While many consider communications to be part of marketing, PR has fallen behind in being able to measure and prove its value to key stakeholders. As a result, PR metrics are often tangential to the way that other marketing functions quantify success, leaving the CMO and the rest of the C-suite with the challenge of normalizing disparate data sets.
At the same time, as the media landscape has become increasingly fragmented and crowded, PR pros must rely on data and insights to win against competition, get a seat at the table, and secure more budget and resources.
In our June blog series, we’ll be discussing how PR can measure up to marketing and, ultimately, how PR teams can work closely with marketing to demonstrate to the CMO and CEO that PR is a business growth driver.
Integrating PR and marketing
The trend toward convergence of communications and marketing has been in the works for over a decade, and we’ve seen great examples of increased effectiveness when the two disciplines are working together in synergy. However, the integration process can be challenging.
Many PR professionals consider communications to be a broader management discipline reporting directly to the CEO, while some marketing executives still see PR as imprecise practice that is too difficult to measure. And even when they do come together, poor alignment and working in silos are not surprising without the proper integration playbook.
“Onclusive enables us to understand exactly how our coverage is being adopted and read, and which content is driving traffic back to our website. Along with demonstrating our knowledge of our target audience and their reading behavior, this data helps us prove the power of earned media to our C-Suite.” ~ Lona Therrien, Sr. Director, Global Corporate Communications, Mimecast
What’s the secret to success? It turns out that the key is in appreciating each other’s value, setting aligned objectives, and creating collaboration opportunities for mutual success.
The value of PR from a CMO’s perspective
First, let’s look at the value of PR through the eyes of a CMO. This perspective can be helpful for communicators as they articulate the benefits of working together to their marketing colleagues.
1. Generating brand awareness
PR is a great vehicle for generating brand awareness through media relations, news coverage and thought leadership content distribution, all of which contribute to increasing your brand’s online footprint. Including publicity into your marketing mix allows you to proactively put your positive stories in front of your audience with more credibility and relevance than traditional advertising, which can be viewed by consumers as irrelevant and suspect.
2. Maintaining a positive company image
We live in a world where anyone can post a negative review, and a story with negative sentiment can spread through social media like wildfire. That’s where PR comes in with negative publicity and crisis management, as well as proactively demonstrating your company’s goodwill efforts. Using PR in your marketing mix helps manage your overall brand sentiment with continuous storytelling, which has an added bonus of improving your search rankings.
3. Developing stakeholder trust
Communications embraces all of the company’s stakeholders — customers, employees, the media and the public at large. A key benefit of PR as part of the marketing mix is building long-term relationships with these stakeholders based on trust and reputation, when marketers typically lack control over how their brands are perceived. PR has the power to change minds due to its conversational nature along with third-party endorsement and advocacy.
“Equilar spends 90% of our marketing and communications efforts on earned media. We are often cited in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CBNC and Economist, which use our data as backup for their stories around corporate leadership. We invest a lot in earned media because this is precisely how you build trust and corporate
reputation—not through buying a full-page WSJ ad.” ~ David Chun, CEO & Founder, Equilar
4. Influencing across earned, owned, social and paid media
Communications can serve as the glue across paid, owned, social and earned media channels. According to a Nielsen report on advertising effectiveness, the key to success for marketers is creating a mix of social impressions that incorporate both paid and earned media. Forrester also suggests that owned, social and earned media become as important, if not more important, than paid media.
5. Improving the overall marketing ROI
Last but not least, shifting some of the marketing budget to PR can help improve your overall marketing ROI. With the online advertising space becoming more competitive (and more expensive) than ever, publicity offers cost-effective ways to generate interest and drive desired actions from your audience.
What PR can learn from marketing
Perhaps most importantly, marketers have already shifted from being primarily a cost center to a revenue generator and have decades of data-driven strategy experience to share with communicators. Collaboration with marketing can provide PR pros with:
● Performance evaluation and measurement expertise
● Established effectiveness-tracking systems and dashboards
● Methodologies for optimizing strategies and proving business impact to the C-suite
Marketers measure success across the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness and consideration to action and loyalty, which includes the ultimate financial metric of bottom-line ROI. In our next article, we’ll dive into applying this methodology to PR measurement.
Join Onclusive for the Measuring Up To Marketing: How PR Fits Into The Mix webinar on June 29th. During this live event, we’ll discuss how to think about performance and metrics in ways that are more comparable to marketing, best practices for PR to measure and report into the C-suite, and strategies for collaborating with marketing to achieve greater impact.