Public Relations and Marketing for Emerging Companies
MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS CHAPTER,
excerpted from the American Bar Association's Emerging Business Series 2005
To order the complete book, send email to email@example.com or visit www.aspectx.com
Dawn Yankeelov, president of
§ 12.01 PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
The leaders of most new technology-driven companies assume that everyone wants to know about their new product and service. Usually, they believe that, by some mysterious force of will, clients, customers and other interested parties will find them. As a result, initially, a marketing professional for an emerging company is valued at the bottom of the feeding chain where proposals collect dust waiting for signoff. It is only when “nothing happens” even though the product has been available for several months, and the door has not been battered down with orders or service inquiries, that things change. The savior salesman may be beside himself and cry out (largely from frustration), “We need a marketing person on this.” Adding, only slightly later, “Some good PR might help too. No one understands what we do here.”
Indeed, he is generally correct. Marketing supports sales, and proper public relations gets the word out in a meaningful way about what is being sold, whether product or service. Economic downturns cannot be used as a bellwether for a drop in marketing and public relations efforts, since spending may be increased in marketing and public relations to achieve profitability objectives. For example, in 2001, U.S. marketers alone spent about $197 billion on direct response advertising, according to the Direct Marketing Association. This includes the distribution of offers, the creation and production of direct marketing materials, and advertising placement. And, it was a 3.6% increase in spending over the previous year, despite economic downturns.
Marketing and public relations activities are to a sales team what massage is to chronic back pain. No emerging company should live without it, and delivered to the right targets, everyone relaxes. In a crisis situation, this plays out quickly and is certainly more obvious.
Marketing is loosely defined as “the action or business of bringing or sending a commodity or service to market,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Or we can take the definition from a popular textbook: "Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives.” The big picture of marketing today for emerging companies can be simply defined as finding the right target audience, and sending messages in an understood fashion for a desired result – namely to generate attention or sales for products or services.
[B] Public Relations
Public relations becomes a trusted component to a “proper marketing mix,” a term that came into vogue in the late 1960s in classrooms studying economics. It can encompass media relations to establish credibility, or it can be broadened to include actions that talk to several types of audiences, including investors, vendors, value-added resellers and the general public. For example, public speaking engagements at trade shows can be very useful public relations.
Do not confuse a marketing team as the replacement of the sales force. In fact, marketing and sales are joined at the hip in a sold, well-built organization poised for growth. All the marketing support materials, process planning, deliverables and credibility that come with public relations cannot make up for a knowledgeable sales professional closing the sales with a client. Marketers can buzz all day long about electronic communications patterns that now include e-commerce, e-mail, instant messaging, interactive television, live video conferencing, real-time surveillance, telematics and wireless devices that fit in a pocket. The reality is that first-time sales over $2,500 often require people to be in direct communication—the higher the ticket item, the more likely a personal sales call will be required to close the contract deal—still sealed with a handshake.
No one tactic will deliver to the target audience information in the form they wish to receive it. At an emerging growth company, the executive team must devise a number of approaches to push their presence into the marketplace. As listed later, these may include using technology solutions: customer relationship management tools, e-commerce with personalization, or any number of specific marketing blitzes mixing pop-up ads, web banner ads and video e-mail. More traditional marketing tactics continue: direct mail; print, radio or television advertising; billboards; other forms of advertising, including sponsorships of events or giveaways; video news releases; promotional deals; subscription services; media relations; trade show activity; and sales training kits for distributions channels. Doubtlessly, inventive, web-based delivery mechanisms of information will continue to emerge.
Before finding tactics, startups and established firms alike must do research to determine their real clients. Defining the demographics of a target audience is the beginning of a proper marketing strategy.
§ 12.02 MARKETING STRATEGY AND PROGRAM
Developing the marketing strategy for a growing company is no easy task. In general, it is best to begin by analyzing the following questions:
• What are the market trends in the industry today?
• What are the demographics of the target audience? Buying motives? Consumption patterns? Are there up sell opportunities not being tapped?
• Where will the core market be in the next six to nine months?
• What is the hottest potential market in the next six to nine months related to the target audiences?
• Is product or service pricing on target and packaged well? Does this match the market’s needs and wants? What do surveys say?
