5 Things PR Talent Sees for 2019*

Thing 1: Talent War will Leave Some Marketers Behind

For agencies, the trend toward integrated communications is now the head-long rush (ok, absolute scramble) to find the right talent to fulfill immediate client demands. PR firms are looking for integrated marketing/advertising talent while advertising firms are looking for more earned media and influencer specialists. Meanwhile, corporations are working hard to properly align the talent in their marketing and communication departments and in many instances combining those departments. This process will lead to lots of hiring and lots of firing — with smart, aggressive talent management strategies needed. See Thing 2 and Thing 3.

Thing 2: Meet the new Boss… not the same as the old boss… the CMCO!!

The move to an integrated comms model is inspiring some innovative organizations to establish a Chief Marketing & Communications Officer role (CMCO). The CMCO reports into the CEO and has overall responsibility for Marketing, Communications, Social and Digital. This structure recognizes the critical role being played by the communications function, which still reports into the CMO in many organizations, and installs a single individual responsible for ensuring that all marcom functions are appropriately utilized, staffed, and supported. Let’s face it, CMO’s and CCO’s don’t want to report to each other anyway, so establishing a CMCO with a VP of Marketing and a VP of Communications as direct reports makes perfect sense on a lot of levels. See Thing 1.   

Thing 3: Colleges need to Get “Real World”

Corporations are demanding talent that reflects the revolutionary changes in the marcom world. (See Thing 1.) In most colleges, the Marketing and Communications Departments are still separate. That will hopefully change as progressive colleges recognize the need to combine the departments and wake up to real world demands. (Wakey wakey colleges.)

These new “Marketing Communications Departments” must start offering an integrated communications smorgasbord of SEO/SEM, Big Data, CSR, Paid/Unpaid Social Media, advertising, PR and integrated communications classes. All the above please.

A smattering of schools offer these classes now, but I’ve yet to encounter a school where a visionary department head has teed up coursework that accurately reflects the marcom skillsets demanded today and into the future.    

Thing 4: Diversity of Ethnicity and Experience

Marketing and PR departments for agencies and corporations are still not ethnically diverse enough. They’re trying but still have a long way to go. Lack of diversity also extends to age. Organizations — especially agencies — regularly cut back on older staff because they are seen as out of touch with fast-moving digital innovations and marcom industry changes.   

However, if “experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer,” (Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture) — and it is — then why would we be regularly paring back on the most experienced individuals in our organizations who also, by the way, best understand their own highly valuable demographic? There is a vast pool of talented, seasoned (a bad word in some circles) executives who can add incredible value and creativity to marketing communications campaigns. Let’s leverage that experience in 2019!

Thing 5: Changing the World

More than any other generation, Millennials and Gen Z talent want to make a difference in the world. They seek work in value-driven organizations and are passionate about positively impacting the environment and our society at large. That doesn’t mean they won’t help sell tacos, laundry detergent or the latest Camry, but those employers also need to use their resources (foundations, volunteerism) to help make the world a better place or they may find their recruiting efforts coming up short. See Thing 1.

*With apologies to Dr. Seuss and MSNBC’s @ChrislHayes