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The Science of Marketing and Public Relations

The Science of Marketing and Public Relations

You got approval for a $3 Million marketing budget from the C-suite.

While that may sound small to some and exorbitant to others – the one guarantee is the marketing team will be required to “prove their value” after the money is spent.

Unlike some other departments who can say we bought 100 widgets at $1 instead of $2 – saving the company $100 – as marketing has grown more complex over the years, it has also become more difficult to show the return on investment at the end of the day.

But, we all know that saying “it’s difficult to measure” or even worse “we don’t know what value we got from that byline or advertisement” is not an acceptable response to leadership. The C-Suite, rightly so, wants to understand what they are getting for their money. Likewise, we wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars on a car without expecting it to work every day and last for several years. We want to know we got our money’s worth.

Marketers and public relations experts must learn the data and science of the profession. So, how do you measure a byline, a press release, an email campaign, social media, or an advertisement?

Step 1: Know the goals

Do not skip this step! Before embarking on an extensive marketing strategy that the team spent weeks putting together, know your company goals. What are leadership’s short-term and long-term plans? Is it a start-up needing more brand recognition or is it in a growth-stage needing quality lead generation?

Understanding where the company is today and where leadership is heading will help drive your marketing strategy. Share your marketing plans with the leadership team to get buy-in and agree upfront on the metrics that you plan to measure.

Step 2: Set the metrics and know the terminology

Now that you know the goals, it’s time to set your success metrics. How will you know if your plan is successful? Depending upon your strategy, you will use varying measures for different tactics. Below is a subset to consider.

  • Share of Voice (SOV): Measure the percentage of coverage and mentions of your brand in the media compared to your competitors.
  • Coverage: Track the number of times your brand is mentioned in the media along with where it is mentioned.
  • Website traffic: Google Analytics is a very useful tool to monitor unique page views, bounce rates, conversion rates, average session duration, and referral sites.
  • Domain authority: A term coined by Moz – your domain authority ranking will compare your overall website, including SEO and keyword rankings, to give you a number 1-100. The higher the number the great authority your site holds within your industry.
  • Social Media: Track beginning and ending metrics including followers, likes and shares. Determine which content and messaging provides the greatest engagement with your audience.
  • Impressions and click-thru rates: With advertisements you will want to view not only the number of people that saw your ad but more importantly, how many clicked on your ad.
  • Conversion ratios: The percentage or ratio of people that clicked on an email, ad, or social content, etc. that then completed a call-to-action. This includes downloading content, completing a form for a demo, and even registering for a webinar.
  • Open rates and click-thru rates: When delivering emails or drip campaigns, you can monitor their success based upon the number of people that opened the email and the number of people that then clicked on a link within the email.
  • Cost-per-lead (CPL): To many in leadership, if you start speaking in terms of CPL – you’ll be speaking their language. Calculating the costs of your activity divided by the number of leads you gained will give you the CPL.
  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL): While this one is probably one of the most important, the definition often varies from company to company. Typically, this is a lead that has a business need, understands what you offer, and has an interest in buying your product or service.

The metrics you choose should align appropriately with the tactics you will produce and the goals of your company. Putting these in place upfront will help avoid confusion at the end of the year.

Step 3: Make sure you have the right tools

While many marketers did not get into marketing to become data analysts, the move toward digital marketing requires a successful marketer to understand and use data wisely. Fortunately, many companies have developed tools to help analyze marketing results and prove value. There are many free or relatively inexpensive tools you can use to monitor your metrics.

Most marketers will start with free tools, and depending on the complexity of their business may purchase additional tools. Due to the overwhelming number of tools on the market, make sure you understand exactly what you are getting and any feature restrictions or limitations. In addition, make sure you use all the benefits of your marketing tools. Often you may purchase an email marketing tool without realizing you can also create landing pages, deliver social strategies and even host your webpages.

The key is not to get overwhelmed. Know what you need to measure and select the tools that are right for you.

 

Time to Spring Clean Your PR Strategy

Time to Spring Clean Your PR Strategy

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the flowers and trees are blooming. It’s that time of the year when I think about Spring cleaning, especially living in Atlanta where everything inside and out is covered in pollen. As I was dusting my entire house last weekend trying to rid it of the fine yellow dust covering EVERYTHING (the struggle is real y’all); I started thinking about how to spring clean your PR strategy and what would benefit the most from a little extra attention.

Media Lists

The media landscape is constantly in transition.  Journalists change positions, beats, contact information, etc. They might have altered their interest in specific topics. Throughout the year, we try to keep our press lists up-to-date, but spending some extra time going over your media list, updating the notes based on feedback from pitches and researching new media outlets can be a great use of time.

Messaging

This is a great opportunity to review your business’ messaging and assess if it needs updating. Perhaps you’ve announced new products in the last six months, or perhaps the industry has developed a new acronym for your niche, or maybe there is a new piece of healthcare legislation that is key to what your business does that should be mentioned in your messaging. Maybe you’ve learned more throughout the year about what your key audiences want to hear. Now is a great opportunity to take another look at your key messages to make sure they are conveying what you want them to and effectively reaching your target audiences.

PR Coverage

With a fresh look at your media lists and messaging, it would also be timely to review your coverage.  Where have you received the most placements? Are any angles played out at this point? What outlets have you not gotten coverage in that you want to be in? What angles do you need to push harder?  Are you actually reaching your target audiences with these outlets? A review of all of this will help you spring forward to make your coverage blossom even more.

Events

We PR people like to develop our annual plans generally at the beginning of each year.  But so many details for events such as conferences and tradeshows are updated throughout the year.  Determining which conferences you plan to attend, submit a speaker application to or want to include in your content strategy is a key component to any PR campaign. Take this time to update your events list with deadlines for speaking and any other promotional activities.

Review and Set New Goals

With a fresh perspective on where you’ve been and what you have to work with, it is also a great time to review the progress you’ve made in achieving your goals and updating them or maybe upgrading them. Utilize the S.M.A.R.T. goal format as a best practice.

Some of these recommendations take some ongoing maintenance but think of this time as a chance to really dust off what you are doing with your PR campaign and apply a fresh strategic approach to it. So, before you grab a vacuum, go grab a pen and review your PR strategy to help your business make the most of its PR activities.