Skipping public relations? You might ruin your marketing plan

By Andrea Bolyand, Bader Rutter (Guest Blogger). This blog post originally appeared on Converge, Bader Rutter’s blog.

You’ve done your homework. You’ve identified your target audiences, you know your go-to-market strategies, you’ve honed your key messages and you’re ready to start selling. Your plan includes a lot of sales support materials – brochures, sales sheets, FAQs, presentation – and a really cool advertising program that you know will hit the target audience. How can you fail?

But your program doesn’t include public relations.

Public relations can be tough to define. At a recent meeting in London with public relations representatives from several of our BBN sister agencies, we found it easier to say what public relations is not. 

We know what it does: Public Relations enables you to put your best case in front of the media, get your brand the airtime it deserves, stake a thought leadership in the market and elevate brand reputation.

Plus, when tied to an integrated marketing program, public relations serves a key role helping sales because it makes a brand, product, service or company’s messages credible, believable and impactful.

Fundamentally, public relations is about telling a story. And the stories you can tell through public relations efforts can support any tactic that’s part of your marketing plan.

Here are three tips for telling your brand’s story:

Place stories in the media that showcase how your company can solve key customer challenges. Before the sales team even makes the first call, your target audience can be aware of the way you work and how you provide solutions.
Showcase success. Highlight customers who have benefitted from working with you, and you’ll show other customers exactly what they can achieve by partnering with your company.

Tell the world what you offer. Public relations creates an opportunity to tell the world who you are and what you’re providing to the market. It can be more credible than an ad, and when combined with a well-rounded advertising program, it can make you even more memorable.

With the changing landscape of marketing and the increasing opportunities for consumers to engage with brands, marketing practitioners of all backgrounds and specialties should consider the effects of communications on the sales funnel. The opportunities for inbound marketing seem to increase by the day, particularly as more social media channels become available. Further, much of the purchasing cycle now happens online before buyers directly interact with brands or the sales force.

Consider the possibilities of communicating with your audience in the early phases of their buying decision. Don’t sabotage your marketing campaigns by ignoring public relations. It’s among the few disciplines that support an inbound strategy and work across paid, owned, earned and shared media.

Have you used public relations to support your marketing plan? How does it work in your mix?