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Guest blogger Emily Beck graduated from the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication in May 2014 with a focus in public relations and a minor in business administration. Her internship and professional experience in media buying and planning, advertising, customer service, sales, marketing and public relations landed her positions with industry-leading companies such as Marucci Sports and SMG, where she is now employed as the Marketing & Booking Coordinator of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, an SMG Managed Facility.

Emily Beck, graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication

Emily Beck, 2014 graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication

Although they can be portrayed quite differently in certain scenarios, marketing and public relations tend to go hand-in-hand for some professionals, especially when taking on a new client. As a mass communication graduate with a focus in public relations, it was difficult to envision myself in a marketing position, for I had never truly practiced anything but public relations. I quickly realized just how much of my PR degree I would be able to use when transitioning into my new marketing role.

Both public relations and marketing rely on establishing relationships to boost an organization or company’s reputation and brand awareness. Public relations is used to influence and educate the public. Marketing has the same concept but takes a step further by encouraging the audience or public to act upon the information they’ve learned or gathered.

I recently took on the job as the Marketing & Booking Coordinator for the Jefferson Performing Arts Center (JPAC) in Metairie, La. The theater, which took upwards of 15 years to complete, has been in the local headlines, mainly with a negative connotation due to the increased funds needed to complete the building’s construction. In June 2015, JPAC was open for business.

The first goal after opening was to remind the Jefferson Parish citizens how important the addition of the theater was to the local Arts community. We organized a three-day grand opening, which included a media day, public tours, a ribbon-cutting with Parish officials and a gala to wrap it up. Through these events, we were able to take the citizens’ negative perceptions from the past and shift them to a more positive outlook for the future.

When working with a new client, research is always your first step. I came into my position with little information on the history of the building and its followers’ opinions, so I spent a great deal of time organizing information I had gathered from articles and personal interactions before initiating my marketing efforts. In my case, a SWOT analysis was the perfect tool (believe it- I still use it even after college).

After influencing the public through PR, the marketing aspect became vitally important to continue the growth, primarily through increased customer interactions and contacts. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful in the theater industry, so the use of social media, press releases, email marketing and grassroots efforts allows us to not only engage the existing public but also to encourage them to share information with others.

To my surprise, I found that my experience and understanding of PR was far more relevant to my marketing role than I originally expected. I am now three months into my new position, and I feel confident that with my PR background, I am more than capable to succeed in marketing and booking new clients in Jefferson Parish’s newest theater.