PR pros, are you ready to report to Marketing?

A new survey says the looming power struggle with their marketing counterparts is public relations practitioners’ ‘most critical issue.’

The roles, responsibilities and identity of PR pros could be on the brink of seismic change.

The USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations’ 2017 Global Communications Report—which surveyed more than 800 PR execs worldwide—set out to define the industry and divine what lies ahead. It prompted a cacophony of predictions about the direction the industry is heading and how the work is likely to change.

The survey identifies the PR-versus-marketing battle for influence—that is, who will report to whom, and whose role might be curtailed or subjugated—as “the most critical issue facing the PR industry.”

Nearly 90 percent of respondents agree that “public relations” will no longer suitably describe their job within five years, and nearly half believe PR and marketing functions will overlap more than ever before.

Despite disagreements over what PR will consist of down the road, survey respondents seem sanguine about the continued health of the profession: Ninety-two percent of executives anticipate growth in the next five years.

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