For small businesses and nonprofits alike, the decision to enhance marketing and public relations capacity – be it internally or externally – is one that requires careful analysis. While marketing and public relations services are undoubtedly an investment, a strategic integrated PR/marketing strategy can help to achieve overall strategic and business goals. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to when is the right time to hire a PR/marketing agency, these five key signs often mean it’s time to enhance your PR/marketing program.
Your organization is a ‘best kept secret’
While flying under the radar can have its perks, ask yourself, do you really want to be known by only a small percentage of your target audience(s)? How is having limited brand reach and awareness impacting your organization’s ability to achieve its marketing and business goals? While getting on prospective clients’ radars can be a time-intensive process, strong brand visibility can help with not just marketing but lead generation and sales conversion.
You often find yourself facing brand confusion
Whether it’s another business in your industry, a cause with a similar mission or just another entity with a very similar name, brand confusion can negatively impact an organization’s bottom line. While brand confusion can stem from something as simple as two entities having similar names, it is often intensified by one brand having a dominant marketing voice. Since consumers may not have intimate brand knowledge of which company, cause, product or service is better, they may choose to do business with the brand whose name is simply top-of-mind. Ensuring brand clarity is key to ensuring all marketing and communications activities are helping to support the achievement of overall business goals.
Your internal marketing resources are at or beyond capacity
For nonprofits in particular, having a dedicated internal marketing communications professional is often a luxury. The team members with these skills often work in development, programming and administrative capacities as well, leaving little time to focus on the depth and breadth of marketing that would be optimal for the organization. Collaborating with a PR/marketing partner can help to alleviate marketing overload and ensure a consistent, strategic approach to communications throughout the year. It can also help to round out the skills of the marketing team and shore up any gaps.
Your online and offline marketing materials do not reflect the current state of your business and/or brand
Organizations evolve and so do their business goals. Unfortunately, as products and services come and go, so does the accuracy of websites, brochures, sell sheets and the like. While performing annual or semi-annual brand audits is a marketing best practice for both businesses and nonprofits, it is also helpful to maintain a marketing checklist that outlines where various products and services are mentioned across the brand’s marketing materials. This handy checklist can help to ensure marketing materials are updated consistently and that accuracy and relevancy remain top priorities. If your internal bandwidth can’t absorb these critical updates, consider outsourcing the work to a PR/marketing partner.
While finding the right PR/marketing agency can be a challenge, the rewards of a consistent, strategic communications program that aligns with overall business goals are rich. Beyond heightening brand visibility and fostering a deeper understanding of missions, brand promises, products and services, marketing is a critical tool for achieving optimal brand ROI.