Marketing Dollars and ROI
Part Two: Public Relations
When times are tough, demanding a return on investment from marketing dollars is a top priority. In our last email we talked about how to save money and still deliver high quality AIA continuing education to architects. This time, we want to talk about probably the most cost effective communications tool you have available – PR.
First, let me define PR for purposes of this discussion. I'm talking about promoting your brand through stories that appear in magazines and online, I'm talking about case studies that feature your products and give credit to the sales chain, architects and contractors who worked on the featured project. I'm talking about feature stories with color photos and quotes from you and your people and glowing tributes from the architect, contractor and owner. Then, to a lesser extent, I'm talking about product news releases and personnel announcements.
Since return on investment is the metric, here's how we calculate it. We simply calculate the value of the PR placement as if it were advertising space. So, if we get a 2 ½ page feature story on a recent project you completed, along with two or three color photos. We could reasonable state that it had a value equivalent to 2 full-page, 4-color ads and a ½ page four color ad. Because publications with a higher circulation have a higher rate, the value goes up when we get placement in a bigger, more popular publication. It's not a perfect measure, but it's a pretty good way to keep score.
Our goal is deliver AT LEAST 2:1 return on investment. Remember, an ad doesn't deliver 1:1 because you still have to pay for production costs, so 2:1 is really very good. It's not unusual for us to get an even better return, but two-to-one is our target. That means, at the end of a year, if you add everything you paid for our services ($60-100,000 is a typical annual budget), we will have delivered AT LEAST $120,000-$200,000 in placements based on their ad value. That's a lot of leverage, and it's delivered as credible, detailed and branded stories about how you have solved a problem and made life better for an architect. Good stuff.
When you're contemplating doing PR in-house, remember a couple things. First, when we call a publication, we are engaging a relationship based on nearly two-dozen building products accounts we handle – not just yours. We have a team of people who work together to get you in print and online (by the way, we don't calculate online into our ROI – so it's all gravy). And, we provide a monthly report on the status of our work. You would be hard-pressed to return on investment with an in-house PR department.
Plus, part of our service includes producing an online pressroom that delivers digital assets to publications and online services – just another in a menu of services designed to meet the needs of the building products industry and satisfy the requirements of the media.
If you'd like to know more, please call our Director of Public Relations, Nick Murosky at 412-831-1959, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.