Marketing has permeated the digital world we’ve created. It’s on the videos we watch, the websites we browse, the search engines we rely on. CPC and CPM advertising allow businesses big and small to monitor the direct returns of their advertising campaigns. On the other hand, traditional PR services are expensive and can be intangible. So why does every mid-to-large company use Public Relations in marketing?
It’s important to establish exactly what marketing aims to do. To quote the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, marketing is “the activity of presenting, advertising and selling a company’s products or services in the best possible way”. This necessitates three features:
A segmented target market,
A marketing channel to reach this target market,
A strong presentation of the company’s products or services.
Different marketing channels offer different benefits. Advertising, events, CPC and CPM, Direct or Indirect Marketing; all offer the targeting of a segmented audience. All offer access to a wide pool of potential consumers. All offer customisable ad campaigns. So what can PR do that these can’t?
Consumers know that any company can pay for CPC. They know that there are similar products out there. They know they’ve been targeted from their personal data. They’ve most likely been bombarded with ads from competitors; there were 5.9 million private sector businesses in the UK alone in 2019.
PR is essential to set the brand apart from its competitors and widen the potential customer base.
Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as an example (shivering at the memory? Us too). PR helped the size of the donor pool to explode (1). This came by tapping into social media and featured publications, which triggered celebrity involvement and further media intrigue (2). Powerful public relations promoted the fun, engaging means of generating awareness that had the movement’s unique stamp on it (3). Effective PR helped a disease with an estimated 222,000 cases worldwide- for reference, less than 0.01% of the number of estimated cancer diagnoses- raise a jaw-dropping $115 million.
Featuring in reputable publications provides a third-party stamp of approval for the brand. In combination with a strong marketing campaign, this somewhat intangible benefit garners a positive reputation for the company that pays huge dividends over the long run, if you’ll pardon the pun.
PR services also constitute an excellent marketing tool. PR targets an enormous pool of online and offline potential consumers with features that remain for years to come- creating a carefully-managed public image of the company.
That’s why companies invest in PR.
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