Last week, CommsCo attended Marketo’s ‘Marketing Nation London’ at the QE11 in Westminster. An international roadshow that takes in Boston, Chicago and London, the event’s next stop is sunny San Francisco. The day held an array of amazing speakers, from Marketo’s Chief Operating Officer, Greg Wolfe, to the Head of Marketing Strategy & Operations at Fujitsu, Alex MacAdam.
The event focussed on the ‘Engagement Economy’, a concept that Greg Wolfe described as really engaging with customers, even though there are so many products, and so much information out there. In the Engagement Economy, companies need to be the signal within the noise, around the channel where they want to be reached.
So, how do companies become successful in the Engagement Economy? For one thing, content needs to be personalised and completely relevant for the customer it’s pointed at. If a customer uses Facebook as their primary social media platform, they should be reached via Facebook with content that is suitable and personalised to them. If a customer prefers email, they should be reached via a personalised email. The onus is on companies to know their customers and approach them suitably.
Jason Sibley, the CEO of Creation Agency, argued at Marketing Nation London that personalisation is more than just adding in a name and job title to an email, and he’s right. With so many businesses reaching out to customers, companies need to be aware of how to utilise and succeed at the Engagement Economy with authentic content, or their competitors might just pip them to the post.
How does this all relate to PR? In fact, the PR world already buys into the its own kind of Engagement Economy when it comes to media outreach—a PR company wouldn’t put a HR-focused client forward for a high-street fashion opportunity (well, good ones won’t). Similarly, it’s the PR professional’s job to know how journalists like to be contacted, as some love a reply to a #journorequest on Twitter, whereas others hate anyone calling them on the phone.
This concept also applies to understanding media publications. If the potential customer your client is trying to reach is based in London, publications like the Evening Standard, City AM and Metro will be ideal, whereas if the potential customer is highly technical, technology magazines or publications should be approached. When it comes to the Engagement Economy in PR, trying to fit square pegs into round holes will not lead to good results.
However, it isn’t just during media outreach that PR professionals need to utilise the Engagement Economy. Understanding the client’s business and which stakeholders to approach for different opportunities is paramount for effective PR. With technical opportunities or articles, the CTO or CIO should be the spokesperson, with the business-lead opportunities should be a different stakeholder.
When it comes to reaching out to journalists and clients, there is no room for generic, un-personalised content. A personal touch shows that you, as a PR, care – or at least know – about who you’re contacting and what they do, and this has a big impact, not only on results, but on your professional standing and credibility.