ROI and visibility

Return on Investment: yes, PR delivers, tenfold!

Consumers are used to seeing advertisements while enjoying their entertainment, from magazine and television adverts to website pop-ups. This is a key way to get the word out about your business or product, but it is just one element of a marketing strategy.

A PR campaign is more subtle, and yet more powerful, with the message about your company being digested by the readers and viewers, along with their media. This is in the form of mentions in articles, interviews, blogs, retweets and shares of content, to mention just a few.

This effective approach is naturally far more time-consuming than creating an advertisement. The reason it works, is that there is a return on investment (ROI). Otherwise, it would all be an exercise in futility. Why create a strategy and make efforts to implement it, if you’re not going to achieve your goals – engaging with your audience, winning new fans, etc?

A PR firm’s strength lies in understanding people, nurturing relationships, and being acutely aware of who your audience is and what they want. A strategy includes tracking influencers and working with journalists to ensure exposure for your company. Ultimately, you want everyone to be talking about your brand.

In comparison, advertisements could be seen as impersonal. But they do their job impeccably, communicating the values and nature of your brand in a quick-snack format.

Surveys and studies continue to assess how effective each PR method is. Interestingly, good old-fashioned email marketing has trumped most other methods with a ROI of 60%, according to a Marketing Sherpa survey.

Email marketing is easy to measure, test and optimise, and helps companies stay top of mind with customers. Those who don’t currently have ROI plan to, with a consistent marketing schedule and interesting content. The fact that marketers can plan for this by adapting their approach, shows the power of PR.

Engaging your audience on social media platforms, from Twitter to Pinterest, demands sustained efforts in a crowded setting. Those who offer best value are awarded the attention of search engines, shares by visitors, and mentions in blogs.

The key areas for investment in 2014, according to new research from digital marketing firm ExactTarget Marketing Cloud are: data and analytics, marketing automation, email marketing, social media marketing and content management.

Marketers are investing in digital to connect with customers in new ways across every channel. With more than half of companies including a team dedicated to social media marketing, we are in the ‘third wave’ of the internet revolution, says Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. They have everything to play for and much to win. While the PR tools have changed vastly over the years, having an authentic brand identity and providing good value is finally getting its just rewards.