Marketing Strategy – Creating Value Through Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is one of many keys to successful business management. In addition to conveying value to the public to include the media, PR entails managing internal and external messages, which may enhance or diminish a brand. The following outlines how the public relations piece fits into the big (marketing strategy) picture.

Big Picture Small Pieces

There is a comprehensive approach to owning and operating a business. Finance, accounting, management, marketing, legal, information systems (technology), and economics are tools which all contribute to the success of a venture. By far however, marketing is the most popular business function.

Marketing Defined

The marketplace is comprised of buyers and sellers who want or need a product. In order to bring exact or prospective buyers together with the appropriate sellers, companies must create a healthy marketing mix.

Marketing entails efforts used to create value in the marketplace and obtain a return for that value. The core of marketing centers on four Ps: product (good or service), price, placement, and promotions. However, consumers and business owners alike are most familiar with three of five aspects of promotions (or marketing communications): advertising, public relations, and sales.

All told, marketing campaigns should center on properly priced and placed products. Subsequently, all promotional efforts such as public relations should reinforce or support a company’s short and long-term goals by product. Balance between the creative aspects of marketing (cool, fun, compelling, engaging, eye-catching, and trendy) and science (facts, figures and measurement controls) helps to ensure success.

PPR 101

Despite economic decline, there appears to be no lull in demand for PR professionals or publicists. If anything, demand is likely to increase.

The primary role of a publicist is to manage public affairs (relations) or external communications. In addition to keeping communication going between buyers and sellers, publicists build relationships on a company’s behalf; create and/or maintain a good corporate image and damage control negative publicity. Glamorized for their ability or need to access high profile, celebrity or exclusive events, being a publicist is hard work. In fact, it requires more work than most realize.

Celebrity publicist and owner of Divadends Entertainment, ChiQ Simms, agrees that being a publicist is no easy task “As a publicist, it is my job to ‘earn’ media coverage by supplying information that is factual, interesting, timely and newsworthy,” Simms says. One not-so-glamorous aspect of PR work is the issue of crisis management. According to Simms, a crisis is, “any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of a brand and its executive team.” Issues such as a legal dispute, theft, an accident or domestic conflict and natural or manmade disasters are crisis, which may devalue a brand or its image. Even how a company acts or fails to respond appropriately to a situation can lead to crisis. Usually, a situation reaches crisis status because of adverse or negative media attention. For this reason, Simms notes that a good publicist will always create a standard crisis communication plan. “It is imperative that a crisis communication plan, a crisis management team and a company spokesperson are all a part of a company’s PR objectives,” Simms advised.

Through her Professional Public Relations (PPR 101) panel-oriented seminar, Simms collaborates with various entertainment media (print, online, TV, radio, bloggers, etc.) and PR professionals to help attendees understand how to garner national publicity as well as how to address crisis. After attending PPR 101, it is immediately clear that publicity is not automatic. It is also clear that PR should be managed independently from all other marketing functions. Says Simms, “I have to conduct countless behind-the-scenes conversations and build relationships that lay the ground work required to get a client’s message to the public-especially the media. It is an ongoing labor-intensive process.”

In addition to conducting research on a variety of media outlets (for example, the 2009 Writer’s Market lists 3,500 publications in the U.S. and Canada who hire journalists), publicists must repeatedly create or revise content and pitch coverage concepts before, during and after news happens. Publicists must also remain in a constant state of prospecting, even while managing a promotional event such as a celebrity red carpet, press junket, radio or TV interview. Idea or lead generation and high conversion of leads to preferred results is what gives each publicist their edge.

Today’s global society, blogging communities and technology (iPhone and GPhone) keep publicists and other marketing professionals on their toes. Easily out-numbered, the proven method for creating value through public relations is having a narrow message and being able to execute a detailed marketing plan.

Perhaps the most important thing to note is that consistency and integrity balanced with timing are vital. With enough lead time, a schedule, a reasonable budget and a detailed brand-driven marketing strategy, which includes a solid communications plan, a publicist can build awareness, drive demand for a product and, subsequently, increase sales.

