PR and marketing strategies are intended to attract consumers to your product or service through messaging. The messaging should be helpful and informative to your target audience so you can convert consumers into leads. Experience has shown there are smart reasons to outsource your PR and marketing efforts.
Marketing has become more complex and sophisticated
Marketing activity entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, marketing PR, customer support, plus evaluation and measurement. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business’s selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams internally and externally to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.
The main tools in the marketing mix used to be:
- Advertising – traditional print, radio, television advertising
- Sales promotion
- Personal selling
- Marketing communication (marketing PR), including product publicity
- Direct marketing
- Interactive and web marketing, eg website, social media ads.
These days, a big component of marketing is now also online. Many companies use it as their only form of marketing:
- Web marketing – ads on websites, emails, etc
- Search engine optimization and marketing
- Social media marketing – social media ads and participation in chat groups
- Online video marketing – links to videos in websites, emails, etc .
It’s also worth noting that the use of social media has blurred the lines between marketing and PR, and if you run a smaller business, they will inevitably overlap with each other. You can take advantage of this if you are able to outsource your PR and marketing efforts.
Public relations role
Public relations has two roles relating to the marketing mix – marketing communication and corporate public relations.
These activities are designed to promote and protect an organization and its products. Marketing communication includes:
- Planning of the communication component of the marketing program.
- Input into the overall marketing program
- Publicity activities and blog marketing – content of interest to potential customers, especially via organic search on the internet
- Special events, if applicable
- Speeches and public statements relating to the announcements of new products and services
- Inclusion of content in newsletters, reports
- Donations and sponsorships, if appropriate
- Customer relations
Broader PR role
In addition, PR can play an important corporate role in support of marketing activities by dealing with wider matters than the marketing function. For example:
- Dealing with consumer concerns about product value and safety
- Responding to government scrutiny of products
- Communicating about product recalls (if any!)
- Communicating on health issues related to products, if applicable
- Responding to consumer queries about advertising messages in terms of social needs and civic responsibilities
- Managing any reputation issues relating to the company’s products.
Businesses adapting in the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified challenges for businesses. Although the pandemic has accelerated technological developments, it has also caused many business losses, especially for small businesses that deal in-person with customers. However, McKinsey consultants said in a June 2021 HBR article:
Despite unprecedented challenges, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world have shown remarkable resilience and capacity to reinvent themselves. Many of the actions taken by the most effective large companies are mirrored (albeit on a smaller scale) by higher-performing SMBs. Leading firms in both size categories had the financial resilience, organizational capabilities, and strategic focus to continue to invest and adapt throughout the crisis. Most notably, they accelerated digitization, reorganized and reskilled for operational efficiency, and became more agile.
Some of this operational efficiency can be created by outsourcing various activities such as your PR and marketing. For bigger businesses, outsourcing these services to marketing agencies like Caffeine Marketing reduces overheads and increases productive reach. The same can be said for marketing PR services, which can be outsourced for many reasons.
Four smart reasons to outsource your PR and marketing efforts
Here are four good reasons why outsourcing marketing and PR services may be more beneficial for your business:
- You get access to expert services
Good PR and marketing strategies require experience and expertise. When you outsource, you’re entrusting part of your business to experts and professionals with years of experience in their field. Moreover, agencies use newer technology like marketing and marketing PR management software programs, and modern strategies that they’ve tried and tested, which is often too expensive and time-consuming for individual businesses to purchase and maintain.
When I was a PR consultant, our firm held the national Electrolux account for internal and external PR and marketing communication. The arrangement worked well, and we felt like part of their team.
Agencies also stay updated with the changing trends in their field. They’re adept at what they do, and hiring them will be your access to expert strategies. For instance, when I was consulting, we would have all-in creative meetings of a dozen consultants brainstorming great ideas and strategies for our clients.
The same would apply to use of social media in marketing communication. This article discusses some helpful tips on using social media for marketing communication – most of this work can be outsourced.
2. You’ll save time and resources
Obtaining market intelligence, planning, and implementing campaigns in both PR and marketing can take weeks, sometimes even longer. An internal team always incurs staff overheads, no matter what you are engaged in. But outsourcing these functions will give you much more flexibility and more time to focus on other critical aspects of running a business. Hiring an external PR or marketing agency means you have access to all their experience. They already know the marketplace and can develop a suitable plan quicker than an in-house team. Many agencies have already tested new practices for themselves so their recommendations come from a place of experience. Effective marketing and marketing communication require a certain degree of trial and error, but why do this yourself when an agency has already been down this track? This saves you the cost of time and effort in starting from a low base of knowledge and experience for a campaign.
3. It will expand your connections
Businesses thrive in the networks they can create and maintain. For startups, lack of networks may be a roadblock to success. This is exactly where outsourcing services is beneficial.
When you outsource your marketing and PR efforts to established agencies, you’ll also be tapping into their network of connections. PR agencies that have been in the business for years have extensive media contacts and know the best third parties that can help you get the word out for your brand.
4. You’ll learn better strategies
Marketing alone encompasses multiple areas, each with its own complexities. For example, digital marketing involves social media management, content writing, copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO), web development, analytics, and many more.
As noted earlier, PR encompasses many aspects of a company’s stakeholder relationships, including the media, which requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills, creativity, and strategic thinking.
Both marketing and PR involve varied complex tasks that can be daunting for anyone who has modest experience of the wide-ranging knowledge and skills required. With outsourcing, working with experienced professionals will not only help you develop PR and marketing campaigns, but you’ll also learn from their best practices throughout your partnership with them.
Just remember that external service providers need to understand your business very well when you outsource your marketing and PR efforts. Their key account representative needs to have a close understanding of the organization’s internal environment as well as the external operating environment, and so they need a client contact who is strategically minded who also has good access to top management.
Bottom line – you can benefit if you outsource your PR and marketing
If your organization’s resources have been strained by the economic pressures caused by the pandemic, you may find that outsourcing your marketing and marketing communication activities will ease the pressure you feel.
The pandemic’s impact is likely to continue affecting businesses for years into the future. For instance, the government treasury in my country predicts pressure on the economy to continue for decades to come. In the meantime, you can rise to the challenges by leveraging outsourcing opportunities that will allow you to work with accomplished, energetic professionals, and which will give you access to better strategies. Growing a business is achievable in trying times when you know who to ask for help.
Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. His wide-ranging career includes roles as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer and business manager. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.