Tag Archives: PR

Marketing and PR Food for Thought

This topic will be presented by Valerie Harding.

We will share how to truly evaluate how well your company is marketing itself. When it comes down to actually evaluating PR initiatives, organizations aren’t exactly sure. Marketing and PR is con

sidered > intangible in terms of its ROI and associating an actual matrix to its value. Companies know that they need it but consider it a gray area when it comes to setting expectations for their in-house team as well as for their public relation agency, if they have one.

Here are just a few of the questions we will consider along with the importance of why we are considering them:

Is your company vision clearly mapped out for today and for future products and/or services as a context for all company communications?

Have you developed your company’s key messages for each unique audience and defined competitive differentiators?

Are you utilizing a matrix to measure the overall success in communicating the company’s key messages effectively?

Are you getting placements in at least 50% of relevant editorial opportunities? How do you know?

In producing third-party endorsements, customer testimonials, and success studies, how are you marketing them?

Are you actively seeking award opportunities? How many awards have you received so far this year?

Have you conducted a perception study to understand how your key constituents perceive your company?

We will provide a “How To” PR guide and explain the importance of measuring the results. PR performance measurement encompasses a measure of business value, of strategic alignment and of marketing efficiency. It can seem too abstract to fit easily into a concrete measurement like it does for sales but through our 10 plus years of PR experience, we definitely have seen the PR measurement matrix evolve. Our presentation will help organizations get a handle on setting PR expectations as well as how to successfully fulfill those expectations. We are excited to share with the group through our experience, industry research and customer stories on how organizations are able to evaluate what PR investments they should make along with how to measure their outcome and success.

Valerie Harding is the President of Ripple Effect Communications. Fluent in French and German, Valerie brings a wealth of global marketing communications experience in increasing foreign companies’ market share in the US and bi-directionally increasing US companies market share in Europe. Valerie successfully assisted such companies as Siemens, PC Soft International, and Intec Controls in their growth through strategic messaging, positioning, and focused campaign planning. Prior to joining Ripple Effect Communications, Valerie was Director of Public Relations for LifeFX where she increased overall visibility of the company through the analyst community, global connections, and securing placements in such high profile magazines and journals as Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine Europe, and USA Today. Some key TV segments she has secured have included ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS Channel 4 News, Discovery, and Fox News.


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Workshop: PR 101

Walt Boyes is moderating this workshop at the Marketing & Sales Summit on Wednesday, September 1st from 1:00PM to 5:00PM.  The cost is $195 – visit the registration page today to reserve your spot.

Marketing Communications and Public Relations for the Industrial Enterprise

Marketing is more than advertising and generating sales leads. Often overlooked is the power of public relations and marketing communications to create brand values, public and customer perception. But the recent emergence of social media has completely changed the tenor of marketing communications. The marketers are no longer in control of the conversation, and the conversation has become decidedly bidirectional. This workshop will examine the principles of industrial marketing communication, with special emphasis on the use and power of social media.

Walt Boyes

Walt Boyes

Walt has more than 30 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and product development in the controls and instrumentation industry both for process instruments and environmental controls, including Executive Committee and Board experience in several companies. Walt currently is serving as Editor-in-Chief of CONTROL and www.controlglobal.com. Because of his broad subject matter expertise and business experience, he is uniquely qualified as a global automation industry analyst.

He serves as Principal of Spitzer and Boyes LLC, as an expert at business transformation for small to medium-sized companies. He provided strategic planning, organizational development, business re-organization and electronic business re-engineering services for companies from roughly $5 million to roughly $100 million in revenues per year. Walt has served both the profit and not-for-profit business sectors. He currently serves on the board of a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor.

Walt is an ISA Fellow. One of Walt’s proudest accomplishments is the R&D100 Award he shared with four other product development team members for development of a novel flow meter for use in wastewater In addition, he is considered an authority on business-to-business marketing, on social media, and on electronic commerce in the business-to-business arena, automation marketing and sales management.

