Public and media relations can be a heck of a service to sell, especially when a potential client is new to the function: there are no guarantees, neither agency nor client can control coverage, and you pay a fee whether the placements happen or not.
So why in the world should anyone consider hiring a PR firm?
To begin, take a look at your industry's competitive landscape. In the wine and culinary realm, competition is extremely intense, and there are far more products than there are slots on retailers' shelves or in consumers' wine collections. Are you getting a share over the coverage of your industry?
PR done well helps your company stand out from the very crowded crowd.
Then assess your company's performance. A lot of what we do in the wine world is share stories -- are you and your entire team able to tell a captivating story that engages your customers? And back it up with third party endorsement?
Further, are you attracting the right customers? (Or are you even known?) Selling through inventory on an acceptable turn cycle? Achieving targets for wine club membership, online sales and profitability? Growing according to your vision?
PR is not a magic solution for business challenges, as there are often multiple problems when performance is lagging. However, PR done well can help increase awareness and drive sales. In our 2014 agency report, we found the following statistically significant findings for investment in PR and media relations:
1. PR is associated with larger wine club size. Increased frequency of engaging media predicted larger wine club size. Those who engaged the media were 1.6 times more likely to have a larger wine club.
2. PR is associated with selling more wine direct to consumer and more wine online. Increased frequency of engaging the media predicted increased percentage of cases sold directly to consumers. For each increase in how often the media were engaged, the odds of selling direct cases online increased by 2.7 times.
And finally, question your readiness. Even if you understand the value of enhancing your share of press coverage and and how PR can help business performance, you may not be in a position to benefit from an investment in an agency's services.
Does your product offer excellent and consistent quality given the price? Are you willing to commit time to nurturing the relationships that precede coverage? Once you get the coverage, are you able to market to and well serve the customers whose loyalty you desire? And finally, do you have a budget set aside to make a long-term investment in telling your story?
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