• What are the available resources for the marketing department (in-house or outsource)? Evaluate staff, money, time/production schedule requirements, and technology tools available or budgeted. What needs to be outsourced?
• Name the distribution channels for the products or services. Is this strictly a direct sales company? What actions can the marketing department take in the next 90 days to move more products/support services into the various distribution channels?
• What strategic alliances can marketing turn to for cooperative interaction (internal or external)?
With preliminary answers in hand, the marketing team can then consider the following building blocks as they put together the actual marketing program:
• Use competitive intelligence: Do the research or spend the money to have it done and know the target opportunities intimately. This may include focus group studies, surveys, and white papers written by others in the field. Be aware of the competition and study their value propositions. For more information, consider attending events by the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (www.scip.org). Focus and fortitude pay off.
• Determine the demographics of the target audience: There is a finite world of buyers in given categories. Look at the vertical industry opportunities and the horizontal, broader markets. Determine the priorities. Some targets are easier to define, access and close than others are. Avoid wasting time with a shotgun approach.
• Think timeliness, uniqueness and value: Use a journalist’s approach to measure what steps to take. Consider if the timing of products or services is going to work and what the window of opportunity is. Define the value proposition early and know how to answer the “why to buy now” question.
• Create a budget and generate an action plan to meet objectives: Written documentation creates a measure to weigh the efforts and how to move forward. Record the plans, execute from a process, and learn from the potential clients and signed accounts.
• Assign resources to marketing and public relations: Internal or external staffing is required to support sales efforts. These are not secretarial duties to be done in-between other critical assignments. Marketing responsibilities are never more critical than prior to and during product launches.
• Develop a marketing mix: Decide what media outlets to use in getting the word out and developing a brand. Do not exclusively rely on risky one media outlet strategies, e.g., just web-based transactions or just television marketing. A marketing mix is just as important for a business-to-business enterprise as for the retail operation.
• Evaluation and reassessment: Sometimes it is difficult to measure marketing directly; however, companies that eliminate marketing entirely in economic downturns often suffer the consequences within three to six months. This is because every marketing and public relations step is critical to the business. Survey, formally and through dialogue, the key accounts to find out what was supporting the messages best in the sales cycle. Remember that marketing remains important to retain clients as well as to land them.
Perhaps the best advice in marketing is follow-through. This means that every marketing campaign is tied to every other action supporting sales. A trade show is an opportunity to develop a database. A database is an opportunity to develop a newsletter. A newsletter is an opportunity to do media relations. Media relations create an opportunity to show who in the organization is an expert on what. Expert status is an opportunity to send out invitations to a tailored seminar and so on.
The devil remains in the details, because if mailing labels are never printed, then direct mail pieces wait and no communication occurs. If signoff does not occur on proofs for the new ad campaign, then the magazine continues to run the old campaign. When no one loads the new mailing lists into the primary database for the newsletter, then the new prospects are not in the loop. There is really no excuse for not getting organized in the early days of the company. Even no-budget startups with only sweat equity can use web-based tools available to provide digital calendars, address books and synchronize data from wireless devices. For example, free tools can be found at Yahoo or the offerings listed on Freewareandstuff.com. It is often the simple steps that get overlooked in growing companies as all departments rush forward to build a company. Solid marketing ties internal communications to external actions of value.
Additionally, marketing campaigns and solid public relations do not end after a launch phase. They are a regular part of business development.
§ 12.03 DEFINING THE NICHE
The more electronic clicks in our day that “simplify” our lives, the more disconnected we become to absorbing communication. More advertising, more e-mail and more instant messaging leads to multitasking with less time to process what is received as a manager, client or consumer. Therefore, targets need to be well-defined each financial quarter and attacked with vengeance – over and over if necessary to get their attention. It also means that messages from the emerging company must target a defined demographic group in order to have a meaningful result. As a company looking for growth, the marketing team must define its niche in terms of product or service, and customers.
In some cases, the definition emerges from early research that leads to a new product being developed for a particular customer. For example, a regional company selling specialized web development and integration with self-administration features decided to work through industries in its region via affiliations with trade groups. The firm had handled industry-specific middleware issues for several trade associations, merging complex systems from different vendors. This led to an opportunity to market to the trade association membership with a combination of e-mail, direct mail, endorsements from the local trade association and seminars held with the local trade associations.
