Every morning I do a few things as part of a consistent daily routine.  I turn the coffee pot on (after having put water and coffee in it the night before), I read the papers, I look at my social media sites and then I sift through my email. Always in that order. This ritual signals to me that it is time to begin the day a certain way. In my case, it means I’m ready to write and pitch knowing everything that is going on around me that day. That said, deviation isn’t necessarily bad. If I’m traveling, starting the day with a modified routine gets me in the right frame of mind to do something different.

One of my favorite business books, Stress for Success by James E. Loehr, says these rituals set us up to succeed by creating a state of mind that allows us to do our best on-demand. I wholeheartedly agree with one caveat: it only works for people. Not organizations.

When organizations continue to do the same thing over and over again because it is safe, they are headed for trouble. Particularly in public relations and marketing—where new media and technology are quickly redefining the landscape.

Too often I see fellow marketers and public relations professionals doing the same thing we used to do 12 years ago. I’m not kidding. Among the top offenders: reporting. If we are all in agreement that print media is different now than it was five years ago, much less 10, why are you still doing clip reports with ad values and suspected circulation numbers like in 1999? Similarly, if you can track leads from origin to sale with inbound marketing tactics, why are you only collecting lead sheets at tradeshows while handing out pens?

There seems to be an overall reticence to fully address some of these gaping holes in strategy. More concerning is the “just add social media and stir” logic. This morning I saw a white paper being shopped around in a LinkedIn marketing group. It surveyedmarketers to find out what clients need from marketing programs. Huh? Yes please, sign me up to read a 30-page treatise on how adding share buttons to your press releases has revolutionized your process.

It is time to end the routine. Things are different. They change daily. A good marketing and/or PR person knows how to change with them. One of the ways I do it is by embracing technology as much as I can while keeping the following in mind:

Each situation is going to have a different metric. Back to clip reporting: if a client’s goal at a tradeshow is to get new business leads I fail to see how measuring the media coverage surrounding the show meets that goal. Ask yourself, “Why I am I doing this?” If the answer is, “Because we always do it this way” snap out of it. Match your reported results with the project’s goals.

Make collateral scalable. Internet-based communication is cheap. Printing costs money. Yes, I know you’ve charged the client $2500 for every print newsletter you’ve done and if you admit that email is cheaper you’ll have to reduce the cost. But consider this: when you can tell your client who is reading the emails and which pages of their website readers visit—or better yet, how many of the visitors turn into prospects—it will be worth much more to them (and you, in the long run) than $2500. I’m not suggesting you completely abandon print collateral, just that you drive recipients back to places where you can measure the piece’s effectiveness without guessing.

Use alternative measurements to justify the expense of event marketing. Yes, collect the paper leads from tradeshows if you must but also think about driving people back to a specific website page or use a QR code. You can then make better-educated suggestions about what is actually happening at these events. If 250 people scanned their badge (to get the iPod Shuffle you are handing out) but only five scanned your QR code to get a discount coupon–it is time to readjust the investment in that show.

Be fearless. One of my friends and someone I work with quite a bit recently shared an incredibly thought-provoking white paper you can find at www.onesentencepersuasion.com I mention it because the “one sentence” is a powerful statement that we should all be considering when planning on behalf of our clients. I won’t give it away, but the gist is: be an advocate and partner. In this role, you put the integrity of your work and client results before the status quo.

If, like in the example above, you are hesitant to make the leap from internet-based communication from print because of the fear you might lose fees—realize you are no longer your client’s partner. You are making decisions based on your own financial gain and not on the client’s results. Then, you are in no position to be effective long-term.

What’s worse, that fear is going to make you more vulnerable than ever before. One of the biggest challenges that has been ushered in by the age of social media is the speed at which changes can be made. Look at the Media/PR/Advertising industry round-up in your local newspaper. There are agency switches occurring at every fee level. This happens everyday because some organization just couldn’t break away from routine–and there is always another one waiting to step-up.

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.  —  Jack Welch


In a few weeks, I’ll be hosting a webinar with a partner of mine where we offer a successful case study of how we combined “old” and “new” media to assist a B2B company tap into its growth potential. It will be my first, but not last, webinar designed to help B2B PR and marketing people adapt to meet their client’s goals. Stay tuned or sign up for email updates for details.

Author: Christine Pietryla is a B2B PR consultant and freelance writer serving the energy and utilities, professional services, economic development and commodities industries. As a PR consultant her clients range in size from $20 to $100 million in sales. She frequently serves as a contributing writer to trade and business press.