Experts Say Don’t Cut PR in a Down Economy – PerkettPR’s “PR Stimulus Package” Can Help

In this time of economic uncertainty, many organizations pull in their marketing efforts and go under the radar in an effort to save money. However, some of the most experienced business executives have suggested that slashing PR and Marketing is the last thing you should do:

“Historically, PR, Marketing and Advertising budgets are the first to be cut; however, that could be one of the first mistakes a business makes in an economic crisis.” CBSMarketwatch

“In a downturn, aggressive PR and Communications strategy is key.“ Doug Leone, VC, Sequoia Capital -
Silicon Alley Insider

“It’s incredibly important to be risk-takers in the economic climate we’re in, when people have a tendency to pull back. In economic times like these, you don’t hunker down and go in the bunker,” Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Hewlett-Packard
New York Times

“Ramp up PR and marketing communications aggressively,” Marketing Sherpa, (summary of Sequoia Capital presentation takeaways)

“Don’t go to the ledge. Don’t let the urgent overwhelm the important. It’s very easy now to panic, and we cannot panic. Invest in your brands now, especially in these dry times. The easiest thing is to shut down, and that’s the worst thing.” Joseph V. Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer, Coca-Cola
New York Times

So what can you do and how can we help?

So you’re not HP or Coca-Cola and you definitely need to watch your marketing budget. We want to help you do so without giving up on PR and Marketing. As a result, for any organization that partners with PerkettPR by 12/31/08, we’ll include a social media boot camp at no cost and an incentive-driven three month trial for your PR campaign*.

Why social media? Well, there’s a lot of chatter about PR and social media these days. In particular, a recent panel event hosted by an industry peer stirred up the question “Is Social Media Killing PR?” No, social media is not killing PR – in fact, for those who “get it,” social media is making PR stronger and better. But you need to make sure you’re working with someone who understands it – and that happens through participation. PerkettPR has long been participating and learning – and we want to help others understand why social media is a good thing for PR, not a PR killer. In addition, social media is an affordable way to maintain brand presence and increase awareness – when done right.

PerkettPR is proud to have received positive industry feedback about our ability to bridge the gap between traditional PR, “PR 2.0” and social media. Jennifer Leggio of ZDNet recently referred to us in her post “Social Media Will Not Kill PR but it does expose industry weakness” – as one of the handful of PR firms who “get it.” Well-known social media and digital relationship master, Chris Brogan, long ago referred to PerkettPR as an innovative agency leading the way in PR and social media:
“Perkett is versed in the traditional tools of PR, but also skilled in the emerging social media and social networking space. LOTS of organizations are claiming this, and there are lots of leopards out there changing stripes. Christine and her organization are walking the talk. Pick an emerging social network, and I promise you, Christine will have an account, or she’ll have already decided it’s not a value to her clients. That alone is worth your attention and consideration.”

In addition, IT journalists recently rated our firm as one of the Top Tech Communicators – proactively identifying (no predetermined list) PerkettPR as a “best of the best” to work with, in a survey by PRSourceCode. Mike Arrington of TechCrunch calls us “one of the good guys” and says, “When you guys call, I pick up the phone,” in the comments of his August post about PR.

PR is important and social media is a new and crucial element to enhancing its effectiveness. Work with us to learn how to maximize your PR and marketing efforts even in a down economy. Consider it our “PR Stimulus Package.”

*You can contact me directly at 781.834.5852 or cperkett[at]perkettpr.com to hear details and learn more. Better yet, connect with me or our firm on Twitter!

For more on the importance and influence of social media, read:

Moms and Motrin, New York Times

The Five Questions Companies Ask About Social Media, Web Strategy blog by Jeremiah

Social Media will Change your Business, BusinessWeek

How Twittering Critics Brought Down Motrin Mom Campaign, AdAge

Social Media: A Business Marketer’s Guide, iMedia Connection

  • B.

    As an HP employee, I find it difficult to believe Mendenhall’s words. How is slashing more than 40% of his corporate marketing staff less than a month ago not “pulling back” on our marketing efforts? New marketing hires and 2009 budgets have been frozen, and it feels exactly like we’re hunkering down and hiding in a bunker … yet our CMO is publicly speaking about the importance of being risk-takers. Seems like a bit of a disconnect.

  • http://www.ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    I agree that PR, marketing, and advertising should remain in vogue — with the caveat they are part of an INTEGRATED campaign with social media. If you remove the social media aspect, you get the cliche Motrin from the weekend.

    Social media may not be a cure-all for every industry, or even every company, but it must be seriously considered.

    Thankfully, folks like you all at PerkettPR know what’s a real avenue and what’s not worthwhile.

  • http://www.seanbohan.com Sean Bohan

    great post, and ditto to Ari’s comment about integration.

    Digital is no longer sitting at the kid’s table (to use a thanksgiving meme) and clients big&small are looking at digital more and more because it is measurable, effective and has a lower volume cost. Social Media isn’t going to replace anything, it wont end the need for PR or Advertising, but when it is done right and works it might actually enhance the other channels a client uses to reach users (like tv, like community, events, etc.).

  • http://www.SEO-writer.com David Leonhardt

    So true. During the 80s recession, Canadian Tire kept up its marketing, and by the time people were ready to let loose with their pent-up demand, guess where they headed with their money?

    @ Ari Bfore you judge too harshly the Motrin ad issue, let’s see what the sales figures for the next few months are. They have brand awareness like never before. If enough people watch TV and see the streams of ads in almost any product category ridiculing men and fatherhood, anger might subside and people will spend on the brand they are most aware of. Perhaps not forgiven, but possibly forgotten.

  • http://www.perkettpr.com Christine Perkett

    B, I’m sorry to hear that HP has not been able to honor what their original intentions were. I think this economic crisis has cut deeper and wider than any of us anticipated and has caused much more change than what many business owners originally expected. I understand your frustration and am sorry to hear it but everyone has been put into situations that are difficult – both employers and employees alike. Perhaps this quote was provided prior to some unexpected and deeply affecting changes for HP – I am not sure. But I do wish you luck in your position and I hope that things continue to improve for us all. Thank you for reading.

    Ari – I completely agree on integration! I have noticed a pattern that whenever we speak about social media, prospects begin to panic that we don’t do “traditional” PR and marketing as well. They are not exclusive from one another. Thank you again for all of your support of PerkettPR – and for reading and commenting!

    Sean – agreed as well. Digital is enhancing, not replacing. I’m not quite sure why people tend to lean towards one or the other and not see the inclusiveness. What has your experience been? Also, thanks for reading!

    David, I love the Canadian Tire example – thank you for sharing it. I know it’s hard to imagine spending money on anything but what you say rings so true – and quite frankly I think that with the advent of social media, we can make marketing efforts continue to happen – and affordable – even in a down market. For smaller companies that can’t afford TV ads or direct mail marketing campaigns, social media can help keep awareness front and center … again, If you know how to use it right (and not spam!). Thank you for reading and commenting as well – we really appreciate it.

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  • http://www.ariwriter.com/ Ari Herzog

    I agree that PR, marketing, and advertising should remain in vogue — with the caveat they are part of an INTEGRATED campaign with social media. If you remove the social media aspect, you get the cliche Motrin from the weekend.

    Social media may not be a cure-all for every industry, or even every company, but it must be seriously considered.

    Thankfully, folks like you all at PerkettPR know what's a real avenue and what's not worthwhile.