In too many organizations, marketing and public relations are often considered more tactical functions that simply support larger business initiatives. In some instances, higher-cost promotional channels can all too easily be relegated to a secondary, discretionary role, especially during periods of economic uncertainty.
First, this means that any given marketing program, however ambitious, must be directly aligned with organizational strategy. Secondly, and more importantly, any such program is only as good as the manager behind it. The savviest marketers develop campaigns that are creative, cost-effective, and collaborative.
While the first two criteria are generally straightforward, securing support from your extended influencer network of peers, leadership, media and other key advocates is not always as easily accomplished. This is particularly true in larger organizations where marketing must serve many masters. At the very core, it’s a matter of trust, an asset which is earned through credibility and the cultivation of relationships with key decision-makers in which each party has an ongoing vested interest.
Toward this end, it’s essential to distinguish your short-term goals from the longer-term ones. Your short-term goal, for example, may be to secure executive buy-in for an integrated marketing campaign to raise consumer awareness of your brand. Your longer-term goal, if your campaign is ultimately successful, should be to build on this foundation of trust to better help ensure a receptive ear — that is, approval — for your future recommendations.
Throughout my communications career, I have found that securing this invaluable level of credibility and confidence is not just about whether my employer or client was featured in a particular story. What’s often more important is how they were included or, in some cases, whether they were included at all. This discipline is far from an exact science. At the tactical level, it requires a thorough understanding of one’s audience, the most impactful messages and positioning to properly educate those audiences. Ultimately, however, it’s all about establishing mutually-beneficial relationships that will work with you, and for you, to accomplish both your program deliverables and professional goals.
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