Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is PR the holy grail?

I attended PR salon#1 last night in Amsterdam: Is PR the holy grail? It was a very interesting and inspiring event. PR is not something I normally handle or write about but I always found it an exciting and challenging discipline within marketing. Kerrie Finch- Founder and CEO of FinchFactor is the lady behind this event and a PR guru herself with a remarkable resume. She feels and maybe rightly so, that PR doesn’t get the respect, opportunities and understanding it deserves. She feels PR can do a lot more if given the chance, she would like to see that finally change. Like everything else in life, it all starts with a debate! The panel was composed of very capable, creative and inspiring people both from the PR and advertising world: Sasha Naod- Brand Communications Strategist, Anton jan Thijssen– Managing Director TBWA\Busted, Elroy Bos- Director Press & Communications at Greenpeace Netherlands and Richard Gorodecky- Executive Creative Director at Amsterdam Worldwide. Richard Gorodecky kick started the evening. His department is responsible for some great campaigns. The two we were shown and have later discussed involved bloggers strategy. He started with a question: “Is good advertising good PR? Is good PR good advertising?” He basically said his motto is (and it showed in his advertising campaigns)- “Do something worth talking about!” This is true I believe for both disciplines! It is the foundation to any successful marketing, advertising and PR campaign. I think that within any marketing mix and communication strategy, these two go hand in hand. They just play different roles within but both aim at a successfully long term, loyal and engaging relationship with the consumers. Advertising is short term however, it starts gets a dialog going with future consumers which is a key element and should be long term. A good ad gets the ball rolling so to speak. PR is more about long term effect, managing a brand or company’s reputation, preserving and nurturing that relationship while keeping the dialog going. It does start with an advertising campaign. The two should be used more in co-operate, this seemed to be the general consensus among the panel as well as the audience. Sasha was talking about the need to up skill PR personal, enhancing the creativity level. PR needs to have broader understanding of the social media platform as well. The PR people felt that if the potential of what PR can do will be understood, it would lead to greater results. Some audience members were talking about the fact that brands for example ask for their involvement and help in promoting an up coming advertising campaign at the very last minute therefore, not allowing PR really achieve to it’s full potential. In a way, social media is a cross over of many of these elements. Using the blogger strategy for example has proven time and time again that it can achieve great results! The exposure and reach is amazing, bloggers and readers sharing and engaging meaning they are paying attention and talking about the product or brand, spreading the word. Though its hard to say how much effect it has in terms of revenue. Name recognition, focused attention on a brand, shares and allowing the consumer to be involved and interactive contribute in a major way to sales as well in my view, it might just be harder to measure. So, is PR the holy grail? Please feel free to share, add your comments and ideas below.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is social media the only marketing strategy you need?..

Last week I took part in a webinar discussing marketing and the role of social media within a business’s marketing mix.
The people that registered for the webinar, covered all aspects of marketing, online marketing, social media, PR and advertising. It was very interesting to brain storm and get a rounded opinion on this issue since social media frenzy in some cases, is an everyday discussion among professional marketers and business owners. What is the ideal plan for a business when creating a marketing strategy and a marketing mix? Can social media lead to paying clients or is it just exposure leading to name recognition?..Hmmm Just like in every other discussion, there were many different opinions and great oppositions:)
The most important issue leading to a very heated discussion was whether or not, social media presence such as Facebook or Twitter for example, can replace the traditional so to speak marketing tools. Some marketers seem to think that since everything is online these days, it’s how potential clients do most of their research and shopping online marketing using social media can be the primary marketing technic. They saw no need to add other tools to the mix. Other professionals, believe that since measuring ROI (return on investment) on social media is close to impossible and most people really don’t understand it though they will never admit to it, social media alone can not take the place of other methods of marketing. They saw it a waste of time actually. As the internet and social media evolve one thing is clear – Even the skeptics out there must admit that a brand must have an online presence, social media presence! It's about balance. Online marketing holds great oppotunities but they are not enough on their own. Old & New should be combined for maximium effect, I think the bottom line is indeed finding the right combination and balance between social media and other marketing tools fitting your specific business needs. Each business has different goals, targets different age groups ect. The social media strategies one chooses must be inline with these goals and ideas otherwise, all marketing efforts will be in vain. Building a website or creating a business page and assuming the clients will follow isn't enough, this is a learned skill and should be looked at it in this way. Social media marketing is more long term. It's about building online engaging communities & relationships and not about push marketing. Here comes the traditional marketing tools into play such as fliers, ads in the papers, sampleing and more. Make sure you create the right marketing mix covering all your bases. To your success!