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How much do you invest in your PR and marketing?

03 April 2017

When you are busy doing the day to day operational tasks in your business – making the products, delivering the services, and keeping customers happy – it’s easy for PR and marketing to take a back seat, especially when orders are rolling in. 

We see this with many manufacturing businesses, where they have strong networks and plenty of repeat business driven by the company’s reputation. And for a while (sometimes even for many years), business is good. Why should you focus any effort on marketing when your order book is full? 

That’s all well and good, but what if things suddenly change? A classic example of this is those manufacturing and engineering companies that relied heavily on the oil and gas industry. When this sector took a major nosedive, many businesses suffered a sudden and dramatic corresponding downturn. Some were lucky enough to ride out the storm because they quickly diversified, but others have struggled, with some even going out of business.

But whatever the market conditions, you should invest time, money and energy in PR and marketing even when market conditions are good and even more so when they are bad.

And here’s why…

 

Maintaining Competitive Advantage

The world has changed, and technology has made it a lot smaller. But advanced technologies have also provided businesses with a vast array of tools that helps to give them a competitive advantage – through every function of the company from the manufacturing process to logistics, distribution and aftercare. This, of course, includes business functions such as marketing, PR, finance and HR. 

If your business is not taking advantage of the cost savings and efficiencies that technology can offer, then you are giving the edge to your competitors. 

In terms of PR and marketing, you can gain competitive advantage by being more visible in your target markets, increasing your credibility and reputation by sharing your knowledge and expertise, engaging directly with customers with creative and focused campaigns, building strong and lasting relationships with customers and with prospects who will become customers. The list goes on.

We could also tell you about the advantages to be gained by being up to speed on Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, but that’s for another blog post…

 

Brand Awareness and Market Position

Understanding where your company fits into its marketplace is one of the first steps in formulating your marketing strategy so that you can shape your PR and marketing activity accordingly.

It’s worth spending some time reviewing your company’s position, looking at what you’re good at and how you compare with your competitors. Also spend time looking at how your customers perceive your business and what you do. It may be that your customers are not aware of all the products and services you offer, and your wider range of capabilities.

 

Mitigating Risk

Some of the manufacturing and tech businesses we work with were definitely hiding their lights under bushels before they came to us. They enjoyed a general awareness in their existing networks of customers, but these tended to be within smaller circles, with a reliance on repeat business or on a couple of larger contracts. This is a risky position to be in and especially when Britain is in the grip of uncertain economic times.

PR and marketing can help you to identify potential new markets and help you to reach these in order to spread your risk.

 

How much should you invest?

 

Align PR and marketing budgets and activity with your sales forecast

Look at what you need to achieve in terms of the number of contracts and the revenues this will generate over the next twelve months. Break this down month by month. If you only need six larger contracts to achieve your business goals, then this will give you a good idea of how much time and money you will need to invest. This will mean that your approach will be targeted and focused using direct marketing tactics with PR and awareness raising activities wrapped around this.

If you are looking for rapid growth across multiple vertical sectors, then you will clearly need to invest more time, money and energy into PR and marketing, and you will need to spend more time planning your strategies for each sector. 

Every business is different, but every business should devote attention to marketing every single week. Consistency should be one of the key drivers.

 

Getting the most from your PR and Marketing Agency

This may seem obvious, but don’t just leave everything to your agency once you have commissioned them. To get the most from your agency you need to form a true partnership with them, and work closely to achieve your PR and marketing aims and objectives. The agency will take the pressure off you and your team and they will bring specialist expertise to your business, but they cannot work in a vacuum.

You don’t just want results, you want great results, and this means investing the time in working with and responding to your agency’s requests for information and feedback. When a press release, case study or white paper needs to be approved quickly, then respond quickly. If your agency presents you with concepts and ideas, give constructive feedback, but more than this do engage in the creative process too.                                                                   

Here at Bridge PR, we spend time getting to know your business from the outset. We aim to become part of your marketing team and align ourselves in this way with you. Yes, you will have a nice shiny plan of activity, but we do more than deliver on this. We want your business to grow, to be seen in the right places at the right time, to make the most of opportunities. And because this is in our DNA, we work hard to help you to make the most of those opportunities. We will use our own networks to put you in touch with potential customers and suppliers, we constantly look for media opportunities that you might want to take advantage of, and we provide you with any market intelligence we come across to help you maintain that competitive advantage. We’re also constantly keeping abreast of changes and trends in your industry sectors, and we use this knowledge to help drive media campaigns.

So, don’t just hand the reins completely over to us; get involved. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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