In the rapidly evolving landscape of business-to-business marketing, a new survey by Muck Rack, a renowned Public Relations Management (PRM) platform, reveals key insights into the priorities, concerns, metrics, and budget outlooks for 2024 within the marketing and communications sectors. The survey’s findings shed light on the overlapping roles and shared objectives of leaders in these fields, while also highlighting distinct challenges and areas of focus.

According to Muck Rack’s inaugural “State of Marketing and PR Leadership” report, which surveyed 193 marketing and communications professionals holding director-level positions or higher, approximately 70% of these leaders report that their roles encompass both marketing and communications. This blending of functions is reflective of the changing dynamics within organizations, where the boundaries between marketing and public relations are increasingly fluid.

Additionally, the survey found that 44% of these leaders directly report to the CEO, underscoring the strategic importance of their roles in shaping corporate narratives and business outcomes. Despite the overlap in responsibilities, there are nuanced differences in the primary concerns of these leaders. While communications and marketing communications (marcom) leaders focus on building and maintaining media relationships, their counterparts in marketing emphasize the importance of reporting and analyzing impact.

The Rising Importance of Internal Communications

The survey also highlights the growing significance of internal communications within organizations. In recent years, this function has gained prominence, with human resources or other non-marketing departments (38%) and communications leaders (37%) most likely to oversee it. This trend points to a broader recognition of the importance of effective internal communication in organizational success and employee engagement.

Gregory Galant, cofounder and CEO of Muck Rack, commented on the findings: “This data shows that communications and marketing leaders don’t have clearly defined roles in many organizations. While there will always be overlap, especially when it comes to brand management, fostering media relationships, storytelling and spotting risks are skills that require the expertise of a seasoned communications professional. Businesses looking to grow market share should consider investing in building successful communications and marketing teams that partner closely on brand initiatives, but operate separately under two distinct leaders.”

Budget Outlook and Collaboration Strategies

Looking ahead to 2024, the survey reveals a divergent outlook on budget expectations. Marketing (42%) and marcom (49%) leaders are more optimistic about potential increases in their budgets. In contrast, most communications leaders anticipate their budgets to remain stable.

Collaboration between marketing and communications teams remains a vital component of organizational success, despite their independent operations. Regular cross-functional meetings, often occurring weekly, demonstrate the ongoing need for a cohesive partnership between these two teams.

Key Metrics for Success

The survey also sheds light on the different metrics used by marketing and communications leaders to measure success. Marketing leaders prioritize lead generation, followed by sales, web traffic, and conversion rates. On the other hand, communications leaders focus on the number of stories placed, key message pull-through, and reach/impressions. Marcom leaders share similar metrics, valuing lead generation, web traffic, social media engagement, the number of stories placed, reach, and website impact.

These insights from Muck Rack’s survey provide valuable perspectives for leaders in the B2B marketing and communications sectors, highlighting the evolving nature of these roles and the strategic considerations for 2024 and beyond.

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