We’ve had many a debate with our various PR contacts as to what PR can achieve – is it simply brand awareness? Or can it be aligned with new business and the driving of a sales strategy?
Surely it must be down – in part anyway – to how you define ‘Public Relations’ and what activity is included under this umbrella. We believe it’s about influencing audiences – from media, bloggers, industry bodies through to analysts – but why not your clients’ prospect pipeline. And how does this relate to the power of event-led PR?
With metrics at the forefront of our minds and sales figures at the top of most of our clients’ priorities, we have recently gone one step further with the traditional event-based strategy of roundtable debates with the media. We’ve aligned our PR programmes to our clients’ new business strategy to help get them in front of prospects they’ve not been able to engage with. The golden nugget to the success of these events is the theme or topic for debate. It has to the right and compelling industry issue that we know to be top of mind of both existing customers and prospects. With this knowledge, based on research and feedback from relationships, we’ve developed a proven model of intimate, round-table events to drive attendance with senior contacts looking to learn, network and share their own experiences.
Sometimes we tie in traditional PR with these events, building relevant news stories that support and bring alive the topics under debate – this is especially effective for research-led PR. For others, it’s simply an opportunity to showcase our clients’ knowledge on the topics and ability to pull together industry commentators – from industry bodies or governing bodies for example – as well as leading-lights from the industry who are examples of best practice who have an opinion.
It’s inspiring to see how generous people are with their knowledge, insight and willingness to share learnings. It’s equally refreshing to experience the openness and honesty from individuals who are looking to learn.
What is so powerful about these events is that, although they are sales-led and designed to engage with prospects, they don’t directly ‘sell’ the product or service you are selling. For clients, it’s all about building credibility, where the sales pitch is focused on demonstrating knowledge on the given subject, which naturally aligns to the solution or service a client is fundamentally selling.
We’re getting great feedback from our clients about how these events are engaging with prospects as well as providing an opportunity to engage with senior contacts within their existing customer base to showcase their experience. If we’re honest, we can’t categorically say that the events have delivered a new customer over-the-line yet. But we have had many cases where it has prompted subsequent meetings and progressed engagement. In particular, the events have been successful in getting brand new prospects face-to-face with our clients, where previous outreach hasn’t worked.
So for us, we’re convinced by the power of event-led PR. Why not give it a try?
Director of Firework PR
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