Can growth marketing and public relations work together. Growth marketing is about customer acquisition and retention, often through paid media, with relentless iterations and deeply engaged knowledge of the consumer. Public relations is reputation management of a company’s image, often through earned media and deep understanding of broader cultural and media trends. So what do they have in common? On the surface, not much, but when you dig deeper into the tactics and the metrics, we can see where together growth marketing and public relations can work together successfully.
Suppose the business objective for a consumer product launch is to increase sales through decreasing competitors’ market share. In that case, a digitally savvy PR agency knows how to do competitive research of the entire digital landscape and media landscape and use that data to determine the opportunities to overtake a competitor, while a growth marketer is reviewing how the company attracts customers and retains customers. But where do growth marketing and public relations work together?
Data Driven KPIs
Today’s modern PR firms and PR campaigns should be tied to business goals and identified public relations metrics that support and funnel up into that goal. While growth marketers are developing ads, PR agencies are developing ways to capture the target audience’s imagination. PR agencies may present a word-of-mouth activation or a targeted quality over-quantity earned media campaign that overlaps targeted audiences. A PR agency might also recommend content which can boost SEO and support brand values that interest and retain customers. Just like a growth marketer, a modern PR agency is tracking metrics. What metrics might a PR agency track in the above scenario?
- Mention Quality
- Article Reach
- Brand Placement in Article
- Share of Voice
- Domain Authority
All of the above PR metrics are measures of awareness and credibility. These metrics support top-of-funnel AND bottom-of-funnel customer journeys and can support growth marketing efforts with a keen eye on target audiences and messaging which supports growth marketing.
The Digital PR Toolkit
For growth marketers, the digital tool kit is primarily paid (but not exclusively); for growth marketing PR, the digital tool kit is primarily owned (but not solely). But there are a few areas where growth marketing and growth PR connect. One of those is SEO. For the growth marketer, SEO provides opportunities for retargeting and organic acquisition, growth marketing PR adds value to both. With a savvy eye on keywords and quality inbound links, PR supports growth marketing objectives to funnel into business objectives.
That’s not all; PR agencies working with media outlets to build revenue opportunities can help growth marketing with a high domain authority on inbound links as well as excellent reviews from credible media outlets, which send potential new customers searching for the product. These reviews could be in gift guides or hero reviews where the consumer product receives an in-depth study that meets Google’s product review update recommendations. Meanwhile, growth marketers will typically focus on reviews from influencers or existing customers. And a brand with positive customer reviews gives a journalist further confidence in a brand and a product.
Today, PR and growth marketing can use some of the same tools, they use them slightly differently:
- Inbound Links
- Owned Media
- Credible Review Acquisition
Credibility: Where PR Fills The Gap
I often tell our clients PR creates the awareness and solidifies reputation; ads are the conversion driver – that’s how they work together, and they both work better. Why? It’s simple: earned media from credible media outlets is more trusted than paid ads. But few journalists look at it as their job to write conversion-focused marketing copy. The journalist’s job is traditionally to create the content that keeps you on the pages. From a longer tail and more strategic point of view – PR also builds brand credibility on the corporate level, trusted brands have faster aquisition and they have longer customer retention, meaning growth marketing is even more influential.
So when someone sees a great review of a product, and THEN they see the ad, they get the trigger to purchase the product, or maybe they sign up for a newsletter, or maybe the look for more reviews and do a Google search that lands them on another referral site. The pathways are endless, but they all come back to one thing: supporting the brand’s business goal.
I’m a fan of understanding and maximizing the media environment for our clients. The Avaans Media client is ambitious and goal driven, so understanding how our jobs support overall marketing strategies and business goals is essential. When we evaluate the landscape for our clients, we find a distinct point of view, and because our tools are different than growth marketers, we can glean insights and data that drive new insights. To be honest, I’m not concerned with being a purist about owned, earned, and paid. It’s the job of a digitally savvy PR agency to know what levers to pull when and how to shape campaigns that create success. That’s our job – and that’s why growth marketers and public relations can be best buddies.