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PR and its sassy sister Publicity - your marketing superheroes

07 March 2011

A person who consults to small business challenged me earlier this week, saying that small business operators don't need PR or publicity, just help with direct marketing to their ideal customer. The most cost-effective part of the whole marketing mix, with results that trump direct marketing and advertising every time, and small businesses don't need it?

Is PR so woefully misunderstood? Has publicity as a marketing tactic received some bad press?

Using PR makes identifying your ideal customer EASY. If you had to \"fire\" every customer except one, but you knew if you kept that one, every customer from there forward would be just like the one you kept, who would it be? Particularly, how would they think and feel about you?

PR uses a bunch of tactics to keep your customers and prospects thinking and feeling the way you want them to feel. Publicity is the means by which you share that, attracting your ideal customer faster and quicker than advertising and direct mail.

So why don't small businesses use PR more? Because the perception is that it's only for corporates who can afford to use high-flying PR agencies. Wrong!

Worse, an awful lot of small business consultants steer their clients away from using PR because they think it's some sort of black magic performed by $2000 a day consultants. As a result PR is saved for the 'big boys' and small business is foolishly encouraged to do advertising and direct mail because the perception is it's easier and cheaper.

Yet research shows EVERY time, the PR dollar outperforms advertising, direct mail, etc in marketing budgets. So why do SME's -- and the people advising them - choose marketing tactics less likely to get return on the budget?

A great example: Eamon Eastwood of TasteIreland replaced traditional Christmas advertising with PR in 2009 - and saw a 60% increase in sales, whilst spending LESS money.

I interviewed Eamon recently as part of a free podcast: \"Attract your ideal customers and get more from your marketing dollars using PR and Publicity\" and he was astounded by what PR had achieved for his business. The audio is still available and I'd encourage anyone seeking a better understanding of what PR and Publicity can achieve for their business to have a listen.

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