Walt was Senior Contributing Editor for Industrial Marketing Practitioner magazine and Contributing Editor for Flow Control magazine. He is the Editor of The Instrumentation Reference Book, 4th Edition, published in 2009. With David Spitzer, he is the co-author of the “Consumer Guide to…” series of handbooks on field devices. He co-authored, with Shari Worthington of Telesian Technologies, eBusiness in Manufacturing: Putting the Internet to Work in the Industrial Enterprise. Walt was a founder and President of the CorgiAid foundation, and is a member of the board of ReadAssist and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Public Library foundation. He is a published writer of science fiction, and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). He also has served ISA for many years as a volunteer, and was Vice President of Publications for ISA, Vice-Chair of the Board of Department Vice-Presidents, served on ISA’s Executive Board, and is Past President of the ISA Seattle Section.

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The Move from Outbound to Inbound Marketing

What This Means for Your Marketing Strategy

Inbound MarketingI’ve grown to resent those pop-up ads that require you to click ‘stop’ or ‘skip’ before you can continue using the website you’re visiting. It’s even worse when they gradually glide down the screen and you have to chase them with your cursor before you can make them disappear. Not to mention when you miss the little ‘x’ in the corner and click on the ad itself. It’s uninvited and it eats up valuable seconds in your day. Am I the only one?

The thing is; advertising has always been a part of our lives. So much so, we have become accustomed to filtering it out. We mentally tune out the commercials that interrupt our favorite TV show. We flip the pages of our favorite magazine and barely notice glossy advertisements on every other page. We screen sales calls, delete unsolicited e-mails or flag them as spam, and file direct mail campaigns in our recycling bins.

Here’s the rub: we know what those advertisements are trying to do and we filter them out because we dislike being dictated to. We are acutely aware that those behind an ad campaign typically do not have the full picture of who we are, what drives us, what turns us off, or what motivates us. We resent not being appreciated or understood as an individual. We feel tuned out and so return the favor.

Our mistrust increases every time we are manipulated to give away our contact information only to find it misused by over-eager salespeople. We have had enough of marketing messages being thrust at us from every angle, invading our rights to space and privacy. We are fed up of traditional mass marketing, or ‘outbound marketing’.

‘Inbound marketing’ is the opposite of this interruption-based model. Instead of pushing marketing messages at people, an inbound marketing strategy focuses on creating helpful tools and content that pulls people in. This might be via a blog, e-book, white paper, webinar, social media or by simply optimizing your website so that people can find you via search engines. By increasing the amount of valuable, educational content available online for your brand, the chances of being found by people relevant to your business are vastly improved.

Inbound marketing works to undo the damage caused by traditional marketing. It restores confidence and rebuilds trust. By allowing individuals to come to your website, surf around and gather the information they require, you give them the space to relax and enjoy their user experience. By using only contact information these visitors willingly give you to contact them in a highly relevant way, their whole experience of your company is one that they will want to repeat again and again.

3 Guidelines for Inbound Marketing:

1. Build (and optimize) it and they will come

Start with your website and build out from there. Create valuable content that visitors will want to thank you for. Start making it enjoyable to do business with you. Give people access to online tools and resources before they have to ask for them. And don’t forget to optimize all of this for search engines (SEO) so you can be found in the first place. Content creation is a critical first step to draw in those who are genuinely interested in your products or services. Some examples include FAQs, technical information, blog posts, white papers, videos, or online programs to facilitate product selection. There are more – be creative and think what would most help your customer base.

2. Stop thinking about potential customers as giant dollar signs

Remember: people are individuals with the ability to make their own decisions independently of their peers. Start thinking in terms of one-on-one relationships and less about sales revenue. Sales will come. No, you might not see an overnight increase in profits. The lack of immediate, demonstrable ROI may drive your upper management crazy. As a marketer, that can be difficult. But, given time, if you persist in offering valuable, educational, useful information, people will appreciate it and be more inclined to purchase. Offer information to guide them through each phase of the buying cycle. Don’t assume everyone is poised, credit card in hand, waiting to do business with you if you so much as ask.

