Intelligent marketing is part of branding 101. Many still think that good content on its own is enough. Anyone who says so—no matter how famous—is, to be polite, incorrect. Likewise those who claim that PR and article placement is a sale home-run. Marketing includes many things, but no one thing equals a sale.
Let’s clear up a few whoppers that people tell:
- Articles are links to immediate sales, and those sales can be traced directly back to them.
- Article placements or basic SEO optimization is the same thing as lead generation or closing a sale.
- Social media is the best way to generate effective leads.
- SEO optimization starts and stops with an article that includes a self-serving anchor text.
Those whoppers (aka lies) are marketing and PR “fast good.” Stay away from it; it’s unhealthy.
An article on a blog or even on Forbes, doesn’t lead directly to sales. That’s a misconception that many an ill-trained marketer/manager will argue with you about (not to mention some very bad PR people).
Lead generation is a marketing tactic that can and often does involve PR, content writing and level 1 or level 2 articles. But unless your message is distinct, perceivable and directly targeted, and you have a solid lead generation and sales strategy, you won’t get the results you seek.
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Let’s get a few things straight.
The usual question goes like this: “What do I need to decide which to focus on – PR, Sales or Marketing?” Fact is you need all three:
- Public Relations are activities that build awareness and credibility for your company, product or service. Or, the process of developing a positive image for an organization in the minds of the general public. This is done through influencers such as the media and bloggers.
- Marketing communicates what you’re offering to clients, customers, leads and investors. As well as what sort of value you bring to the table.
- Sales is closing the deal on leads developed by the efforts of those who led your marketing and PR. Or, the exchange of goods or services for monetary compensation.
It’s not always easy to get people on track or to be reasonable. But if you want success from these efforts, you need to listen to those who know better. Cheryl Snapp Conner of Snapp Conner PR explains:
“People want PR, they love PR, they know it’s valuable. But during the course of my 27 years in PR, when it comes to actually paying for it, people always want to boil it down to ‘unless it earned itself in sales receipts, you didn’t really accomplish anything’. They never seem to want to face the fact the PR is a part of the process that can lead to sales, but not the process itself.”
What Kind of Support Should You Expect From a PR Agency ?
Conner explains again:
“The level of support you can expect depends on client’s needs and program goals, but here are some basics you should expect from your PR counsel:
- Recommendations – No, that doesn’t mean they say “yes” to every “bright idea” you come up with. When you’re wrong, your rep should strongly disagree; when you’re right, they should just as strongly agree. Otherwise what value do they bring to your organization except to feed your ego?
- Action – Your public relations rep should always be on the prowl for ways to promote you. You shouldn’t have to ask.
- Objectives and Accountable Benchmarks – Press releases and telephone calls aren’t objectives. Objectives are detailed and measurable goals.
- Other Things a PR Rep Can Do –
- Writing and placing an agreed upon number of major industry trend, technical, technology or op-ed articles.
- Schedule one-on-one editorial or market research interviews.
“Each of these must contain realistic goals and objectives, not pipe dreams.”
PR can’t do it all. Nor can social media. Here’s why…
Lead Generation and Sales
What’s startling about the report is that those B2B sales and marketing professionals surveyed “stated social media as the least effective lead generation strategy. LinkedIn was rated the most effective tool, barely reaching above the bottom of the list when it comes to…effectiveness.”
While they all love social media, “it hasn’t really gotten the traction yet of some of the other medias.” Social media guru Guy Kawasaki readily admits that it’s “not the most effective medium.” Kawasaki recently took part in Krogue’s Inside Sales Virtual Summit. Kawasaki has 4.5 million followers on Google+ and 1.5 million on Twitter. Nevertheless, Kawasaki felt email would fill more seats than social media. He was right (70% versus 30%).
In order of effectiveness, Krogue rates the top five, most effective to least effective (you can see the full list of 17 methods here):
- Outbound Marketing (inside sales and telemarketing)
- Event Marketing (virtual tradeshows, webinars, seminars and physical tradeshows)
- Online marketing (websites, search and blogs)
- Traditional marketing (radio, TV, advertising and outdoor marketing)
- Social media
Krogue has offered some sage pointers when it comes to lead generation:
- Look at the methodologies that are highly effective and maybe underutilized in your own environment.
- Put them to work because it’s really all about the leads.
- Always move from less assertive methodologies to more assertive and more effective ones. That’s where the results are.
These seasoned vets know their stuff. I’d take note if I were you. Have you?
Originally published on Thinking Out Loud.