By Jeannette Bitz
Watching the Dow Jones decline makes me think about how companies manage their marketing and PR spending. Whether you call this a recession or a market re-adjustment, all the doom and gloom about the economy can make any executive who has to watch the bottom line anxious. In my first year as an Engage PR partner (yes, it’s my official anniversary this month), I’m certainly conscious of the money we bring in and the money we spend. I’m always looking at any means possible to spend less, without making an impact on the quality of our employees and the work we do for our clients.
A down economy can actually be a good opportunity to invest time and money in PR – not cut it. Here’s why:
- Chances are your competitors hunker down and spend less during down times. But reporters still need good stories and content. Now is the time when smaller or mid-sized companies that usually have to work hard to vie for news coverage have a chance to drive or influence trends.
- Your customers need to know who you are and that you are maintaining a viable business even during bad economic times.
- Companies that invest in their brands during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and ROI at a lower cost than during good economic times.
What should companies do?
- Avoid treating PR as an event. PR is a process. Focusing PR efforts on news events like product announcements usually yields few results, except for new companies debuting truly unique products. Companies are generally better off spending their resources on establishing thought leadership and driving trends in the blogosphere and technology media. (Link to Zeugma blog and news site).
- Take advantage of the Internet and new media and social media tools to start a dialog with the media and create thought leadership in your company’s market or technology.
- Don’t reduce or eliminate PR spending until an economic turnaround. Companies that do so will lose out to those that take advantage of the down economy.
- If your company is still in development, and especially if you have a category-breaking solution, stay in stealth mode until your product is at least in beta and you have a customer willing to talk to the press. Come to market too soon, without any proof points to show how you’ll succeed, and you may not appear credible.
These tips will help you take advantage of a down market and better a position your company for success once the economy turns around.
Note: Congratulations and thank you to the entire Engage PR team; you’re the reason we were named one of the top technology communicators among small agencies. This honor is a testament to how hard you work to be effective resources for reporters and to your relationships with the media.