Why Public Relations Is Essential To Any Sales And Marketing Company

For some time, public relations has been viewed by executives as a soft discipline of questionable value to a company’s bottom line. Recently, however, PR’s reputation has received support from metrics being pressed upon every marketing initiative. “They don’t always understand there are a variety of steps required in gaining media attention, I have encountered at times a general lack of clarity about how the things I do day-to-day connect to PR” says Renee Deger, PR manager at Loyalty Lab in San Francisco.

Public relations is a strategic process used to develop a comprehensive communications plan to reach its target audience. The company’s message is received by its audience using research-based strategies and tactics created. It is essential that an effective public relations plan is in action for any sales and marketing company to reach its full potential.

By starting with what PR practitioners call a S.W.O.T. analysis, a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can be addressed. This research is necessary in order to establish future business avenues to explore. Short and long term goals should also be noted to ensure a clear and coherent message is being delivered.

A useful model used in the public relations process is the R.O.P.E. theory. The fundamentals research, objectives, planning, and evaluation are fully examined to develop an effective communications plan. These elements help guide the campaign.

Research is the first step in this strategic process, followed by setting realistic objectives, planning and execution, and finally evaluation of the campaign to tweak any areas in need of improvement. A company’s target market is identified and located. Quantitative ( eg. surveys) and qualitative (eg. focus groups) research methods can, then, be conducted to later develop an effective strategy to best reach this audience. Who and where are your potential audience(s) and how are they reached. Whether it be TV, radio or print ads, every market has their own preference and it should be known prior to creating any tactical material.

For example, press releases market a company’s involvement, success, or services in an industry; therefore, welcoming more interviews from the media than its competitors. This is only one example of how public relations can save a company from making unprofitable business ventures. Every company can benefit from a more cost efficient approach to doing business.

Moreover, strategic public relations can be essential when dealing with risk and crisis management. A company’s reputation with the public can make or break future networking opportunities. With a strategic plan in place, touchy issues can be handled in a more delicate manner resulting in a more favorable position for the company.

Al Maag, currently the chief communications officer at Phoenix-based electronic components supplier Avnet, joined the company for his first tour of PR duty. His responsibilities fell under the “communications” heading, but the CEO at the time favored advertising and other disciplines that had a set budget and wide acceptance over the squishier practice of PR.

“Nobody in our company talked to the press in those days,” he tells Monster Contributing Writer, Kelly Shermach. “Management didn’t understand it, didn’t appreciate it, didn’t care.” This wasn’t just Maag’s impression. The CEO made it clear to him that PR didn’t have a place on his priority list.

Maag convinced Avnet’s CEO that PR created the demand that its salespeople needed as well as maintaining its public image and leverage with shareholders’ investments. Now, managers at Avnet “know it’s their job,” Maag says, to create good news that can be shared with the public. “Most people believe journalism over advertising.”

Effective public relations helps build stronger and mutually beneficial relationships with existing and future clients. Loyal clients are a company’s most valuable asset and need to be carefully preserved. As noted in Monster Career Advice, with good PR, even managers struggling with small ad budgets can generate sales leads.