Tough economic times are forcing many companies to cut back marketing and advertising budgets. According to figures released by the Publisher’s Information Bureau in January, consumer magazine advertising pages dropped nearly 12 percent in 2008. While cost cutting may be necessary to remain solvent, forcing your marketing department to go on a crash diet can cause companies to lose the momentum and brand awareness they've built up through long-term campaigns.
Just because times are lean doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your hard-earned market share. Use this economic downturn as a chance to supplement your marketing and advertising activities with targeted public relations campaigns that capitalize on the brand awareness you've already cultivated.
So how do you do more with less?
Check out how your competitors are utilizing Web 2.0 tools and familiarize yourself with the social media applications frequently leveraged by marketers--Facebook, Twitter, Del.i.cious, YouTube, Digg, etc. These applications are rapidly becoming an essential platform for marketing and brand building as more and more consumers increase the scope of their activity on the web.
Make Your Press Release Interactive
However, advances in technology have made the press release a much more dynamic, interactive multimedia communications tool. Today's press release is actually a multimedia news release, combining text with video, photos, social media elements and much more. Further, changes in the way people access and share information have prompted many companies to reassess how a marketing campaign can be executed and the tools necessary to make an impact in today's dynamic communications environment. As a result, more communicators are turning to the multimedia news release because it's the most comprehensive.
With more people relying on web-based and social media-driven platforms as their first point of access to the world, the ability to package corporate messages, multimedia content and social media links in a single communications format is key. Moreover, this tactic not only presents strategic advantages for reaching one's target audiences, but also economic benefits through the consolidation of marketing and PR efforts.
Stand Out in the Industry
Many publications and industry-specific websites accept articles from experts in the field. These bylined articles can be a great way to position your spokespeople and generate further awareness of your brand. Letters to the editor, which are accepted by many print and online publications, can be another great way to highlight your spokespeople and establish your company as a leading authority on an issue or topic pertinent to the industry.
In addition to promoting your company's expertise, case studies offer an excellent vehicle for highlighting your products or services. They're not only useful in hooking the interest of reporters; they can also be valuable collateral for your marketing team or website. Reach out to clients who have the most compelling stories to see if they'd like to share their stories. Often, they're happy to discuss the success that a product or service brought to their business.
Conferences, trade shows and webinars also offer a number of opportunities for industry experts to lead roundtable discussions, participate on a panel or even give the keynote address. Speakers generally get a free pass to the event and an invaluable opportunity to advance both their businesses and personal brand. Deadlines for speaker proposals can range from weeks to more than a year prior to an event, so be sure to plan in advance.
Traditional PR has been an important complement to marketing and advertising programs. The press that results from a successful media campaign can be invaluable in creating sustained corporate and brand recognition. Remember, in these difficult times, there's no actual cost attached to getting an article published other than the time and effort required to develop a story and pitch a reporter.
Don't give up on your communications and marketing goals just because you have fewer resources. In this environment, the companies that make the most out of their resources and bring the most creativity into their communications programs will draw the highest return.