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Study: PR Has More Control Than Marketing Over Social Media

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It’s been an entire year since Aarti Shah penned the PRWeek feature story that looked into “where PR stands in the turf war over digital,” and yet the debate over who “owns” social media within the marketing disciplines is still a hot one.

The latest update from the USC Annenberg’s Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) reveals that PR is winning the battle. From the study:

When asked to define, in percentile terms, how much budgetary control PR/Communications exerted over digital/social media in their organizations, 25.4 percent of corporate participants said that PR/Communication has 81 to 100 percent of budgetary control. Only half as many – 12.6 percent – said that Marketing had that
much control.

In addition, 25.1 percent of respondents said marketing has no budgetary control over social media, while just 10.7 percent said that of PR/Communication. It should be noted, however, that the USC study surveyed 382 “communication decision makers” who not surprisingly more likely reside in the communications department of a corporation.

This sample shouldn’t skew the results too much, said Jerry Swerling, director of USC’s Strategic Communication and PR Center.

“While we need to bear in mind that these are the self-reported opinions of PR/Communication professionals, the disparities can’t all be chalked up to professional bravura,” he said. Let the debate continue.

RELATED: USC’s PR Industry Study: Recession Was Not Crushing, Expect Modest Increase for 2010

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