Any professional can get into a groove and follow the same routine of how they do things. This makes sense: It’s part standardizing processes for efficiency, and part “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But communications professionals know that if their campaigns are going to rise above every other message coming at buyers and influencers across channels, “don’t fix it” is not the path to continued success or better results.
The new standard in communications playbooks is to require PR pros and marketers to get out of their groove and mix things up.
Experimentation and trying new tactics must be integrated into your communications planning process.
However, just adding a field titled “What’s New” to your marketing and PR campaign brief may not supply the spark needed.
In an environment of tight budgets, constrained execution windows and limited staff time, it may be hard to get into the mindset of exploring new channels and tactics. This article is here to help, outlining a few ways to inspire your colleagues – and yourself – to mix it up.
1. Extend into adjacencies.
A relatively easy way to take your program further is to add an activity or target an audience that’s similar to those activities and audiences already successfully deployed and reached.
For instance, perhaps your social media promotions have performed particularly well. An adjacent tactic could be to add paid social, targeting specific job titles and driving them to the same landing page for download.
While the cost in time and money is not zero, doing something new but close to actions you’ve already taken is not as complicated as powering up an entirely new activity.
2. Do less.
One danger of following a standard playbook is what I think of as “bringing a sledgehammer when a tack hammer will do.”
Expending the same amount of precious marketing and communications resources on every project is not always optimal, and may divert energy from projects that really need extra juice.
Does every new enhancement really require an identical level of promotion?
Sure, you may need to take a deep breath before saying “this time we’ll be doing less of X to accomplish Y and Z” and your colleagues may think the latest new product feature deserves all the attention in the world.
However, rather than supporting the latest feature with every paid and owned channel in the playbook, perhaps updating your client onboarding program will better target the users who will most benefit from and be most satisfied with the enhancement.
Keep in mind that the most important thing about doing less is that it may help supply the resources to do more on your next campaign.
3. Do more.
This can be a straightforward way of mixing it up, and if “do less” is underway elsewhere, you may be on your way to lining up the budget and staff resources necessary.
As an example, if a press release was an effective way to promote your last white paper, this may be the opportunity to invest in a series of releases announcing subsets of new research findings by different industries.
4. Add new.
Filling in your brief’s”What’s New” field with a genuinely new promotion method or channel is likely very satisfying. After all, marketers and communicators like new things! And again, if you are do(ing) less in other parts of your program, the required resources may be available.
But where to start on what to add? Here’s where you should go back to your playbook. Review the goals and target audiences you outlined; from there, you can identify additional ways to reach and nurture prospects.
Let’s say your programs do really well in bringing contacts into your funnel, but the close rate has plateaued. Perhaps your “Add New” program item is to build out a new content set designed for late-stage conversion opportunities.
5. Stretch time.
Another way to break out of your groove is to mix up the timing of your efforts. Let’s say your playbook calls for a big splash for “launch day,” but then communications quickly fade out. Has your audience really had enough time to discover and absorb your message and content?
For major projects and themes, compressing your efforts into a short timeframe may not be optimal. Instead of everything happening at once for a big launch, spread out efforts to give your current clients time to absorb the new information and your prospects time to find and engage with your campaign’s content.
This could include scheduling exclusive previews for the media and key customer advocates ahead of Day 1, delivering a new demo with the official announcement, and then creating a promotion calendar that rolls out new content in your owned channels over the next several months.
6. Compress time.
On the flip side, there may be programs that work better when the promotional elements are run on a tightly knit timeframe. Successfully recruiting webinar attendees may benefit from a shorter promotion timeline as prospects feel the urgency to Register Now when the date is fast approaching.
7. Reorient strategy to your audience mindset.
Do you still know your audience as well as you once did? Or have they moved on while you’re still working out of a playbook developed a few cycles ago?
When Topic X was top of mind, your programs made your organization the go-to resource, but now your audience has moved on.
Repositioning the expertise of your organization to where community mindshare is heading is another way to mix it up.
The final idea to mix up your programs is to make “What’s Being Tested” a part of the playbook, too. Experimentation and A/B testing are the best ways to inform how you can “mix it up” in your future programs – from sharing visual content in an adjacent social channel to modifying email subject lines according to your audience’s current concerns.
Methodically evaluating how you mix it up will be the foundation for campaigns that break through and connect with your target audiences. Download Reach Your Communications Objectives with an Intelligent Mix of Tactics for more inspiration.
Author Eva Rohrmann is the director of solutions and customer lifecycle marketing for PR Newswire, designing integrated programs for communicators across the PR, marketing, and IR spheres.
2 Comments on Blog Post Title
Thanks for the interesting post!
Interesting opinion. I think that it’s useful advices for me because I work at mobile app development sphere.I try to apply all points of this list.