All too often, PR agencies “throw out” deliverables—remember the time spent on securing results that meant everything to your client? How are they using it these days?
- Is it on their “In the News” section of their Web site? Probably.
- Are sales teams using it to demonstrate a product's efficacy? Maybe.
- Do employee e-mail signatures showcase and rotate it? Doubtful.
- Do finance, supply chain, and R&D teams use it? I'm not kidding.
As PR agencies get creative in seeking out new business, the first place to start is right in front of them. By seeking out ways to merchandise coverage either throughout a client's entire suite of operations or your own, you unleash a vast potential business pool—or a means to enhance client value.
Ask clients about all of their business operations—not just processes that involve marketing—at the onset of an engagement. You want to know as many people and teams as possible who are looking to capture a share of voice for the things that they do, or are looking for ways to optimize resources.
At Sidney Maxwell, we worked with a legal and small business solutions provider whose products were sold with several national retailers. Once significant placements were secured, we sat in executive team meetings to think about leveraging opportunities within the company. In one supply chain management meeting, we learned they were printing materials that led to an overabundance of supply in warehouses. We suggested that based on media interest secured in one particular sector, they think about scaling back print runs of other products and placing short-term emphasis on products generating media interest.
With this foresight the company was able to save thousands of dollars in paper costs, printing and labor, and we were invited to partake in other key decisions made about the company's strategic direction.
We are all faced with issues related to measurement. Properly and strategically merchandising your results can go a long way to prove ROI. That makes money for everyone.
Michael Shmarak is founder and principal of Sidney Maxwell PR in Chicago.