Marketing Communications

Marketing Communications is a term bandied about many, but practiced by few.

We’ve often said that public relations, or in this case, marketing communications simply is not about “ink,” not about space clients get in the media. It’s about strategy.

Unequivocally, the media is critical to a marketing communications campaign, but it is virtually ineffectual if not approached in a strategic manner. It goes almost without saying that the public trusts television or print news, i.e. editorial content, considerably more than advertising. But in the current age of “celebrity journalism,” the public’s also remarkably savvy in separating, to be somewhat trite, the wheat from the chaff on the editorial side.

These issues make marketing communications a vital element in most marketing campaigns, but that vitality is lost when a campaign is not designed from the ground up, and in specific conjunction with the development of the overall marketing campaign. And, contemporary marketing communications is, if designed properly, attention getting, but through adherence to a marketing plan that calls for publicity to be directed to specific audiences, at specific times, with specific messages.

It is most assuredly not a news release or a series of news releases filled with hyperbole and disseminated on the “National” circuit of one of the news release dissemination services. No longer is it appropriate just to get attention, as the “mention my product to anyone at anytime” philosophy becomes confusing and obfuscates the overall marketing plan. In short, it is ineffective communications.

But most marketing managers, as well as public relations firms simply cannot see marketing communications as much more than product publicity tool, notwithstanding the fact that people buy newspapers and magazines, as mentioned earlier, to read editorial content, not advertising. Presumably this is because the editorial content that contains the marketing information on a particular product does not carry sufficient regular exposure to get the product message across.

Consequently, marketing communications often simply plays a support role for advertising messages. If a PR firm or company views marketing communications as a vehicle for product publicity, this is true. However, if you consider marketing communications as a positioning tool, the whole campaign changes.

Many marketing managers tend to want to buy there way into publicity over a very short period of time with big exposure via big advertising dollars. This generally is not effective, as meaningful impressions are formed gradually over a period of time and that’s not something that big dollars alone can achieve. One doesn’t necessarily make an instant decision about a product or issue from having read one, or even several articles, nor do they automatically form lasting impressions from any single product advertising campaign.

A company cannot effectively achieve a solid positive reputation for itself over a short period of time; and if it tries to, it must be willing to risk the opportunist label, or worse as a result. If a company does not appear on the horizon of consumer awareness on day one, so to speak, it cannot expect to be positively positioned there on day two. “Positively positioned” because a crisis will put it on that horizon overnight.

About Stern And Company

Stern And Company, based in Las Vegas, develops and implements strategic corporate communications, financial relations and marketing programs for public and private companies.

All of our professionals have extensive senior-level experience as financial journalists with major publications or as communications executives at leading major corporations. Our firm’s practice areas include corporate and financial relations, public relations, strategic and product marketing, crisis communications, transaction communications, restructurings, bankruptcies and litigation support.

Stern And Company
Strategic Communications
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