Marketing Insanity

We’ve all heard it. In fact, it’s said so often that it’s become trite – almost. So, here goes… “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Some idioms, however, no matter how often they are used are never trite because they are true. That’s the case with this definition of insanity. And, today, it has never been truer for marketing and public relations.

Consider the press release. Many business professionals tend to equate public relations with the press releases (maybe it’s because they both can be abbreviated PR). As a result, editors are inundated with press releases, most of which end up in the recycle bin, and companies are disappointed with the lack of results. Yet, the next time there is something to say, these same companies issue another press release. We can’t even begin to tell you how many conversations with clients and prospects have started with these seven words, “I want to do a press release…”

There’s that idiom again…“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Here’s the proof. We invited an editor of a major newspaper to speak to our associates. He arrived with a huge stack of mail. He told us that these were the press announcements he received in the last week and then put them on the floor. There must have been 200 envelopes! As he was leaving, one of our account executives reminded him to take the press releases. His response was, “No thanks, there are hundreds more back at the office.” He left all 200 of them, unopened on the floor of our conference room.

Point taken.

The most effective marketing and public relations efforts blend strategy, knowledge of the audience, and creativity. They never involve tactics that are picked because they are familiar and easy to create. At Corridor Communications, we call this Strategic Creativity. . Here’s a case in point.

Motorola’s microprocessor division had the most comprehensive third party tool support in the industry, yet no one knew it. We knew we had to get the industry influencers’ attention in a big way since this was a rather mundane topic. So, rather than issuing a press release, we assembled a limited edition “Toolkit” and sent it to the 15 most influential media and analysts.

It wasn’t just any kit, though. We took an inexpensive tool bucket with an apron around the outside, stenciled the company name and logo on it, and filled the pockets with chocolate “tools.” Inside, we included the messaging, customer quotes, a directory of our tool vendors, suggestions for articles, and an opinion piece on the importance of third party relationships.

The response was overwhelming. Not only did the media and analyst use the exact messages we provided (the largest breadth and depth of third party tool support in the industry), but we were swamped with requests from other media who had heard about the kit. While we couldn’t send them a kit, we did send them the materials.

Here’s the point. The next time you want to send out a press release, stop yourself. First, understand what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and then, think about the best way to do it. The answer might be a press release or something unique, creative and more effective. Of course if you need some ideas, we’d be happy to brainstorm with you.

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