Most executives know that you must spend on marketing to generate sales. Nevertheless, marketing is just one form of customer-facing communication. In my experience, public relations can be equally as important for generating sales. Since it is often the entry point for new prospects, your PR should be designed to bring brand awareness to your company’s expertise, credibility, and values before they even see your marketing.
However, it can be hard to quantify the real effects of good PR, which leads many executives to believe it is a waste of money. That is one of the biggest mistakes anyone owning or running a company could make. My rule of thumb is to put at least 15% of the company’s gross receipts back into marketing and PR.
Most companies do not budget this much and most boards will find it hard to swallow. Early on in our company’s history, selling this proposition internally was a challenge. Therefore, instead of just lowering my horns and going head to head with a board full of people, I both needed and respected, I applied a bit of sleight of hand.
Instead of telling the board what I thought we needed to spend on outbound communication, I hired the best and brightest internal and external advisors I could find and solicited their advice. I was not surprised when it aligned with mine and promptly took it to the board. Having an agency on the line that the board could easily fire in the event of a failed effort made it easier for our directors to buy into the program.
This allowed me to increase our spend by 10X. It worked and continues to pay off.
We proved that you could drastically grow a company when you overload the budget for public relations and marketing. Now, whenever we see a dip in sales for any of our offerings, we add fuel to the PR and marketing functions and everyone is ON-BOARD with the strategy — because it works.
However, you cannot just throw money at the problem. You have to have a strategy that works. I explain the importance of creating an effective marketing strategy and more in my next post.
– John Hillman, CEO