Digital media platforms have blurred traditional marketing disciplines… including the line that has long separated public relations and marketing.
Today, both marketing and PR work together to tap into social networks, blogs, content marketing and other approaches to directly influence traditional media, non-traditional media - and customers. In fact, this is the essence of B2B marketing.
Online distribution offers opportunities for PR to maximise global coverage and proliferate messages in near real-time at a fraction of the cost of distributing through offline channels.
We understand how PR works with marketing, how digital works with traditional, how PR creates important content for the website, how our expertise allows us to write better releases and technical articles because we know the technology, how PR helps build online communities and how to use an intelligent combination of traditional and digital PR for maximum, cost-effective impact.
Let's face it, money and technology are driving the convergence of PR and marketing. Budgets are shrinking and technology allows us to do more with less. At Vertical, we're tactic and platform-agnostic. We take a 360° view of things: we'll use whatever works and don't really care if it's labeled traditional, digital or social media.
Too many agencies are writing too many boring press releases. How many times can you read the same stale sentences? In fact, you can take out one company's name and replace it with a competitor's and the release doesn't miss a beat. If you have the courage, take one of your old releases and replace your name with a competitor's. Hurts, doesn't it?
"Company B, a leader in world-class customer service and state-of-the-art product design, blah, blah, blah." Please, enough. Do you really think potential customers care or even believe it?
One reason for these stale stories is a lack of creativity and the belief that B2B is boring by its nature. We disagree.
The other reason is that press releases are billable hours for agencies so they write away. Again, we disagree. A well-written release tells an informative story without the hype and spin. One creative release trumps a dozen stuffy ones.
Best of all, if you know what you're doing you can take advantage of today's digital outlets and international reach… one great release can circle the globe in less time than it takes to print a copy and send it to your favourite trade magazine. It's not trite to say that one creative, well-written release is worth its weight in gold.
PS: Don't forget, in today's digital world, a poorly written release can stay around to haunt you for years. Remember, you're the publisher, so make sure what you're putting out is high quality work.
"Customers want a new story… authenticity, not spin… participation, not propaganda."
When you tell an authentic, evocative story you've captured the essence of intelligent marketing. You entertain… you intrigue… you remake the relationship between the product and the user. You build communities. (Why do you think our ancestors sat around a fire telling stories? Stories unite, they foster belief, they bring like-minded people together to share experiences.)
Here's the truth: the days of brands dictating to customers are over in both B2B and B2C. There's no going back. The rise of social media, the decline of traditional media outlets and an increasingly cynical marketplace have radically altered how and why an idea or a new product gains traction.
So, what doesn't change? The need to stand out… the need to create a new category and dominate it… the need to begin with an honest narrative. If you understand the difference between a captivating story and just another silly, intrusive ad, you're light years ahead of most agencies, marketing directors and college professors.
Most B2B technology companies have customers in every corner of the world and distributors or channel partners speaking just about every language you can imagine.
That means marketing materials need to be understood across multiple cultures. There's an art to that, and we've been practicing it for over 23 years.
Our releases, articles and advertising have run in more than 40 countries. That's an accomplishment of which we are very proud (and it speaks volumes about our translation services and cultural sensitivity!).
Get a copy of a recent press release you've sent.
Highlight the text, copy it, then visit http://gobbledygook.grader.com/.
Paste in the text and read the results and (probably) weep.
If you're thinking there's a battle between traditional and digital media you've fallen into a B2C trap.
For B2B technology companies, this isn't an 'either/or' proposition. PR is PR and it needs to be intelligently distributed via any means possible, be they analogue or digital, old media or new. In some technology sectors, trade magazines are still effective in getting your story out. Maybe trade publications don't dominate as they once did, but you'd be a fool to ignore the opportunities they offer.
Intelligent marketing doesn't confuse what the battle is really all about: not media v media but you versus the competition for market share and thought leadership. It's like the old Zen koan about pointing to the moon - if you look at the finger you've missed it!