I don’t know if you’ve had the same experience, but from the smallest to billion dollar companies, very often no one outside marketing understands what marketing is and what we do. And, PR? Usually it’s confused with advertising. If our job is communication, how come we can’t communicate better what marketing is and what we need to do our job properly?
We spend so much time bemoaning this, yet what do we actually do to change this? Shouldn’t we be promoting marketing itself more? Why can’t we PR ourselves? Or, do we do the same that many companies do – keep marketing firmly to one side making sure it doesn’t interfere too much in the operation of the company, rather than putting it at the core of the company. After all, marketing is the public face of the company. It should be part of every point where the company interacts with the customer, or suppliers, or indeed employees and it should be a key part of product development.
I would be interested to hear about your experiences and how you tackled it.
I’m always looking to streamline my activities, make them as efficient as possible and ensure I’m not doubling up or doing something just for the sake of it. I love social media, but it’s definitely one of those tools that you can get caught up in and spend loads of time doing something for minimum results. It is also something that can have very powerful results.
A while back we were talking about globalisation of economies and enterprises and the disappearing of borders. With social media, you can now really be a global company or person with minimum effort and outlay. You can reach people you would never have thought possible a few years ago. Those who abhorred the Internet for spoiling human interaction I hope can see now the evolution that has taken place and today is a far more social world thatn we ever dreamed of.
Social media is therefore good, but you do have to wade through a lot of different websites and applications to find the best tools to help you make all your social media channels efficient and to choose which ones to use. I believe that the issue we will have is that what is best one day, will not be the best the next day and like computers and mobile phones the product life-cycle of these social media will get shorter and shorter. We will then have to decide, whether to go with the latest thing and unfortunately by its very definition social media will always be about the latest and best.
I look forward to seeing all these new developments – it certainly keeps us on our toes and challenges our imagination.
When you’re buying media, it is not just about negotiating the price. First you need to select the appropriate media for your needs. A bargain isn’t a bargain unless it brings in results.
So, what steps should you follow?
Firstly, you need to decide what you want to achieve:
- What is your marketing strategy?
- What are your objectives?
- Who is your target audience?
- What will prompt them to contact you/buy
Then you need to research the available media. Try not to make assumptions or to be constrained by what you have done in the past. Look for new alternatives, or different ways of using the same media. While you are doing the research, you need to evaluate the possible media outlets and make comparisons, looking at:
- Target audience
- Audience profile
- Other advertisers
- Past experience
- Other stats
When you are looking at the alternatives, then you should consider what types of advertising are available:
- Printed media
Once you have decided on the type of media, you will need to consider what options there are:
- Printed media
- Type of programme
- Length of ad
Now, you are finally ready to call the media outlet to negotiate the price, which will be covered in a later article. Then you need to design the advert (remember less is more) and finally, as with anything, monitor & evaluate.
It’s one of the most important things in marketing and it is so often overlooked or forgotten in the rush to get across our messages. Who is our audience and the audience of the media/event we are targeting? What is important to them? What will trigger their interest or trigger them to buy? When we are putting together our marketing plan, this is essential. We have to know for every geography, every type of product, everything. We don’t then forget about it. We have to repeat it for everything that we do. A general advert may be used across a variety of media as long as they have the same target audience. We should never be afraid to modify it when we have a different audience. Also, when we are writing an article or press release we have to write it for the particular audience it is aimed at. Even if it is an existing article, we can make a few changes to ensure it resonates with the readers. In the case of marketing, one package does not necessarily suit all.
It is just as true when selecting media to advertise in, give an exclusive to, or an exhibition to attend. Make sure the audience really is relevant and when you design a stand, or organise your promotional activities around the show design it with them in mind.
Once you know your audience, success becomes so much easier.
Writing a press release is not difficult once you get into the right mindset and develop the right style of writing for it. Essentially, it is about communicating a message to a specific set of people (target audience) to create interest in your message and ideally trigger a response (a sales enquiry).
So, what steps should you follow?
- Who is your audience? In terms of the journalist, the media outlet and their end audience. What is this audience interested in?
- Decide on your one key message. Keep it simple and try not to make it ambiguous
- Use the “so what” principle. Is it really newsworthy? Does it merit a press release?
- Make the headline eye catching, but the press release must justify claims. If you say it’s faster, say how much faster
- First paragraph should say everything. Subsequent paragraphs reduce in importance, least important at the end
- Be succinct. You are not writing a literary masterpiece and you could lose your message in it. It should be at least one page with 1.5 line spacing, but very rarely over 2 pages
- Talk about benefits, not features. What does it mean to the target audience, what will it do for them?
- Include a quote from a key executive
- Don’t capitalise everything, it is annoying and facets that should stand out will be lost in the noise
- Avoid negative words wherever possible
- Avoid too much jargon unless your audience is equally technical
- Avoid overused words such as unique
- Be ruthless. Don’t use words that sound good, but that don’t mean anything or are used in the wrong way i.e. consultant speak. Know the meanings of the words you use and know what point you are making
- Review it. Take into account all the points above and decide whether it meets all these criteria
Today, when I was giving a colleague an introduction to PR, it made me take a fresh look at what we always considered to be the basics of PR and they still hold true. Journalists still want good, reliable information in a timely manner. And what’s the first thing you say when you speak to them, whatever medium it is through? Have you got a minute or are you on deadline? And if they contact you, what’s one of the most important things, as well as knowing what they need? What’s your deadline? It’s amazing how many people either aren’t aware of it, or forget it. Even those who know a lot about marketing generally. As I said before, PR isn’t rocket science – it’s mainly common sense.
At SquareMango, we like to take a look at something, turn it inside out and think outside the box. We look for the right solution, which sometimes can be very simple, but effective. Our expertise spans many years, many different disciplines, industries and countries.
Here you will find information, tips, articles, views, news, photos for your interest and to help you. Marketing yourself or your company can be as easy or as hard as you make it. Your PR agency, marketing agency, online PR agency, or freelancer can ease you through it. It’s not rocket science. Whatever industry you are in, the basics are the same, the tools are the same. Just the execution, based on knowledge, experience, imagination and understanding of how the market works, that changes.