In another instance, a two-year old, venture-backed firm with a new real-time news feed product for a specific industry was able to secure new clients by evaluating the top 25 players in a given limited market. Each sale represented closing $500,000 annual subscriptions, so booking this revenue became more important in the beginning than pursuing many ancillary forms of lower sales. A layered, target funnel for the next three years to attack this market was developed, and public relations efforts were begun to build within the target audiences on the table, according to the business plan.
Larger corporations, even those with known brands, constantly spend money on marketing research, because customer awareness and buying publics change. They age, economic conditions shift, fads fade, competitors enter the arena, and what is known about a particular product or service may be altered with more information. The dot.com demise snowballed in 2001 to a grand devaluation of publicly-trade stocks. “Gone bust” signs reaffirmed the value of targeting the market, offering a value, and building on existing sales. The same principle applies to emerging companies. Its marketing plan should be a work in progress that is constantly re-evaluated.
§ 12.04 MARKET INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH SOURCES
There are many advisors and agencies willing to assist in developing marketing strategies and programs, and in defining a niche. Each will be known for a particular expertise area—it is always a good idea to check references or enter the agency name into a search engine to briefly research them. One key agency choice can be successful if the agency is to manage all your strategic and creative efforts—some of which may require subcontractors or other affiliate agencies. However, different agencies are often hired for specific types of work. Broadly defined, many advertising agencies are not in the habit of determining demographics through competitive intelligence gathering, but rather they define a specific print, radio or television advertising campaign, for example, to appeal to an identifiable demographic market. Similarly, a newly-hired graphic design firm, and even a newly-hired public relations firm may expect to be told a company’s demographic targets. Graphic designs firms, for example, may be widely credited with producing beautiful, four-color magazine ads, but the firm may be able to offer no counsel on what magazines to put it in.
Marketing consulting firms or independent marketing consultants, however, are usually specialists in assisting with the strategy that must come before the tactics—this will include competitive intelligence and market planning. If an emerging company has the money to spend on a marketing consultant, it is probably worth it.
§ 12.05 MANAGING MARKETING DOLLARS
As with any important business function, marketing should be driven by a tight and detailed budget. When setting the marketing budget, consider the following issues:
• Has a budget been accepted or has marketing quantified its needs for management formally in documentation?
• What media outlets need to be used and correspondingly what is the scope of the efforts? What specific regions (local, regional, national or international) need to be considered? Have media representatives been contacted to give estimates on coverage possibilities?
• Have all vertical and horizontal plays been considered in this budgeting process?
• Does the budget have a marketing mix? Use the following checklist as a possible review step (These are listed in no particular order of importance. Importance is based on internal goal-setting and may include other specialized activities or plans.)
• Direct mail
• Connect with the press through media relations, tours, etc.
• Corporate outreach through trade shows, speaking engagements, etc.
• Television, such as programming, sponsorship, infomercials and advertising
• Online advertising, including website, banners, pop-up ads, search engine and advertising
• E-marketing, through e-mail opportunities and e-newsletters)
• Audio and video opportunities, such as tapes, specialized e-mail or demo presentations
• Print advertising, including newspapers, magazines and books
• Outdoor advertising, such as signage and billboards
• Affiliate or co-op advertising
• Analytics, which includes surveys, backend tracking of product purchases and website activity
• Competitive intelligence aka original research
• Rank the above and other marketing expenditures in order of importance and timeline them for the next six to nine months the known priorities.
The rules of thumb of how much of the budget should be spent on marketing has widely varied in the last ten years from round percentages beginning at 7% going into double the total operating expenditures in the dot.com era. Broad sweeping statements about how much should be spent may be misguided given that objectives are so varied and niche marketing has become more important. With web-based tools and other technologies, a non-marketing professional will often be expected to pinch hit in marketing as the company grows. Do-it-yourself guerilla marketing tactics can be quite useful when managing the marketing dollars.
