How to Measure and Justify the Cost of Integrated Marketing & PR

Written by PAN Communications 
 

Your company is continuously growing - through funding rounds, partnerships, new products and consistent hiring. Now, your next step is to accelerate that growth by telling your company’s story. Employing a strong integrated marketing and PR strategy can be key to reaching that next step.

The Justification Factor
Many emerging growth brands struggle with limiting themselves while communicating with future customers. For an effective long-term strategy, targeted audience communication needs to be integrated right from the start. Brands should be looking to connect on multiple channels with a variety of content while relaying one consistent message. Consistency is critical to success as it leads to trust and an emotional connection, resulting in long-term advocates.

Emerging growth companies are faced with several obstacles – lack of resources, budget constraints and a limited customer base. This situation puts pressure on executives to hire more sales team members, and puts marketing and PR efforts on the backburner. Fortunately, integrated marketing and PR can be done on a sensible budget with KPIs mapped to business outcomes. This strategy pulls from several different communication strategies – influencer marketing, media and analyst relations, social media, digital and inbound efforts. As your brand evolves, it will need each of these depending on the specific stage of your company and the buyer’s stage on their path to purchase. This methodology and mindset allows for flexibility in your brand’s programs during specific periods – ensuring your brand prioritizes efforts that support maintaining a consistent connection with your audience.

Knowing this, it’s essential for CMOs and business executives to walk into the boardroom with a clear understanding of how integrated marketing and PR can be used to generate MQLs and advance long-term ROI for a sustainable business future, proving allocated resources will pay off. Whether its hiring or training staff, outsourcing, or partnering with an agency, start this conversation to set your brand up for long-term success.

Integrated marketing and PR is different from other brand awareness strategies because it fully encompasses the efforts associated with assisting the buyer along their path to purchase. Buyer personas combined with impactful content, regular measurement, and successful execution, will take your content connectivity to the next level. Data, measurement and analysis is at the crux of this approach, helping to eliminate uncertainty by means of testing audience types, messaging, channel placement and discovering what is truly resonating during each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Putting Your Confidence in Marketing Technology & Automation
In 2016 PAN Communications released their annual Content Fitness Report, revealing that 51 percent of marketers were not confident in how they were measuring the impact of their content strategy. In 2017, PAN discovered that 76 percent of marketers were lacking the confidence to measure the success of their content programs. Marketing strategies are built on data, analysis and insights but this can’t be accomplished without the right martech stack and proper skillset. In fact, Gartner recently stated that 50 to 65 percent of marketing executives are now anticipating spending more on marketing tech in 2017, as 87 percent of marketers believe that technology is improving their overall marketing performance.

Marketers should focus more on revenue metrics when reporting to the C-suite or Board of Directors, and that is where some assistance may be warranted. Not only should you look to martech tools, but rely on integrated agencies that specialize in taking martech data through to analysis, translating metrics into thoughtful insights.

The Power of Integrated Measurement
An integrated approach can provide the measurement and analysis that a traditional PR program can’t match. With web, email and social analytics, you can truly see the impact of an integrated approach on your brand’s SOV and awareness goals. Through pre-determined KPIs such as downloads and completed forms, your firm can optimize or eliminate ineffective campaigns while keeping winning content in circulation.

Remember that there are several assets that come into play for successful integrated implementation. Press releases, case studies, bylines and blogs all need to be delivered to the right people at the right time via the right channels with the use of martech tools. Measurement, analysis and optimization needs to occur simultaneously to showcase your brand’s most powerful story and message. Align KPIs with business expectations that really matter – number of visits to your website, leads generated, social proof, shareability, inbound links and content performance by format or author are all great places to start.

When collaboratively managed, integrated marketing and PR is a cost-effective way for emerging growth businesses to support lead-generation efforts and early customer-engagement strategies. Setting expectations, however, is important before diving into any integrated plan, especially when hiring an agency. Make sure you are on the same page in terms of quarterly results: press releases, briefings, media coverage, analyst relations, influencer relations, share of voice, contributed articles, tradeshows and awards. And don’t stop there – analytics and performance of the integrated program is just the beginning.

Stay tuned for more insights into integrated marketing and PR from PAN Communications. Over the next few weeks and months you’ll learn about:

  • Buyer personas and message positioning

  • Integrated marketing and PR for emerging growth companies

  • Working with an integrated agency

  • The foundational and digital components of an integrated platform

  • How to market your next funding round