Where Does Public Relations Fit in the Marketing Technology Stack?

Martech expert Scott Brinker shared a fascinating analysis of technology stacks of 41 different companies. Where does public relations fit into the marketing technology landscape? Everywhere and nowhere, because public relations is not a technology.

A marketing technology stack is a term derived from IT, information technology. A stack describes a series of technologies layered on top of each other, each layer providing functionality to the next. The most commonly known technology stack is LAMP, the Linux / Apache Web Server / MySQL Database / PHP Scripting language stack.

Marketing Technologists have borrowed the stack concept to explain how different marketing technology tools interact with each other. With so many tools and technologies in the marketplace, it’s difficult to get a sense for how they relate without the categorization of a stack. Take a look at the 41 different stacks presented at MarTech:

Most of the marketing technology stacks follow the same general format:

  • Tools to build awareness
  • Tools to build engagement/education
  • Tools to build consideration
  • Tools to build conversion
  • Tools to build loyalty

So, where does public relations fit in? Public relations isn’t a technology. It’s not a piece of software that can be turned on or off. Consider what public relations generates as outputs: awareness and trust. Effective public relations creates awareness of our brand. Effective public relations creates trust via third party validation of our brand.

Where do we see the impact of public relations?

  • Organic search results improve as PR generates branded search intent.
  • Social media results improve as PR generates engagement with our brand.
  • Earned media results improve as PR generates coverage of our brand.
  • Owned media properties grow as PR creates inbound web traffic.
  • Paid media performance improves as awareness of our brand increases ad engagement.

Let’s take a look at an example marketing technology stack and where we expect to see the impact of effective public relations. Here’s the stack from PTC, a design software company:

Marketing technology stack - raw

Where should we see the impact of effective public relations?

Marketing technology stack - public relations impact

As we see above, in the green highlights, public relations isn’t a technology. Public relations is a technology catalyst, enhancing and accelerating the performance of different marketing technologies.

In an increasingly digital world, not only does public relations still have a role, but we see its impact throughout the marketing technology stacks of dozens of companies. Until humans are removed from decision-making and purchasing, our ability to build awareness and trust will remain a vital part of marketing.

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