Trends in advertising, marketing and public relations must be monitored to maximize marketing dollars. For instance, technology continues to strongly impact marketing and public relations choices. For example, marketers have worried for years about ad-zapping technologies affecting television commercials, but the threat has been relatively abstract. That is changing with the advent of TiVo and its competitors ushering in the generation of the personal video recorder (“PVRs”). Market watchers indicate that television ad dollar spending will drop when these personal video recorders spread to 30 million US households. PVRs are in 1.7 million homes currently, but by 2007 the 30 million mark is a possibility, reports Forrester Research. Already General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola have indicated that they are concerned and will expect to shift marketing dollars to sponsorships, product placement in movies and more content creation.
§ 12.06 WEB-BASED MARKETING AND PR
"Send more messages," becomes the mantra for seasoned executives using the e-marketing approach to garner leads or build brand. Low-budget options exist in this category from opt-in e-mail boxes taking names on the corporate website to using a bulk e-mail firm that has compiled lists of individuals in the target audience needing products or services. There are good list-management firms now offering to do an entire marketing campaign. PostMasterDirect.com, for instance, has lists from accountants to woodworkers. Fees start under a quarter per name, which includes e-mail delivery. For media relations, emerging companies can rent lists through Bacon’s MediaSource (www.bacons.com) with selections from about 65,000 media outlets and 450,000 editorial contacts. The cost is about a dollar per name with minimum purchase requirements.
For those looking to build a campaign with existing customized lists, turn to online firms like www.explorecommerce.com, which has built-in templates to walk viewers through a process that includes pre-set subscription costs and custom-designed campaign charges.
For those interested in wireless handheld access for media relations, done by email and phone, as well as investor relations or government relations, investigate www.vocus.com, which offers a complete turnkey relationship management system for an annual fee of under $5,000 for the individual user.
With the advent of the national CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 signed into law in December 2003 by US President George Bush, a crackdown on deceptive spamming began. This supercedes at least some of the provisions in 37 state laws enacted to improve emailing practices. Companies based in the United States must now adhere to new policies and procedures. For example, the act restricts transmission of certain emails that do not include proper disclosures regarding their nature or origin. Commercial emails are now required to:
• Include an opt-out mechanism. Recipients of email must have the opportunity to opt-out of certain types of commercial email.
• Opt-out requests must be honored within 10 business days. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will review this in the next years, however all companies are encouraged to work with this guideline.
• A valid physical postal address must be present, along with an operative return address. This must be true for up to 30 days after a message is sent.
• Each email must provide a clear notice that it is an advertisement when sent as one. There are no recommendations on what form this must take at the publishing of this chapter.
• Misleading email transmissions are not permitted in subject lines. This heads off deceptive practices of getting email opened.
Some emarketing firms are holding free webinars (web-based seminars) on topics that involve email compliance, optimization and deliverability. Sessions are free from Indianapolis-based Exact Target at www.exacttarget.com, for example.
According toChip House, VP for Deliverability and Abuse Management, firstname.lastname@example.org:
“What is the most important item to remember as a commercial business about sending email today? The most important aspect of email today is that we must have Permission from our audience to communicate with them. Marketers should never cut corners with the permission process and should make every effort to provide value to each subscriber in return for their email permission.”
House also cited a recent study by NFO WorldGroup showed that most customers will provide their email address to you if they see a potential benefit. A full 24% in that study reported that they provide their email address to receive order confirmations by email, and 22% said they provide it to receive special offers, coupons or discounts on future purchases. Finally, 17% said they register online to receive newsletters or in-depth information to which they otherwise would not have access.
Coming soon will be legislation from the Federal Communciations Commission (FTC) on requirements regarding promotions to cell phones and other wireless devices, so it is wise to check with your marketing firm or area marketing consultant on what is possible as legislation emerges.
Forrester Research estimates that more than $6 billion will be spend on email marketing by 2005. This represents more than a 40-fold increase in per-user message volume, however the value of emarketing might offer diminishing returns in the years ahead. More messages may equate to more deletes, if potential clients are not carefully chosen. Email disadvantages include issues surrounding privacy, talking to potential customers that are not listening and communicating too often without offering real news.
In October 2003, to combat spam through self-regulation, the marketing and advertising industry released its own guidelines for legitimate email marketing practices. Participating associations included: the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA); the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). For more information, go to www.aaaa.org or call for the “Guide to Email Marketing” at 212-682-2500.
