Building a bridge between traditional PR and digital marketing

Since its first use in 1906, the press release has been a cornerstone of public relations campaigns. If well written, a PR can help a company establish and maintain its key message and raise awareness of its latest news.  However, many are starting to think that traditional marketing techniques, such as PRs, aren’t cost effective, don’t improve communications with target audiences and their success is too hard to measure. So, with the implementation of ‘new’ digital marketing methods soaring – how does the future look for traditional PR?

‘New’ marketing isn’t so new anymore

The first social media site was launched in 1997 which means ‘new’ digital marketing isn’t just a fad; it’s almost 20 years old! According to Brandwatch, in March 2016 the internet had 3.17 billion users and 2.3 billion of these people were active social media users. In response to this, 93% of B2B marketers are now using social media in their marketing plans, with half of these generating leads through digital campaigns.

Social media is an integral part of many people’s daily life, and this has made social sharing an important tool for companies trying to build their brand, engage with their target audience, and grow their business. One example of using social media to enhance traditional PR methods is the ClickToTweet tool. ClickToTweet enables users to create a custom tweetable link, which can be shared and tracked over time. A great way to use this tool is to link it to a press release. Readers can instantly tweet a story, using an approved company message, bringing a new lease of life to traditional marketing methods.click2tweet

There are many elements of digital marketing including online banner adverts, websites, blogs and eDM campaigns, all designed to be immediate and reach specific audiences. With gaming apps, such as Pokémon GO, having more players than there are accounts on Twitter, digital marketing is becoming increasingly versatile, targeted and more integrated into everyday life.

Digital analyst and author, Brian Solis, said ‘social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.’ As social media is typically shared by friends or colleagues, it can generate trust levels of 70% or more, while only 15% trust paid mass advertising. People can respond and interact with social media posts and digital campaigns, aiding in memory retention and impact as people remember much more by engaging rather than just reading. Furthermore, there is a permanency with digital marketing as it stays on the web, and can be shared long after it has been published. Powerful reporting metrics mean results and success can be easily measured, helping to demonstrate return on investment. These areas are where social media has a clear advantage over traditional marketing.

As the way in which customers find information changes, inbound marketing and search engine optimisation are more important then ever. As a result, many companies, including those in the science and technology industry, are investing more marketing budget in digital media. As scientific audiences increasingly consume more information and carry out research through digital sources, it’s critical to have a well-developed plan for marketing in this arena.

If digital is so dynamic, should we ditch traditional marketing? 

Digital marketing has a number of benefits for science and technology businesses wanting to reach their target audience. However, the challenge with social media is that it is difficult to scale quickly. Free social media marketing can take months or years to generate interest and engagement from potential customers. This can be accelerated with paid advertising or sponsored posts on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. While traditional advertising can be costly and shorter-term, it can produce large scale results quickly. Furthermore, trade shows remain the top source for B2B lead generation, with 82% of marketers saying they generate high-quality leads at events.

Integration – The key to innovation

The key to success is to integrate proven, traditional PR and marketing with digital tactics to increase research, flexibility, and measureable engagement.

B2B relationships are rarely about an immediate one-off transaction. Instead, it is about building a reputation, demonstrating capability and showcasing credibility which can be done through digital marketing. Integration of traditional media with social media requires a fresh way of thinking and evolving old methods: post seminars online, tweet news and spread company messaging over a wide range of channels.

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, so if you want an agency that is open to innovative PR approaches, while still being experts in traditional methods, give us a call on +44 (0) 1477 539 539 or email on [email protected].

By Madison Dunn, Account Executive at The Scott Partnership