In recent market estimates, digital online and ad spending is expected to grow at approximately 11% per year through 2021.[note]https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2017/01/26/us-digital-marketing-spend-will-near-120-billion-by-2021/#54d9b551278b[/note] Paid search, display ads, social media, online video advertising and email marketing will grow to 46% of advertising budgets[note]ibid.[/note]. To optimize the ROI on digital marketing spend, CEOs, CCOs, and CMOs need to invest in PRTech, in addition to MarTech.
So what does digital marketing growth have to do with PR?
PR and marketing convergence
What smart marketers learned using MarTech and Marketing automation was that their online videos, ads, and email marketing campaigns perform better when integrated with a strong, holistic PR and content marketing strategy. In a recently published survey of Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) by Nasdaq, the majority of CCOs reported that they are now held accountable for marketing KPI such as website traffic, sales and lead conversions and content marketing.[note]http://business.nasdaq.com/marketinsite/2017/How-Are-Todays-CCOs-Measuring-Their-Success.html?source=RSSfeed [/note]
Digital communications attracts and engages customers:
What is the New PR?
With digital convergence, PR and media communicators are no longer just the traditional writers of press releases or distributors of media pitches.
New PR serves three pivotal roles to build your corporate brand and support your sales and marketing organizations:
- PR is digital storytelling through content and social amplification.
Social media is a game changer, and it starts with PR and communications. PR is now being fueled by the omnipresence of digital content. The three most important drivers are social listening, digital storytelling and real time marketing. PR now incorporates video content and online visuals (like infographics) to drive brand narrative and reinforce marketing messages throughout the customer lifecycle.
- PR is a powerful driver of top of funnel sales leads.PR and earned media content, blog posts, and other company digital assets can often drive more top of funnel sales leads than ads and email marketing. Ethan McCarty, Global Head of Employee and Innovation Communications for Bloomberg LP, recently related a powerful example from his IBM days:
“We were able to pepper some of those blog entries and and Twitter posts from IBM’s internal industry experts with links to request a demo,” says McCarty. “We found that those experts were seven times more effective than any other digital asset we put in the market, such as banner ads or direct e-mails.”[note]http://www.prweek.com/article/1441481/analytics-action-measurement-meaning#ExS0GSGbfbqHC26r.99[/note]
- PR is the guardian of your brand equity and reputation.
Think it’s enough to just push out ads or marketing materials without first building an emotional connection with your target audience? Think again. If you are in a B2B space, personal value drives nearly twice the commercial outcomes as business value. What this means is that PR has a unique opportunity to communicate in a way that will elicit an emotional (and personal) response, building trust, credibility and eventually brand loyalty with customers. PR’s effectiveness can then be measured with impactful business metrics, just like other aspects of the marketing mix.
Now is the time to invest in PR Attribution and PR Measurement solutions
According to a recent ANA report survey of client side marketers[note]http://www.ana.net/content/show/id/44511[/note], PR will become more closely aligned with marketing as marketers carefully measure the effectiveness and ROI of all digital communications. New PR has an opportunity to work alongside marketers to align all aspects of brand communications while investing in tools and technology to properly showcase PR’s business impact.
Digital growth has put PR front and center. ANA’s survey of client side marketers showed that marketers feel PR can best demonstrate value by demonstrating “how PR programs achieve measurable business objectives” and “improve the measurement of results.” PR measurement platforms can measure immediate outbound communication and inbound feedback. PR attribution algorithms can now trace PR activity back to top of sales funnel call to actions like demo signups, and not just back to website traffic.
Savvy CEOs and CMOs have already caught onto this critical shift and incorporate Data-Driven PR into their organizations.