Media relations are useful for a company of any size because a news article offers a level of credibility to the reader that an advertisement does not. Contrary to popular belief, solid public relations involves knowing how to talk to reporters directly, not finding ways to send a press release. In a recent survey of workinpr.com, 73% of PR professionals said having a personal relationship with a reporter received the best response from a news outlet, and were better than direct e-mail pitches and unsolicited press releases.
A related approach is using news services to publicize emerging companies’ operations, products and progress. PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com) and BusinessWire (www.businesswire.com), two competing news services, offer a broad variety of services that go beyond straightforward media communications.
ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, allows experts within an organization to participate in offering comment for various stories. ProfNet links the in-house spokesperson with journalists seeking comments and interviews. It has two platforms:
• ProfNet Search: Reporters tell the information/expertise they need, and ProfNet professionals relay the queries to their members via e-mail (four times a day). If they have an expert or information that meets the reporter's criteria, they respond directly to that reporter.
• ProfNet Experts Database: Reporters can profile the in-house expert in a database searchable by the media.
• ProfNet Leads: Reporters can proactively alert reporters to experts who can comment on timely and newsworthy subjects. In addition, ProfNet users/subscribers receive daily reports on their industry news from the perspective of both public relations and investor relations professionals.
§ 12.07 ESTABLISHING CREDIBILITY AND EXPERT STATUS
In effort to garner attention, many entrepreneurs take out expensive advertising in local publications or pay to sponsor a mix of local venues in their field, in the hopes that the information will trickle up to the national or international marketplace. At times, there is wisdom in this approach – especially if the company has limited competition or the local event is the national convention in a category. Local business journal articles can lead to international inquiries from time to time.
However, a more targeted approach may be to carefully review the events in the region, nation and on the international scene relevant to the profession or targeted buying audience. Two to five speaking engagements in a year on select programs can go far to qualify an entrepreneur as an expert on key topics related to the company’s sales objectives. These speaking engagements are generally possible at least one year in advance of the opportunity, which means proper planning is essential. The entrepreneur, for instance, may have to ask for the opportunity at this year’s conference to be part of next year’s panel of experts.
A related approach to establishing credibility is the trade show circuit. If establishing a brand name or new invention is important, the standard trade show can reach many people and leave a memory they can be built on with direct mail and e-marketing or straightforward follow-up sales calls. Although many business people question the value of trade shows, the reason companies do not get value out of trade show activity may be that they do not track or make use of the database generated. Most trade show participants collect business cards and leads, and leave them in the corporate sales department where they become cold leads within 90 days.
Another easy approach to establish expert credibility is a newsletter where an entrepreneur offers tips, insight or steps on how to take care of specific matters related to products or services. Electronic or paper, the recipient is generally receptive to receiving this form of communication because it is not a pure sales piece and offers real news that can be of use immediately.
Finally, for high-ticket items, be it consulting or packaged goods, turn back to the contact databases in the company, and look for individuals who may give personal recommendations. When a potential customer receives a referral from a trusted colleague or peer, it is more willing to learn and entertain an informational interview. This in turn can be a wonderful opportunity for some hands-on market research or survey work in the context of an introduction.
§ 12.08 EVALUATION PROCESS AND SMART STEPS
Once the company has made its marketing moves, the evaluation cycle must be kept in gear to determine what the best course of continuing action is. Today’s e-marketing is conducted with real-time analytics available in most case – every click through can be tracked. Feedback opportunities from the analytics in the form of buying decisions, comments and surveys should be documented and reviewed periodically. With customer relationship management toolkits on the desktop and virtual communities for every type of transaction, the tracking of market interactions has become more instantaneous. This is a double-edged sword because the marketing team is now required to provide quick turnaround on decision-making to best the competition.
Another effective method of evaluating the marketing function is to ask the following questions on a regular basis, no less frequently than every six months:
• What expenditures drove the most results in credibility, overall brand recognition, client awareness of products/services, sales channel improvement and sales?
• What client requests could be useful in marketing strategy? Are corporate value propositions correct for the target audiences served?
• Do potential clients understand key messages in documentation received and read?
• What do analytics in online activity indicate about website activities?
• Is a focus group of potential or existing clients in order for new products or services entering a test phase?
• Is the marketing mix really a mix? Is more needed in a given media outlet to achieve objectives?
• What objectives call for a change in marketing activity? How will they be handled?
