As a seasoned marketing communications professional, one of the most asked questions to me and oft answered one, remains “How did marketing contribute to the organisation revenue and sales this year?”
As the department that is tasked with effective spending, limited budgets, and expected to make every rupee spend count while coming up with innovative strategies through the year; the efficacy and effectiveness of marketing campaigns and execution stands on four pillars – brand vision, communication relevance, timelines and consistent execution of the annual marketing plan.
Like Yin and Yang, the subjective nature of marketing complements the objective, data driven, number crunching world of sales and revenue to present, compel and eventually connect with the relevant consumer to make a purchase. Good marketing and PR campaigns become the perfect foundation for great sales pitches and achieving revenue targets; when the sales message stands supported by a corresponding media review/quote/great marketing video.
Pulling the consumers’ attention in the age of short-lived memory, plethora of options and extreme information overload is no mean feat. As the saying goes “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” As business leaders, it is imperative to ensure that the PR and Marketing campaigns are like the perfect lip-sync to ultimately add value to a sales pitch.
At strategy meets and end of the year presentations, PR messages are woefully forgotten, more often than not. A PR story is not merely a press release and number of articles that got printed/published –it is the first round of information that your brand has for posterity. Every media article today is available at the click of a button. Imagine a potential great hire, a competitor, an investor, a consumer checking out the information available and then deciding on their engagement with the brand. Marketing messages and campaigns too need to be as per the brand vision and image that is most heartfelt and authentic with brand image.
So how do we ensure that the marketing pull is heartfelt and strong to ensure potential brand connect and consumption?
- Apply the 1:2 ratio: For every PR pitch; combine, create or sync two marketing campaigns.
Since PR value creation takes time, factor that in. Hence, if there are five PR messages for the brand; that translates into 10 marketing campaigns for a year.
- Bucket the messages: All PR stories will not generate equal media traction; get an intuitive feel which story makes for a compelling mass telling one and which is best suited for a local market. This depends on knowing past trends and understanding the local market well. Brand messages should be kept to maximum two a year while remaining ones can be used to promote the product.
- Train the team: PR messages which have a strategic implications should be voiced by senior management whilst marketing messages can be voiced by a larger group of employees. This ensures depth of the message is maintained while allowing for wider reach as well. It is important to conduct media training for all, as being media savvy isn’t a skillset everyone has or is comfortable with.
- Lessen the content; sharpen the content: We have a media and information overload and the best way to avoid this mental traffic jam is to ensure that you contribute mindfully to the information, your audience is most likely to consume. Strategic well-made content, on the best available media channels will definitely resonate.
- Clarity and media expectations: Set the bar right, more often than high. Media is inundated with information and they also have limited space to feature all that they are given. Every promotion will not hit the bull’s eye and neither will every press note become a stellar feature. It is crucial for have respect for the media when engaging with them and staying as authentic as possible when it comes to information sharing, as flaky information can be quickly smelt. Credible content lasts.
- Marketing content and collaterals: Moving into a paperless world, we are consuming more and more content digitally. An important pull strategy is creating strategic collaterals based on their usage by the sales team. Creating content or any collateral while discounting its effective usage is simply a waste of resources. A few collaterals, used extensively will yield more benefits than many those will simply grace an email attachment or at best, a presentation.
- Consistency: Least followed, hardly valued but is the master key to brand building and boosting sales. Consistency of PR and marketing messages with a solid marketing collateral when doing the sales pitch is an unbeatable combination. So if selling is an art, then PR & marketing is the ammunition needed. A sharpened axe will make a mark. A dull one will simply steal the sheen.
- Measure Marketing Impact: The simplest way would be to calculate the marketing spend ratio versus the impressions/ reach. Getting an exact marketing ROI is difficult, hence it is important to keep consistent messages to gauge effectiveness of campaigns. Factor in markets and the media consumption of your target audience. Having a feedback analyses helps.
Declutter, simplify and amplify! Arm with Sales team with strategic marketing and PR weapons, so that they can sell like a pro. Keep it simple, scalable and sustainable to push your content out and a value-add that becomes the pull!
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