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Do I Need Public Relations?

One of the more difficult aspects of marketing for companies is public relations, usually because it’s the most unfamiliar territory.

While often overlooked, public relations is integral to the growth and image of a company. You need to tell the public what you do, what products or services you offer, new happenings and so forth. Public relations is also relationship building and strategic communication with key influencers.

The difference between public relations and advertising is paid versus earned media. While you may pay for a public relations coordinator of manager, you do not pay for the placement of any media. All media is earned through the hard efforts, relationships and content produced by the public relations position or company.

A few public relations tactics include:

  1. Press releases. These are simple, but often forgotten. A simple press release announcing your company’s anniversary, a new product, a new location or a new building can get some new attention to your company. Not every press release will get picked up, but select items that would be relevant and submit on at least a quarterly basis or as special announcements come up.
  2. Pitching stories. Shorter than a press release, submitting a story idea is a good way to connect with local media outlets and give them information that may be interesting to their audience. It may be a story about how your company gives back to the community each year or a product or service that has bettered your employees, other companies or the community.
  3. Special promotions. Specific promotions can be created to help boost company awareness in the media world. We recently helped a client promote a special company anniversary by providing a PR campaign to boost awareness across their markets. There was not any advertising dollars spent, but tools for the company to use. The promotion was giving away a $5,000 donation to a local charity that the public could vote on and it went viral producing over $170,000 in earned media from online news, TV news and radio.

When putting together your annual marketing plans, make sure you include Public Relations. Whether it be press releases, community events and outreach, association integration or something else, don’t overlook this important aspect of marketing and growing your business. To learn more about the importance of public relations or marketing in general, contact us today at 515-868-0240.

Print is Not Dead

The onset of social media and the detail we can capture from the digital world is truly quite amazing. Being able to pinpoint someone based on their social media behavior and the websites they visit seems like it should be out of some futuristic sci-fi movie, but the reality is this capability is here today.

As the digital world continues to develop it’s important not to forget about utilizing additional tried and true marketing methods, such as print, which has been around since 1440. (Actually, long before then, but not in mass form.)

We hear quite often that “print is dead”. We’re here to tell you, it’s not. Yes, publications are now offering online editions, but print itself is not dead. The only difference between using print now versus 15-20 years ago is the strategy behind how you use it.

As with every newer medium, it can also become saturated (and sometimes obnoxious) quickly. So we’ve put together just a few benefits to considering using print.

3 Benefits of Print Advertising:

  1. Longer shelf life. You’re probably not receiving as much mail as you used to? It’s most likely now all coming to you email inbox! Print mail is tangible, something people can hold onto, giving it a longer shelf life versus a digital ad which lasts up to 30 seconds at most.
  2. Sensory play. Print allows you to use an individual’s senses and engage with a piece. They hold it, feel it, maybe peel back an offer or remove a coupon to put in their purse or wallet. You can’t do that with digital. Everything from paper type to folds is engaging with your future customer, giving them an experience to talk about or better yet, bring into the office to show others!
  3. Full attention. Print allows you full focus of your audience’s attention. You don’t have to share your print add with another advertiser or compete for attention on a webpage or in your email inbox. It gives you more space (depending on what you’re mailing) to inform and educate. Apart from in-person or a phone call, direct mail is the next best medium for a sales pitch based on engagement and space to educate. Plus, you can always list your website to drive traffic.

3 Ways to Strategically Use Print Advertising:

  1. The same as digital, you can purchase lists based on just about every demographic available. The most effective print advertising is that which is targeted to your audiences. What do they enjoy doing? What do they read? How many kids do they have? What is their household income, etc.
  2. Marketing Mix. Your marketing plan shouldn’t be all or nothing. You need to have a marketing mix, which means using cross-channel mediums driving home the same message or call-to-action. Print should be combined with digital, email and other tactics depending on cost such as radio or billboard. A strong marketing mix will make you top of mind.
  3. Think out-of-the-box. Direct mail and print doesn’t have to be the oversized postcard. If you’re mailing a small number, think about spending a little more on the piece to create more engagement. Also consider the types of cues you use to open mail. Is the mailing address handwritten? Is it in a nice envelope? Is there more than one piece?

Here are a few out-of-the-box prospecting direct mail pieces we’ve helped put together that received great results!

