Studio/D’s “Shop Talk” column examines how communication strategies should bridge across sales and marketing functions, providing tangible benefits to each while providing maximum impact to your organization.
In this column we explore Earned Media, often called Public Relations. Earned media is when others talk about your product or service. Channels include trade media, social shares, bloggers and general word of mouth.
What’s in it for Sales?
Shortens the sales cycle
Endorsements, either explicit or implied, carry a lot of weight in the buyer’s decision-making process. Such endorsements can move prospects through the awareness-to-consideration-to-conversion steps much quicker, saving you time and money. And frequency of endorsements ensures your brand will be top-of-mind whenever the prospect is ready to buy.
Efficient way to enhance reach to purchasers
Perhaps the biggest difference between selling B2B vs. B2C is that B2B purchasing decisions are typically made by a group, often including purchasing managers; engineers; accountants, and C-suite. Earned media is an efficient way to enhance your reach to a larger group of buying influencers, keeping your brand top of mind with the people ultimately responsible for purchase decision-making.
Keeping your company and brand names in front of customers via third parties (trade magazines, bloggers) confirms to them that buying from you was the right decision. And with positive brand perception, you’re less likely to lose a sale on price alone.
Experts in the field
“Expert opinion” and “Best Practices” articles are very popular in trade media. When you or one of your engineers are cited, quoted or by-lined in the trade press, it tells your prospects and customers that you are innovators, thought leaders and a trusted resource.
What’s in it for Mar-Com?
Inexpensive way to build awareness
Perhaps you’re heard some version of this adage: “Paid media is high cost-high control; earned media is low cost-low control.” While you can’t always control specific wording and timing, a favorable or neutral story about your product or service is a very affordable way to reach a broad audience. When you add up the time and money you put into placing an ad in trade media, versus the resources required for earned media, earned will win the CPM battle almost every time.
Keeping your brands, product and services in front of your markets is critical when a prospect becomes and active shopper. And your brand recognition will follow that individual as they move through their career, which can last 40 years.
A platform for brand advocacy
If your marketing customer journey has not yet evolved from the linear model to “the flywheel” model, we should talk. The flywheel taps into your brand advocates to cost-efficiently aid in your awareness, consideration and conversion efforts. Earned media is a great way to give your raving fans a platform to share their positive experiences using your product and working with your company.
Helps your SEO
Getting your brands mentioned online is a great, inexpensive way to boost your Search Engine Optimization. And with mobile search continuing to increase in the B2B space, SEO’s importance will continue to rise.