How to Bolster Advertising Success Through Integrated Marketing Communication

There was a time when mass marketing your skills and expertise was enough to secure a steady stream of work. Those days are over. The shotgun approach simply doesn’t deliver the results you need. You must take careful aim at your intended target. That’s where integrated marketing communications takes its bow.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road. More than 75% of companies with three hundred plus employees have embraced the doctrine of Integrated Marketing Communications and small to medium size companies are rapidly following suit. To make Integrated Marketing Communications part of your corporate identity requires a strong commitment from senior management coupled with a basic vision. With commitment and vision, you can put market resources in place.

Your Customer Database. Start developing a successful program by analyzing your database. See just what different customers require and respond to. Do extensive profiling and segmentation of your customers. Understand them. Know their buying habits. Then focus on specific customers and prospects who use your services. This customer-driven approach is cost effective and delivers better results. You discover who your prime prospects are in order to tailor communications to their special needs.

Integrate marketing and sales. Use your new insights to shape marketing, sales, and communication strategies. Encourage those in sales to attend strategy meetings. They have their eyes and ears in the marketplace. Invite everyone in your company to make contributions and become involved.

Differentiate yourself from the competition. If there are no real differences, create perceived differences. Develop a customer contact strategy. Build long-term relationships with customers you already have. It is five to eight times more expensive to obtain a new client than maintain an existing one.

Pick a Judge. Someone must take responsibility for judging and evaluating what’s going on. Don’t do things simply because they’ve always been done that way. Integrated Marketing Communications is about twenty-first century selling and marketing. It offers the promise of increasing success.

Get the Word Out. What tactics should you implement? There are a multitude of vehicles you can use. Advertising is the most popular vehicle. However, it may not be so effective for service-oriented businesses. Consider trade shows, direct mail, and public relations. Disseminate your message through sales promotions, telemarketing and websites. You may find multimedia presentations and special events add strength to your communication, too.

Participate in Social Media. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ning and countless other online resources offer unbridled potentials for reaching prospects you are looking. Use the research you have done through Integrated Marketing Communication to identify who you want target via social media.

Doing all these things will be in vain if you do not track the responses you get. The responses are there to evaluate. Analyze the feedback. Use it continually to shape your database. It will help you on the next go ’round.

The Secrets Behind the Best Affiliate Programs: Doing it the Right Way

Aren’t you curious about what makes some affiliate programs work and what makes other affiliate programs doom to failure? More importantly, don’t you want to know what the people behind the best affiliate programs have in common and how and why they’re enjoying so much success?

Critical Success Factors of the People behind the Best Affiliate Programs

EXCELLENT PRODUCT OR SERVICE – The success behind the best affiliate programs is not primarily due to marketing expertise alone. Beyond that, the success that these programs achieved was mainly due to the type of product or service being endorsed by its affiliates. If you don’t have an excellent product or service to begin with, you can only achieve marginal and short term success from your affiliate program.

It’s important that you concentrate first on finding the right product or service to sell before worrying about affiliate programs.

FORTITUDE – If you want the street slang counterpart for it, fortitude is also known as “staying power”. The people behind the best affiliate programs, believe it or not, went through the same things that you’re experiencing right now, obviously not to the same degree but your experiences are fundamentally the same.

What separates these people from others is their fortitude. They understood that it takes a considerable amount of time for any affiliate program to achieve success. As long as they were reasonably certain about the soundness and effectiveness of their plans and strategies, these people were willing to wait and bide their time, even if it seemed that there was no tomorrow and absolutely nothing was happening to their affiliate programs.

But something did happen, and all their waiting paid off. It can happen to you too, if you’re waiting with the right affiliate marketing strategy.

THE POWER OF ADWORD OR ADSENSE – Pay per click ads or any of its improved versions is the best way to advertise about your products and services. It is also integral to the success of your affiliate program. Indeed, if you make a study of the best affiliate programs presently in the Internet, you’ll see how most – if not – all of them have made use of this type of advertising.

