Yesterday in the beautiful surroundings of the Soho Farmhouse, we held a unique event looking at modern marketing and PR. Together with marketing agency Junction, we bought together many of the industry’s leading figures to talk about the challenges of today’s marketing and communications strategies, and how to best integrate PR and marketing. With ever demanding consumers across both the B2B and B2C arenas we discussed the importance of making your communications strategy stand out.
Jen Morris from Rant & Rave discussed how the customer engagement platform has embraced intelligent and unique ways to reach its audience. Unusually for a B2B brand it has brought in fun, quirky mascots to really connect with end users, and turned to events, where they have implemented a strict ‘no-sales’ rule. By focusing on fun, value-added events, Rant & Rave have been able to build a strong relationship with customers that ultimately led to even stronger sales. Andrea Collins from Sophos also pointed to the importance of bringing fun into marketing and understanding your audience. People buy people, and by remembering that you can better implement campaigns that really work. One way Sophos is doing that is by building relationships with its customers through quirky gifts, like fun socks, which are becoming talking points at events. Tongue in check videos and IT survival kits also help build the connection without a hard sell.
Jen and Andrea then joined a panel including Nick Peart from Zendesk and Megan Collins from Paragon. A key theme from the day was to put your audience and message at the heart of an campaign, no matter what channel you will use to reach them. Channels are ever evolving, but brands should focus on who they are trying to reach and then talk to them on their terms, in their own language. Just talking about product features is no good, when what your customers care about is the user benefit. Likewise, beware of internal jargon; just because your sales team talks in acronyms doesn’t mean your customers will. As communicators we must think carefully about what audiences want, and how they will speak about, and seek out a product or service.
So what is the reality of PR and marketing today? We’re in such a fast moving space that it’s incredibly hard to pin it down to just one thing. With an ever growing number of ways to reach your customers, and increasing competition for their attention, to make your communications stand out you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Don’t get overwhelmed by the volume of ways to reach them, but focus on a clear message and a strategic, flexible plan. Measure, test, learn and improve. What’s clear is that we are moving towards a much more integrated approach to marketing, PR and sales, which will ultimately mean better results and happier customers.