When businesses put together important marketing initiatives, it’s surprising how many times publicity and public relations are treated as an afterthought.
In an overwhelming number of instances, organizations invest enormous energy and time into involving their advertising agencies at the beginning of a communications program aimed at increasing sales. When the idea has been formulated and approved, all too often someone says, “Why don’t we involve PR, too?”
This results in a structured program being handed off to the PR firm with the demand, “Get results.”
Whether or not the marketing message is actually attractive, from a publicity and PR perspective, is a different story—but it is a consideration that needs to be baked into marketing planning from day one.
The best marketing initiatives get PR involved in ground-floor planning
As the old saying goes “Advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you pray for.”
Advertising most often occupies the center ring when it comes to marketing planning.
First, advertising costs a lot of money. For that reason alone, marketing chiefs focus their attention on what is consuming the majority of their marketing budget.
Second, the company can totally control the advertising message. Where it goes, what is says, and when it is issued all are under their direct control.
For those two reasons, marketing chiefs usually start planning by huddling with their advertising agencies—winding up with expensive media plans, accompanied by equally expensive production costs necessary to make a message come to life.
In the rush to center their marketing efforts around advertising, however, businesses often totally fail to capitalize on the PR potential of what their message can—and should—deliver.
That’s an opportunity missed.
It’s also an expensive whiff that can be avoided by putting a member of the PR team in the room at the start of the planning cycle.
Two ways involving PR at the start of planning can benefit you
- PR can augment and reinforce advertising messages
- PR can connect with audiences in ways advertising cannot
PR’s ability to reinforce and amplify marketing messages is surprisingly effective. Publicity—be it word-of-mouth, customer testimonials or editorial media coverage—is regarded by consumers as more trustworthy.
According to a 2014 Nielsen study, PR is 90% more effective than advertising in influencing consumers. In short, getting a favorable mention of your product or service, which is earned and not paid, holds much more weight than an ad.
By involving your PR team at the start of your planning process, they can better understand what your advertising message is intended to do and what it cannot do—and they can fill that gap.
Second, by involving your PR folks in planning, they can more clearly visualize how they can present your story to editorial media and expand your message into stories that have a connection and credibility advertising simply cannot deliver.
Remember, PR provides you a different marketing weapon
One of the 21st century buzzwords that has become popular is “influencer marketing,” which is simply a more contemporary way of saying “believability.”
It’s another way of saying that PR provides your product or service with believability. It’s not a new idea, but simply a new way of asking yourself:
- Who are you more likely to believe, a salesman or a person just like you who bought or used a product or service?
- Which is more believable, an advertisement on TV, in a newspaper or magazine or on the internet, or something that appears in a story that involves a product or service?
Editorial coverage has two great advantages over advertising. Editorial coverage provides third-party validation that advertising lacks. Simply by being recognized in editorial media, coverage implies “this is important.”
PR’s ability to augment one’s believability does not discount paid advertising—it is a totally necessary component of marketing.
The difference between the two serves as a reminder for the need to include PR as an integral part of one’s marketing plan—at the very beginning of the planning process.
When you begin to look ahead to the rest of 2020 or even 2021 and shape your future marketing planning, keep Wellons Communications in mind. We’d love the opportunity to sit down with you, learn more about your vision for your product or service and explore how we can help you improve your overall marketing effectiveness.
Call me at 407-339-0879 or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and find out for yourself how we can help you augment your marketing effectiveness.