by Edward M. Yang
1. PR is cheaper than advertising
Think about magazine ads in either widely distributed magazines or more industry-specific magazines. Either way, you’re looking at about $6,000 for a full page ad. And that’s not including the creative, graphics designing and time spent for multiple approvals. When it’s done, you have an ad that if you’re lucky, 10% of people will look at and even fewer will remember. Since advertising proponents constantly tout the need for repeated advertising frequency, you’re looking at close to $50,000 for an extended ad campaign with little or no effect.
That same $50,000 could get you at least one year’s worth of Firecracker PR services, and with a properly crafted strategy, could positively impact your sales multiple times over.
For a great look at the end of advertising, read “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” by Ries and Ries. All new Firecracker clients will receive this book free!
2. If you hit it big, you can hit it BIG
Coming up with a strategic PR plan, a little bit of good luck and timing, and a lot of pitches to the press can result in a huge payday. The power of the press and an innovative campaign that strikes a cord with your target audience can do wonders for sales.far greater than any ad campaign unless you have the millions of dollars it would take to run a far reaching advertising run.
3. PR has credibility, advertising has no credibility
The reason why PR is so much more powerful than advertising boils down to credibility. When we view ads, we know we are being sold to. When a DJ or a newsperson talks about a company, we think they are an impartial third party of information. Therefore, we take what they have to say much more seriously. Think of the Apple iPod vs any other MP3 player. Despite the tremendous marketing behind other MP3 players, why is the iPod still by far the market leader? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people in the media or press talk about their iPod, and by that, they are tacitly endorsing the product. You need to have a product or campaign that people in the media talk about. And the first step is getting in front of them.
4. We are bombarded with advertising
Related to the point above, the average person is bombarded by ads more than ever now. We hear it non-stop in the morning on the radio. Our TV shows are interrupted by them every 12 minutes. Ads pop up on the Internet. Athletes of certain sports are tattooed with them. We open a magazine and 15 different irritating cards fall out.
Now do you believe that ads are not credible?
The fact of the matter is, if it’s an ad, we’ve trained ourselves to tune it out. And even the odd catchy ad that does manage to make us chuckle doesn’t do enough to actually make us use or buy the product. Take the Pets.com sock puppet. Even though everyone was aware of the puppet, it didn’t change the fact that selling pet food over the Internet wasn’t that great a value proposition.
5. PR is highly creative
PR needs creativity to be effective. Simply putting out a press release once a month isn’t going to do it. You need to think from the point of view of the writers and editors. What do they care about right now? What do their readers care about? Why would they want to write about you? What will separate you from the hundreds of other pitches they get?
6. PR can build powerful brands
The number one misconception is that advertising builds brands. Nothing could be further from the truth. PR builds brands, and advertising maintains them. Think about companies such as eBay, Amazon, Red Bull, Starbucks, Palm. All were built by publicity. It wasn’t until their brands were established that they began advertising campaigns. To grow your brand, you need PR.
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