Smart PR – The Future is Here

It wasn’t long ago that public relations were considered a poor stepchild to advertising. The big companies would regularly commit the big bucks to buy big blocks of time on national television shows to reach as many potential customers as possible.

 While this still happens (the Super Bowl commands $250,000 for a 30 second commercial) more and more businesses are realizing that throwing gobs of money to try to reach gobs of people is as wasteful as throwing a glass of water out a car and hoping some plants get watered.

 The adage by the wise King Solomon that “nothing is new under the sun” does not hold true in today’s marketing world. First, there are many (and I mean many) more vehicles of communication that have become part of our daily lives. Today there are hundreds of cable television channels, internet websites, internet blogs, specialty magazines, enewsletters and emagazines and the list goes on. There is a communication vehicle for every type of person with every interest.

 So what’s the bottom line?

 Companies have to be in tune with today’s trends, know what their markets are watching, listening to and how they spend their free time, if they want to get their attention. That’s why Smart PR is the wave of the future. Smart PR is a catchy term for the idea that you want to get your product or service in front of people who can and will buy it – in the most cost-effective manner possible.

 Some call is Buzz marketing, when everybody is talking about your product. But let’s face it. Most products don’t create Buzz, and those that do, tend to be large companies who end up spending lots of money to create Buzz. What every company needs to do is approach its marketing in a “smarter” and more targeted manner, starting with a PR Plan.

Here are the basic questions to consider and address: 

– Where and how does your product fits into the marketplace?

– How is your product unique and different? 

– Who are your target market(s)?

–          Demographically

–          Geographically

How can you get to your target markets(s)?

–            Where do they live?

–            What is their lifestyle?  

–            What do they read?

–            What do they watch?

–            What do they listen to?

–            How do they spend their free time?

–            How do they communicate with one another?           

Answering the above, you can then begin to structure a PR campaign that targets your market, using one or more media that fits the lifestyle and habits of those you want to target. 

For example, if you are selling a trendy shoe to teens, you probably won’t want to advertise on 60 Minutes. But you might want to find the coolest boutique shoe stores in major markets and work with them on displays and promotions. You may want to get internet chatrooms and internet blogs talking about your product. You may want to identify upscale schools in target cities and give your shoes to student “leaders” who will give the product visibility. Some of this is called guerrilla marketing. I call it SmartPR.

Since most company executives are busy creating and producing products, a SmartPR consultant can be very helpful. If your current PR consultant produces boring news releases and calls that PR, get his/her termination papers ready. A SmartPR pro will pinpoint the trends, the markets and get your product to the right people who have the means and inclination to actually buy your product. This applies to all products – whether it is a cool new basketball shoe, or an insurance policy. All the same principles apply. If you’re doing any PR for your company at all, it should be SmartPR.

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