Risk Game:

Slide6Purpose: AFR Insurance (now Gallagher Insurance) wanted to set-up meetings with new prospects. MI helped them identify their “Top 10” prospects and developed this campaign idea involving a vintage RISK game and a wrap band. The band said, “RISK is fun in a game, but not in life.”

Results: AFR Insurance sent 10 RISK games and set-up 9 meetings.

Umbrella Mailer: 

Purpose: Merit Resources wanted to set-up meetings with new prospects. MI helped them identify their “Top 10” prospects and developed this campaign idea involving an umbrella in a nice case. A card in the box said, “Merit Resources offers an umbrella of services to keep you protected.” The follow-up plan involved sending messages based on the daily weather patterns.

Results: Merit Resources sent 10 umbrellas and set-up 8 meetings.

The “Silver Bullet” of Marketing

Written By: Kathleen Riessen

Instant gratification is not a millennial trend – it is a way of life that businesses have adapted to for years. Here are a few examples:

  1. Baking a cake. How did your Grandma bake a cake? She collected the ingredients and baked it at home in her oven. Today’s cost to bake a cake from scratch is about $2 and takes roughly two hours. Then came the invention of cake mixes. For $5, I can add oil and eggs to make cake mix, bake in the oven and cover with store-bought frosting. An hour later, I have myself a cake. Then came the designer cake. I can order the size, flavor, frosting and decorations of my cake and even have it delivered to my house! If I’m not super picky, I can even pick one that’s already made so I don’t have to wait. This will cost me $30+ but I can have my cake instantly.
  2. Package delivery. In 2005, Amazon brought us Prime. For $79, I could select an item and have it delivered within two days. A mere 11 years later, 40 million people or 12.5% of the U.S. population now pays $99 a year for Amazon Prime. But that’s not good enough. In 2015, Amazon came out with a new service called Prime Now, which provides two-hour delivery on more than 10,000 items in 24 U.S. markets. For an additional $8, select food purchases will be delivered within one hour in key markets.
  3. I recently toured American Popcorn Company, home of Jolly Time popcorn. This is a booming industry but has been around since the 19th century. The simplest (and healthiest) way to prepare popcorn is by popping the kernels over a heat source taking roughly five minutes to prepare. Then came microwave popcorn full of butter and salt and then flavored microwave popcorn was added. Microwave popcorn takes roughly three minutes to prepare. Then came pre-popped popcorn. This is a shelf stable popcorn with preservatives that can be enjoyed instantly and costs roughly 100% more per kernel than the popped seeds. When I toured Jolly Time, I learned that people think microwave popcorn takes too long to pop!

You can see from the above examples how instant gratification has affected our lives and how we go to business.

When it comes to marketing, we often see people wanting quick results – the instant gratification. They want the “silver bullet”. The truth is there is no silver bullet. There are short-term tactics that will garner short-term results. Short-term tactics often get confused or replaced with long-term tactics. Short-term tactics do not garner long-term results. A bunch of short-term tactics combined together do not give you long-term results.

From employee recruitment and retention to selling a widget or promoting a professional service, the reality is that short-term tactics are more expensive and garner less results than if you had a balanced marketing strategy that included both short and long-term tactics.

So we leave you with the following question: Are you using a variety of short and long-term tactics in your go-to-market strategy? If not, contact us and let us help you develop a comprehensive strategic marketing plan.

Delivering Results

Does your business have a marketing activity but no defined marketing executive? If this is the case, then likely you have experienced limits in your ability to grow. Measured Intentions provides a team of marketing executives for a small portion of the cost it would take to hire a VP of Marketing or a Chief Marketing Officer. Our role is to act as an extension of your business.

Your company has a set vision. Our job is not to change that vision but to provide actionable, measurable marketing strategies that supports your growth and delivers results.

We start with a thorough analysis of your business plan. Then we build a solid marketing strategy backed by research and attainable financials. In order to effectively build our strategy, we will work with multiple departments within your organization. This provides us a holistic view of your organization and oftentimes provides you with intangible feedback from an outsider on business process improvements.

We will oversee the marketing plan implementation including providing direction to the internal design team, marketing team, printers, etc. or even an agency. We do have partners in design, web, social media, and many more fields that we happily provide to our clients; however, oftentimes, ours clients have trusted sources already. Our job is to develop and deliver on the strategy and guide the implementation, not to force you to use our design partner or web developer.

Our results speak for themselves.

Connect with us today and take control of how you’re perceived!