Major Decisions in Marketing PR

In considering when an how to use MPR, management must establish the marketing objectives, choose the PR messages and vehicles, implement the plan carefully and evaluate the results. The main tools of MPR are described below:

Publications: Companies rely extensive on published materials to reach and influence their target markets. These include annual reports, brochures, articles, company newsletters and magazines, audiovisual materials.

Events: Companies can draw attention to new products or other company activities by arranging special events like conferences, seminars, outings, trade shows, exhibits, contests and competitions, and anniversaries that will reach the target publics.

Sponsorship: Companies can promote their brands and corporate name by sponsoring sports and cultural events and highly regarded causes.

News: One of the major tasks of PR professionals is to find or create favorable news about the company, its products, and its people, and get the media to accept press release and attend press conferences.

Speeches: Company executives must field questions from the media or give talks at trade associations or sales meetings, and these appearances can build the company’s image.

Public Service Activities: Companies can build goodwill by contributing money and time to good causes.

Identity Media: Companies need a visual identity that the public immediately recognizes. The visual identity is carried by company logos, stationery, brochures, signs, business cards, buildings, uniforms, and dress codes.

MPR can build awareness by placing stories in the media to bring attention to a product, service, person, organization, or idea. It can build credibility by communicating the message in an editorial context. In can help boost sales force and dealer enthusiasm with stories about a new product before it is launched. It can hold down promotion cost because MPR costs less than direct mail and media advertising.

Whereas PR practitioners reach their target publics through the mass media, MPR is increasingly borrowing the techniques and technology of direct response marketing to reach target audience members one-on-one.

The MPR manger must identify or develop interesting stories about the product. Suppose a relatively unknown college wants more visibility. The MPR practitioner will search for stories. Do any faculty members have unusual backgrounds, or are any working on unusual projects? Are any new and unusual courses being taught? Are any interesting events taking place on campus? If there are no interesting stories, the MPR practitioner should propose newsworthy events the college could sponsor. Here the challenge is to create news. PR ideas include hosting major academic conventions, inviting expert or celebrity speakers, and developing and conference. Each event is an opportunity to develop a multitude of stories directed at different audiences.

The best MPR practitioners are able to find or create stories even for mundane or out-of-fashion products. Here is a recent success story.

PBS Blues

With the goal of dispelling the common perception that the musical genre of the “blues” was dying, PBS launched the Blues Project to remind people of how influential the blues have been on other genres like rock and hip-hop and to spark a renewed interest. The comprehensive multimedia effort spearheaded by famed movie director Martin Scorsese, the first succeeded at having Congress declare 2003 the Year of the Blues. A series of events and activities were then lined up: a seven film television series, a web site a 13 week radio program, a teachers’ guide, a book by Scorsese, a traveling exhibit and a concert at Radio City Music hall. The campaign received almost a billion positive media impressions and over 1,000 hits in major publications, and actually led to a surge in CD sales of blues music.