Every day of the week, it seems, someone asks me if I can guarantee sales if they hire my public relations agency. Of course if I knew that PR could guarantee sales, then we wouldn’t need any clients – and I’d simply start more businesses and work only for companies I own. Sales success isn’t that simple, as any smart marketer knows.
Hello! Can You Hear My Brand?
Communicating these days brings to my mind something legendary professional baseball player and manager Yogi Berra once quipped: “It’s impossible to get a conversation going, everybody’s talking too much.” And today, the noise everyone is making is deafening – making it impossible for brands to focus on only one medium to succeed at having their message heard.
Trying to build a brand these days is a lot like giving a speech in a concert hall while the New York Philharmonic is playing Beethoven. A couple of people on the sidelines might notice you if you wave your arms long enough, but can they actually hear what you’re saying? Winning in marketing today is more difficult than it has ever been – creating an exciting, yet scary state of affairs for anyone who works in marketing or communications. The world of marketing for those of us who do it for a living is and always has been about managing conversations, and managing conversations today simply cannot be seen as a one trick pony.
The Cube Root of Radio
The term “integrated” is often overused, but not in a communicative sense, and what were the four Ps or marketing: price, product, promotion, and place, has now been effectively replaced by the four Cs theories of gurus such as Professor Koichi Shimizu [commodity, cost, communication, channel], for an instance.
As an illustration of how fast and far we are moving, even these marketing equations are constantly in flux. Shimizu’s original 4 Cs having now been expanded to 7, to reflect the expanded understanding we all need to comply here – and this theory is 3 years old. Very soon we may be looking at something akin to Radio, TV, and the web magnified by the power of 10.
To succeed today, brands need to operate like an octopus with multiple arms working simultaneously to combine many different marketing elements to reach goals. Good old fashioned public relations matters as it always has – and PR is more important than ever before with the new search engine optimization rules being enforced and introduced. The “compass” shown above should be but one indicator more “arms” are needed, not less. While elements of the so called “four Ps” supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) still bear fruit, clearly much of what we once perceived about “selling” has transformed.
Search Engines, and Everything, Optimized
Naturally Google is more important than any one individual media outlet can ever be – and if you aren’t ranking for key terms on the most dominant search tool you are missing a key element (and no, one can’t “SEO” a website after it’s done.) SEO is a necessity – as is online reputation management, PPC, mobile marketing, and yes direct mail still works when done correctly. Now, factor in the growing mobile marketing dynamic (we may see more Cs), and it’s easy to see all of us have a lot of work to do. I can tell you that 5WPR – and any growing company in the marketing services space – is burning the midnight oil hammering out plans and strategies before implementing – that is crucial for us.
I continually meet with brand decision makers who ask what they need to increase sales – and so few are willing to face the facts of a communicative world where consumers are busier and more distracted than ever before. As in each discipline, the marketer reading this understands how resistant industries are to change.
A fully integrated, strategic communications and marketing approach is key to business success for any brand today. With constant text messages, TIVO, and who knows how many marketing messages pounding at consumers daily, how else can brands to succeed without at least thinking of and operating on these channels. This applies to ALL brands, corporate or SME.
Owning a Top 25 US PR Agency, I know that Public Relations is one tentacle of a larger mix of communicative tools – no, advertising isn’t dead folks.
I am reminded of the saying: “A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
Brands today need to understand the world is moving faster than ever before – and to succeed, to bend to the near constant surprise, diverse integrated marketing is the only path to growth. And for the marketer, PR, or Ad type still in the dark about the importance of “the other”, I said; “All channels.”