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Marketing Momentum: Leveraging The Power of PR In An Uncertain Economy

Marketing Momentum: Leveraging The Power of PR In An Uncertain Economy

By Katrina Olson

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released on September 7 said the U.S. economy expanded at a “modest pace on balance” in July and August, although “activity slowed” in some parts of the country.

Some sources are calling this a Goldilocks Economy—growth isn’t too hot, causing inflation, nor too cold, creating a recession. Other sources claim the U.S. is on the brink of economic collapse.

Economic uncertainty always accompanies a presidential election. Boards and CEOs get nervous—and often, the first department to get cut is marketing. That’s why it’s important to continue finding new, more efficient ways to support the company’s sales goals…like public relations (PR).

PR can help promote your brand at much lower costs than advertising or other forms of marketing. There are still costs associated with PR, but you get a lot more bang for your buck and the effects are often longer lasting. That’s because PR works on several levels:

  • It keeps the company in the public eye, thus supporting sales.
  • It can develop a positive attitude toward your company or product by informing and educating current and potential customers about your worthwhile activities.
  • It can create a supportive and welcoming attitude among your publics, which may help recruit and retain staff and support the company’s objectives.
  • It can inform the public and create publicity for new and innovative products.

I just submitted an article for tED magazine’s November issue about how PR can support the marketing effort. You’ll read about several electrical distributors and manufacturers who have successfully used PR to promote their brands, products and services. But what you won’t find in that article are these 10 ideas for promoting your company with PR:

  • Hand out or mail product samples to potential customers.
  • Distribute a print or digital newsletter that provides useful information but also highlights new or innovative products.
  • Host customer appreciation events and display or demonstrate products.
  • Sponsor a competition. For example, have customers compete for the best time using the company’s product to perform a job task.
  • Send press releases to trade media announcing a truly unique product, service or company initiative.
  • Write and distribute case studies about how the company’s products were used in a noteworthy project such as stadium, skyscraper or mall.
  • Celebrate an anniversary or other company milestone by donating product to an established, well-respected charity.
  • Create a community program to encourage sustainability, energy savings, or another trending issue about which the company is knowledgeable.
  • Create an educational curriculum for schools that relates to your business or products. Send a company representative to teach a class or demonstrate how electricity works, for example.
  • Sponsor a contest or fundraiser for school children that ties in with the company’s products.

To learn more, start by reading “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” by Al and Laura Ries. It’s a few years old, but a great introduction to PR as a brand builder.

Then, as you’re working on your 2017 marketing plan, consider adding some PR initiatives, activities and efforts that allow you to engage, educate, inform and persuade your existing and potential customers.



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