Of course, making use of AdWords or Ad Sense is not enough to guarantee total success for your affiliate program. You also need to understand the types of powers it does have and to what extent it can be used before you can effectively incorporate it to your affiliate program.

IT’S ALL ABOUT SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION – The people behind the best affiliate programs in the Internet don’t allow themselves to depend completely on other people when it comes to the SEO aspect of their programs. If you want to experience success, you need to understand exactly what’s required from you and what you can do about it.

Choosing to delegate the unpleasant and troublesome aspects of the job is not the way to go about it. If you don’t take time to understand the principles behind SEO and its various techniques and choose to let someone take care of it, how will you know if what’s being done for your affiliate program is right?

SEO is what drives traffic to your website, so isn’t that enough reason and motivation for you to sit down and finally tackle the concept of search engine optimization?

ALWAYS GET SECOND PEOPLE OPINION – Although the people behind the best affiliate programs are in some way or another confident about their decisions and choices, this doesn’t mean that they are convinced they know all there is to know about the Internet and about the products or services being advertised.

Adopting such an attitude is in fact career suicide. If you wish for your affiliate program to work, you need to acquire a second or even a third opinion about what you’re doing. Naturally choose someone you trust, capable of dishing out the truth no matter how unpleasant and whose expertise is a given. Don’t feel bad if you hear something critical, because you need to learn about these deficiencies in order for your affiliate program to approve.

WHERE TO FIND CUSTOMER LOYALTY – Old clients are easier and harder to please than new ones depending on the situation. Gather the contact details of die-hard customers by building an email opt in list. With such a list, you’re guaranteed an ear that’s ready and willing to listen to what you have to offer!

Incorpate all the factors discussed in your strategy and you’re sure to end up with a winning affiliate program as well!

Effective Marketing Communications Techniques You Can Try

Marketing communications take an integral place in every company or business organization. Your company can get nowhere without an established strategy of communicating your message to the public. Your products or services might contain all the necessary ingredients to make people happy and their lives better than before. But if you don’t know how to communicate to your clients and prospects all of the good benefits they can get when they purchase your product, then you could be wasting all the resources you have for products or services no one will avail. You already have the best brand with a quality that is very competitive. Now you have to let people know about it.

As you create a blueprint of the techniques you are going to use for your marketing communications, never forget to broaden your mind about things that may come across your way to meeting the people especially your intended audience. Doing a product launching can be a good idea that may open up some opportunities for the public to get a glimpse or better yet a first-hand experience with your new product or service. A product launching program or activity can be held in strategic locations like shopping malls, hotels, university campuses, and other public places where your target audience can have access. Activities may include entertainment, contests, product testing or tasting, sampling, conference with the press, and other related activities for the purpose of announcing your new products or services.

Good marketing communications techniques also include excellence in public relations. Remember, your company’s goal is not only to make money and protect your investments, but also to extend welfare to humanity and the environment. When you know how to generously give service to people and the community for whatever needs at the moment and those that may arise in the future, people will respond to you with gratitude. You will have a positive image before your clients and prospects. They will give your brand a special place of preference in their hearts and minds. Just for example, I personally choose a particular brand of toothpaste over others because I know that the company that owns this brand of toothpaste is giving toothpastes to orphanages, penal colonies, rehabilitation centers, street kids, schools, hospitals, and other public institutions. The principle is, when you are kind to people, they will seek for opportunities to return the favor.

Establishing a good relationship with the people also includes instilling in their minds a constant awareness of your brand’s presence. This can be done through sponsorship of different events where there can be a chance to promote your products or services. Events can be sports clinic for the youth, street concerts where you can invite local artists to perform, environmental cleanup, and others, depending on your type of products or service. Events can be held simultaneously in various key cities and can be aired live on TV channels. When your brand or product is always visible, they can be etched in the people’s thoughts and somehow influence their will to buy.

These techniques on marketing communications have been proven effective. So try them.