Posts Tagged marketing

Part and Parcel of the Firm Voice

An article that appeared in The Firm Voice today states that PR may be more insulated from the recession and economic malaise than many other businesses.  It goes on to quote CMOs including long-time client Tideway‘s CMO Kelly Wenzel to back up the point and highlight areas within the PR mix that CMOs are spending their budgets on.

Kelly mentions that even though she’s had to cut the monthly retainer, she is able to supplement it with a project budget to make up for the fewer in-house resources she now has.  Our experience with Tideway has told us that this approach works well if the client and agency take a partnership approach to resourcing, results and remuneration.

Paul King, CEO of Herculese Networks points out that savvy PR agencies that take the time to get ahead of the measurement curve now will be a prime position now and post recession.

Applying science to PR measurement doesn’t work.  We all know this.  Companies and their PR partners need to get around the table regularly to assess the actual outcomes of the PR results (mainly visibility in influential media both social and traditional).  And as part of any customer advisory board a company has put together, measuring the marketing (PR in this instance) output/outcome should be discussed and verified.  This brings measurement down to planet eath.

And is social media the saving grace for PR budgets?  If you visit our site, March Communications, you will see that we do not list “social media relations” on our list of services. Instead, we incorporate social media principles and tools into our client’s campaigns, at both a strategic and tactical level. That way, social media becomes part of what we do for every client, on every campaign.  So, its not only the saving grace, it’s the ticket to PR today.  It’s just part and parcel of PR, so measuring it should involve the same process mentioned above.


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PR Is to Marketing …

This morning, while perusing LinkedIn, I came across an interesting post to the Answers section from Jennifer Lindsay.  She asked for thoughts on the analogy of “PR is to marketing as, _____ is to _____.

The LinkedIn community (and those involved in PR and technology) certainly responded with interesting ideas.  Some of the thoughts that most resounded with me are:

  • A spoke is to a wheel

Public relations is one essential component of a marketing program.  It impacts a company’s objective and helps to get the wheel turning in lead generation.

  • Peanut butter is to jelly

Both PR and marketing are two good, yet different ingredients but are more effective when combined.  The techniques complement each other to achieve many of the same goals.

How would you fill in the analogy?


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The good, the bad and the ugly

Some interesting, some ridiculous and some sublime stories online last week about the state of the media industry and the future of the PR industry…

Let’s start with the interesting one.

PR Week reported that  the media industry is in a real crisis with 2009 potentially its worst year yet.

According to ‘The State of the News Media Report” , people are flooding online but online ad models aren’t going to generate anything like the same revenues as offline (is that really still a surprise?). The report actually concluded that classified advertising at newspapers could be nonexistent within five years!  The recession of course isn’t going to help…

This is the backdrop for the “urgent need for change”, “industry dying on its feet” PR nonsense / detritus that came out of the SXSW conference too.

Now, the Pew Study revealed that while nearly four in 10 Americans go online for news, up 19% from two years ago, they are still largely visiting online news sites like the NY Times (5th) and Tribune papers (6th) – although CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo News were the top three.  Nonetheless even the most popular blogs were nowhere near the top 10 in terms of traffic numbers.

But, according to commentators at SWSW, media relations as we know it is already dead and PR agencies are a dying breed. For me, this falls into the category of ridiculous.

Why on earth would PR agencies not be relevant just because the media landscape is changing? If you consider PR agents as brokers of information, then the more diversity that exists in the channels through which we can communicate the greater our potential.  Most of the people who are fueling this fire have launched agencies that claim to shun traditional PR techniques in favor of new “cutting edge” media techniques – the likes of which a normal PR agency is just incapable of comprehending.  Like rich media content creation (taking that enormous step from the written word to the spoken one) and social media press releases (really, how can those words even be used together!?).

In reality of course, intelligent PR people will just evolve their skills in tune with the evolving media (and non-media) landscape, adopting and incorporating new tactics and strategies as they always have.

And now the sublime – and I don’t think I have ever read a more ridiculous piece, dressed up as it is as an independent issues-based contribution to Ad Week.  No wonder the media are going out of business if this is the sort of thing they are willing to put their name to.

Who Owns Social Media – a clue:  don’t look to digital agencies or PR shops

Written by a guy who just launched his own…wait for it….social media agency.

“But don’t take my word for it. Continue to vest your future in companies that build elaborate destination Web sites, construct parties that nobody shows up to and deliver ostensibly social solutions that reek of control, manipulation and fakery.”

Now there’s a bit of competition bashing that smacks of desperation to me!

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Googled yourself lately?

From Seth Godin this week: Personal Branding in the Age of Google.

It surprises me a bit to see Godin writing about such a well-trodden subject. Hasn’t it been the “age of Google” for almost a decade now? While his post is about all of the well-known ways Google search results can hurt you in the professional sphere, there’s been far less attention paid to how the relative permanence and authority ranking by Google can help your branding – as an organization or as an individual.

A quick Googling of my own name turned up about fourteen pages of results filled with (in order of appearance):

I’d say this is a pretty accurate and fair representation of who I am, what I’ve done, and where my professional and personal expertise lies. And for a person with a relatively uncommon last name, I have a fairly long Google record. This is unsurprising; I live a lot of my life on the Internet, and don’t expend too much effort trying to keep things from showing up in Google results… as Godin advises, “The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”

I am predicting, however, that the matter of maintaining one’s own Google presence will become both more urgent and more complicated in the future. Employers, prospects, and customers will start being as concerned about what isn’t discoverable about you on Google as what is. Claim to be an expert on a subject, but Google can’t find any articles you’ve written on it? Advertise that your company has top tier customer service, but it has no presence on social networking sites, and no visible responses to conversations about your product? While there may have been perfectly valid excuses for these scenarios five years ago, this is not the case today.

It’s tough (and in some cases impossible) to erase the online record of things you wish you’d never done or said. But it’s never too late to start doing the opposite – leaving a long-term trail of realistic, flattering, and credible evidence to support the values of your brand.

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Stories with legs…

Marvelous – a new category in marketing – ‘Backlash Marketing’.

I came across it because I was intrigued to receive an email from a friend linking to this video – a CBS story on Heart Attack Grill. I first heard about the place in 2006, it was launched in 2005, and so wondered what was new that was grabbing the headlines once again.

The answer…? Absolutely nothing.

Heart Attack Grill exists to court controversy – deliberately unhealthy food, from Quadruple Bypass Burgers to full fat Coke to fries cooked in pure lard wrapped up in all things socially unacceptable, cigarettes on the menu, waitresses dressed in scantily clad nurse uniforms and wheelchairs to get you back to your car after you have gorged yourself. Lovely.

The story has captured the hearts and minds of media and pundits alike, in both a good and bad way, and has delivered a massive dose of free exposure that money simply cannot buy.

In days gone by, this story would have caused a stir, hit some headlines and then gone away….largely.

But in today’s PR world, people are still talking about it, whether they are outraged, excited, relieved, angry, no matter.

It would be challenging to apply the principles of Backlash Marketing to technology PR, although not impossible!

What’s more interesting is that the power of PR, in today’s media landscape combined with the variety of ways people can now share information, means that if you can give a story some legs….it can just keep on running.

The concept of ‘media control’, the mantra of our PR-edecessors, is now officially dead and a new opportunity exists to fully engage our audiences in ways that live and breathe in the same way they do.

Unfortunately, while the story rocks, the food apparently does not – but I don’t think they really care!

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