The growing collaboration between marketing and public relations (PR) shouldn’t be considered a radical concept. It is the natural evolution of two traditionally siloed disciplines. Gone are the days where the marketplace could afford the luxury of PR and marketing working separately on niche areas with a single point of contact. Today’s integrated approach to PR and marketing demands the strategic inclusion of the digital marketing firm, the search engine optimization (SEO) expert and other creative talent. In a word: synergy.
PR focuses on media relations or publicity by getting the name, identity and brand of a company press coverage in print, television, radio or online. Marketing concentrates on attracting leads to convert into prospects. Think of the synergy between PR and marketing like a pair of scissors. The hand-operated shearing tool consists of a pair of metal blades working together by lever action. As one squeezes their fingers together, blades cross one another for precision cutting.
Traditionally, the proverbial blades of PR and marketing have each been effective at cultivating reputation and revenue, respectively. However, by joining the two blades into a single tool – working in concert and set to purpose – PR and marketing operate as a precision instrument.
PR’s Place in the Buyer’s Journey
The essential function of PR has always been to swiftly disseminate information and to generate awareness among broad audiences. The goal of this is to build awareness and credibility for companies, products and services. The vital role of marketing – in all its various forms and subsets – is to support sales by building contacts and establishing relationships with prospects.
With inbound marketing, the goal of attracting new prospects to your company is traditionally recognized as the “know, like and trust” principle. When consumers initiate their buyer process, they start with research on trustworthy and reliable companies, and quite often they go to Google to find the industry leaders.
PR facilitated press coverage can capture a prospective customer’s attention and elevate the client to the list of the prospect’s buying cycle. Seeing a company’s name published by a trusted news source confers invaluable third-party media validation and leaves the public impression that the brand is credible and trustworthy. In other words: “Know, like and trust.”
Studies have shown that that as much as 70 percent of the buying cycle is complete before a prospect ever contacts a vendor. Companies need to find a way to be an integral and trustworthy part of that conversation in that first 70 percent. There’s more to the buyer’s journey than this marketing fundamental but without it, prospective buyers never even hear your message.
What’s the ROI of PR Generated Credibility?
As both PR and marketing has each expanded the scope and range of their respective communication methods – borrowing and adapting from one another – the melded functions and blurred lines of demarcation have led some business leaders to believe that there’s no longer any real difference between the two. They are wrong. Combining inbound marketing with traditional PR tactics can boost brand awareness, drive high-value website traffic and capture qualified sales leads to propel you ahead of the competition.
However, marketing is generally better understood and held in higher favor over PR in the minds of some executives and decision makers. Why? Modern methods make calculating return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns much easier compared to PR. Unlike marketing where you can measure impressions, cost per click and how many prospects request a demo, PR is more challenging for business leaders to quantify.
There are two reasons for this. First, the impact of public relations is not always immediate. The favorable impression created in a prospect’s mind by a PR campaign may not payoff as a sale until weeks or months later. Second, conventional metrics can measure website traffic, positive social media mentions and search engine rankings, but it’s more difficult to assign value to PR generated awareness and buyer attitude toward your company in a way that factors into standard ROI formulas.
Only the most insightful companies realize that they need PR exposure as *part* of marketing and not as a separate thing to achieve the most value for their investment. Just because PR metrics are more difficult to measure, doesn’t mean PR lacks impact. The synergy between PR and marketing can help you create positive awareness of your brand that will reward your marketing and campaign efforts far beyond calculated ROI. PR should be an integral part of your marketing budget no matter what.
Synergy in Action
The sharpest, most forward thinking, PR and marketing practitioners have already taken a firm grip on the aforementioned scissors and cut across the silos to embrace synergy. Why? Because clients demand and deserve an array of services by a network of different expert players, collaborating to achieve maximum results.
At DPR Group, we first applied this model with a major technology client. Following an extended period of performing traditional PR for our client, we innovated and adapted our content by bringing SEO into the fold. Now, when we write a press release, it is analyzed and reviewed by an SEO specialist who implements necessary changes to improve page rank within search engines.
An integrated PR/marketing agency brings to bear a symphony of marketing strategies and public relations tactics in a wide assortment of potential applications to achieve optimum results for your company. You need a PR/Marketing firm that can perform these functions on your behalf. Your ideal agency is a firm with a provable track record of accomplishment and dedicated experience in a specialized corner of the market space, such as high-tech and B2B companies.
For two decades, DPR Group has remained nimble and highly adaptive in an ever-shifting marketplace. We refine our craft by keeping up with the latest trends. Our philosophy is simple and boils down to one concept: focused, strategic plans that combine of a mix of public relations and marketing tactics that help our clients reach their business goals.
Do you want to know how it works? Do you know the key points a company should consider when selecting a PR/marketing agency for your business? We can help.
Charles Wisniowski, marketing writer, DPR Group