You don’t need advertising budget to get results, let earned media do the signalling

A lot has changed since our last blog on how PR and Marketing strategies would be impacted by budget cuts mostly caused by lockdown and the pandemic. Fast forward two years and we’re here again with a different crisis but similar outcome.

According to the latest forecasts from the Advertising Association (AA) and WARC, growth in advertising spend is set to stall this year as cautious brands pull back on activity in the wake of cost-of-living increases and continued uncertainty. In the UK, advertising spend has fallen in the final quarter of the year since 2009 and other countries around the world such as the U.S. are also feeling the advertising pinch. In a separate research from Nielsen, over two-thirds (69%) of marketers globally say economic conditions had “an extreme or significant impact” on their planning for this year.

Regardless of where the spending is split, PR and Marketers are certainly more budget conscious and it’s up to B2B teams to prove their mettle. As one door closes, another one opens – and in this case we’re talking about the value of earned media channels. We’re no strangers to singing the praises of earned coverage but now more than ever cost-effective PR and Marketing strategies are top of the agenda as B2B teams learn how to get maximum brand exposure with minimum spend.

Earned media, when combined with a trusted industry thought-leader and quality content, can build significant trust and credibility – two components that are critical to the B2B sales funnel. It’s all about Influencer Marketing – and it’s definitely not about Pay-for-Play. Remember your prospects can see through pay-for-play opportunities in a flash!

Strong brand reputation can’t be bought, so use those earned channels to your advantage. In today’s diverse media landscape, PR and Marketing teams are no longer limited to a handful of established newspapers and broadcast outlets as digital publications, social media channels, and blogs can provide the perfect platform to raise brand awareness and connect directly with target audiences. Not an advertising penny in sight!

PR Agency performance comes under the measurement spotlight at a time when PR and Marketing teams are under pressure to produce relevant and quality coverage on limited budgets. The power and value of earned media takes center stage.

A wake-up call to re-think your marketing and communications strategy

We all need to re-consider our ongoing communications strategy to take advantage of these new business opportunities and make up for any that were lost during the pandemic. Prospects are already looking for information on how to deal with the new reality and so are the editors of the key magazines they read. So now is the time to produce new content or adapt your existing material to help them both. There’s lots to be done and by starting to prepare now you can be up and running before your competitors.

But most marketing budgets have perforce been reduced – anything from 50 to 100%. How many businesses will rush to return to marketing spends at pre-COVID-19 levels?

Do the results match the big retainer?

Companies will start to look more forensically into the money they are spending on agencies charging high retainers – $10k to $15K monthly fee is usually just a starter before they get on to special projects – and begin to look for results. The media coverage, the engagement with influencers, the lead generation pipeline, the prospect account nurturing?

Get up to speed fast – take advantage immediately of new market opportunities

Before you consider returning to your high cost, high administration and big-name agency, come and talk to IBA. We have pioneered a revolutionary new Pitch&Place service that works from a single content hub. It slashes your agency costs and guarantees regular coverage in your top industry publications. We’ll produce a regular stream of monthly blogs, opinion pieces and by-lined thought leadership articles covering the changes in your market. All of this is supported by regular social content which will allow you to establish a reputation and industry leadership.

One geography costs less than $3,000 per month, with the cost reducing as you add more geographies worldwide or more markets – a fraction of the ad equivalency cost for a single country or global campaign. You’ll return to pre-COVID-19 PR activity levels at a third of the cost – you don’t need to spend more to get great results.

IBA calls the big-name agency’s bluff

Our method is tried and tested. It’s fast and guaranteed to work because we’ve developed the service with a mix of start-ups and tech industry leaders. You can be up and running in a month – before your competitors have even started to reorganize. And you’ll start to see immediate coverage – see how it works here. For more ideas about what it can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact us via email. You can also keep in touch with us by following @IBAPR and @iBAengage on Twitter and IBA International on LinkedIn.

Jamie Kightley is Head of Client Services at IBA International.

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