Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Making a return on investment from PR

I usually give out tips for PR but this time I want to talk about return on investment for your PR pound.

I do a lot of work for small businesses and they want to know what they get for their money.

It’s absolutely fair to ask. They have to make business decisions on limited budgets that pay off. But when they get the reply I suspect sound judgement does not always feature in their decision-making.

As long as PR spend generates more money than is invested then surely it is worth pursuing, especially as it can a very high return. After nepotism and recommendation it is the most cost effective way to generate business.

I am generalising. Some businesses use expos best to their advantage others tele-marketing, but on the whole I am happy to argue my point. You have to spend your money in the best way for your enterprise.

However, the cost of PR is highly cost effective. You do not pay papers to get coverage. All you pay for is the PR guy’s time.

Let me demonstrate by contrasting with direct marketing.

Consider how much time, energy and costs go into a direct mail campaign for instance: materials, printers, postage, copy, designers etc. Average return on investment for a direct mail campaign: 1% is a high return, usually about half of that.

PR works on a number of levels for return on investment:

Enhancing brand image: many see mailers as junk, not the best association, getting published has the opposite message
Building awareness: 400,000 read the Manchester Evening News. How many people receive your mailers? Could you afford to send 400,000 mailers?
Supporting other marketing activities: you go networking, the other person has seen you in a recent article, imagine the effect that has in building confidence in you
Inquiries: a good product or service will lead to clients coming to you

It is this last return which I want to mention. One inquiry that leads to a sale for some products or services pays for the PR spend. Any more and it is profit.

Your product sells for £10? Well it is easier to generate inquiries for smaller value products.

If you do not agree do not risk your money on any sales or marketing and see what happens or worse still nothing happens.

Business is about risk and limiting that risk. PR can be done with little risk – or spend if you prefer – but has high potential.

But do it well. I see many people who get in Obscure Area Times or Back and beyond Gazette and think they have done well and miss the real opportunity.

Good PR will, as will good networking, pay dividends but only if you invest.


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