An important note: when people are nearly ready to purchase and they want to give you their contact information, make sure your landing pages are optimized for these conversions. Don’t confuse website visitors with a multitude of options or contact fields. Keep it simple. Optimize for only one or two keywords per landing page. Offer one clear call to action per page and then only ask for the contact information that you absolutely need. Also, make it clear why they are providing you with their contact information. Make it a stress-free, smooth transaction for the user.

3. The key is trust

In the 1934 classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Carnegie talks about the importance of becoming genuinely interested in other people, being a good listener, making the other person feel important, and doing this sincerely. Validate people by listening to their concerns and showing you understand them. By this I mean listen to what people are saying about you – online, to your customer service department; your sales people. Only with all the pertinent information can you make accurate judgments on what people want from you and deliver on that. Sure, you can respond to people’s questions and concerns on a one-on-one basis, but why stop there? Why not take that individual response and turn it into a blog post, or white paper, or downloadable tip sheet? Share and spread your knowledge. Demonstrate thought leadership and your customers will reward you with loyalty you didn’t dare imagine.

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Press Releases: Back to Basics

There has been a lot of debate recently about whether press releases are still an essential part of a PR or marketing campaign.  Some people think that blogs and social media sites have taken the place of press releases, but that the reality is…press releases can be easily used to gain free publicity for your company IF you know how to make them work for you.

First, we’ll review the basic components of a press release.  Then, look at what are considered to be the keys for a successful press release followed by an example.

In getting back to the basics, let’s recall what a press release is.  According to www.dictionary.com, a press release is “an announcement of a newsworthy item that is issued to the press”.  The primary components of a press release are:

  • Contact information –should include the contact person’s name, phone number, email address, and company website URL.  It’s important for the reporter/editor to be able to reach a contact person for more details.
  • Headline –serves as a concise summary of your press release in order to grab the journalist’s attention.
  • Subhead –offers a few additional details to your headline.
  • Lead paragraph – the who, what, when, where, and why of your story are briefly answered here.
  • Body – expand your story with details, statistics, quotes, and background information.  Though you’re expanding, do it in as few words as possible, preferably 1 page or less.  List information in order from most newsworthy (top) to least newsworthy (bottom).  Readers have been known to bail on your story before reaching the end, so give them the important stuff first.
  • Boilerplate – the final paragraph is a standard, reusable paragraph that describes your company and what you do.

In a presentation titled “Public Relations for the Automation Industry”, Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief of Control Magazine, states that a press release must be “news, noteworthy, well written, topical and targeted”.

  • News/Noteworthy – Journalists want stories that will capture their readers’ interest.  And we want to capture the journalists’ interest.  Thus, if we in sales and marketing want our press releases published, our goal should also be to write our press releases in such a way that a reporter will want to use our press release to capture their readers’ attention.  This often means avoiding salesy lingo.
  • Well Written – Proper grammar, spelling, and formatting are absolutely required.  Poorly written press releases are likely to be discarded.  Walt recommends that they be written by a professional release writer.
  • Topical and Targeted – Keep in mind who your target audience is and which distribution methods and sources will get your press release to that audience.

In addition, images—such as photos or logos—can help express your story as well as catch the reporter’s eye.  If images are part of your press release, they must be easily accessible by the press.  This can be accomplished by including with your press release a link to your downloadable images or by including your image files on a removable storage device to be distributed with your hard or softcopy press release.

Let’s take a look at “Apple Sells One Million iPads”, a press release which can be found at www.apple.com.  The release communicates the contact information, the “who, what, when, where, and why”, access to downloadable images, quotes and stats, and the boilerplate—all without typos.  In my opinion, a headline containing your company name won’t always work, but Apple (and other big shots) can sometimes get away with it.  In other words, when lesser-known companies put their name in their press release headlines, it can come across as an advertisement packaged as a press release, which will not appeal to journalists.  Along these same lines, the third and fourth paragraphs of Apple’s release contain some obvious marketing plugs—a typical no-no.  A few other things to point out: the subhead is missing, and I did initially overlook the link to the images, which could be improved by an actually including an image on the same release page.

For more information and tips on press releases, visit the following links.

Photo Source: stock.xchng/Gastonmag

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