigns that will cut through in the complex environment that 2018 will certainly be.