The language barriers are coming down too. The marketing executives who focused more on unique selling points, brand messages and recall are now starting to talk about trust ("Market share is trust materialized," Jim Stengel said at the recent 4A's Media Conference) and transparency, long watchwords of the PR mavens.

That transparency means that marketing departments, so often home to hyperbole in the past, are also confronting the fact that an over-claim in promotional material can be exposed as a lie in the time it takes some blogger to write that his whites don't wash whiter and his phone service actually drops calls every other conversation. Ad execs are also learning the importance of listening to influential consumers before crafting messages and are trying to facilitate word-of-mouth programs -- two tactics some PR practitioners see as inherent to their discipline.

Conversely, many companies' PR executives, who once massaged other people's messages and left most content creation to the marketing department, are now building and populating websites, social networks, message boards, blogs, vlogs and podcasts. They're no longer just intermediaries; today they're becoming media and message originators, too.

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