• Have internal communications been considered in planning to show marketing tie-in corporate wide?
§ 12.09 CRISIS MANAGEMENT
[A] PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
Recognizing the consumer crisis of confidence in everything from national security to economics affected by corporate financial debacles, it is not advisable to avoid crisis response planning. Worldwide terrorism and the financial collapse of top corporations have fueled fear of the unknown in recent years.
Public relations play a meaningful role in this area. It is now seen as the keeper of perceptions and expectations of an organization’s stakeholders and is charged with enhancing the organizational reputation through socially responsible practices.
Crisis management begins with proper governance. Determining an ethical code of conduct has always been critical in the planning process. This continues to gain corporate acceptance as the first step in knowing what should happen next. Acknowledging the trend to publicize corporate policies and procedures for crisis, the Public Relations Society of America launched a new professional interest section for its members called Strategic Social Responsibility in 2002. Its aim is to bring together members from the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors practicing in the areas of business ethics, corporate governance, human rights and work-life issues.
As the types of crises expand, many organizations providing public relations have had to expand the services they offer. Many now have crime-fighting and social welfare capabilities. The Conference Board, a leading global business organization, for instance, offers programs on crisis management and corporate security. Large entities have added security officers to their staffs, including Omnicom’s SafirRosetto Security Investigations headed by former New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s new practice within Ernst & Young.
Today’s concerns relating to terrorist activities are not new. Public relations was forced to address crisis communications 20 years ago during the Tylenol tampering case, when unknown individuals added cyanide poison to the popular pain killer. Johnson & Johnson executives contend even today that the simple lessons they learned still hold true. In crisis:
• Take a positive action to serve the public interest
• Have a timely response ready
• Tell the truth
The Center for Risk Communication, directed by Dr. Vincent Covello at Columbia University, calls for establishing only three messages in a crisis response plan to ensure credibility. Who delivers the message is also important, and should be decided in advance for each type of crisis. In crisis, nonverbal queues represent more than 50 percent of the communicated information. The challenge is in boiling down messages to their most simplistic form.
Another lesson is the importance of advance planning, since it is easier to secure third-party support before a crisis than during. For example, Monsanto spent several years building a network of health-care experts before launching a genetically-engineered hormone that makes cows produce more milk. So, when they needed third parties to counter opposition from biotechnology activists and small dairy farmers, the company was prepared. In addition, before a crisis strikes, research can be done on what stakeholders think. Surveys and interviews with targeted opinion leaders add value and even less than 100 interviews can provide meaningful information on how stakeholders will react to a crisis and what they expect from a company.
Attached as Exhibit 12A is a crisis communications audit for companies to evaluate how prepared they are for a crisis. Attached as Exhibit 12B are crisis planning checklists on how to handle a crisis before, during and after it occurs.
[C] LESSONS FROM ENRON
The financial collapse of Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, in 2001-2002 can be a revealing exercise on how to evaluate what steps need to be taken before and during a crisis. The lessons can be applied to crises less horrific than the Enron story. They apply to employee layoffs, financial results below expectations, poor employee morale, product defects, technology mistakes and sudden deaths of an executive who is key to running the company. Even the loss of a major account can create a crisis in how to generate the necessary revenue and deal with potential customers’ uncertainty about the corporate stability.
Enron executives and its accounting firm ignored the three lessons of Johnson & Johnson’s – even after the federal investigations began. Specifically, tales of its financial questioning appeared in the media beginning in January 2001 with a Fortune article by Bethany McLean. Enron executives did not assess their own vulnerabilities, prepare a timely response or tell the truth.
By October 2001 when the shredding of documents was revealed, steps were still not taken to prevent a public crisis of greater magnitude.
On the other side, Arthur Anderson failed to have a timely response ready. Instead, it tried pointing the blame at Enron as late as January 2002. The finger pointing did little more than create an even darker perception of Arthur Andersen’s culpability.
Possibly the greatest failure was Enron’s inability to adopt the first rule of Johnson & Johnson – take a positive action to serve the public interest. Perhaps the best public relations and marketing tactics begin within, quite literally. Caring about how people are treated and being fair-minded leads to commitment for better paths. Or as the chair of Unilver stated during the early Enron crisis:
On the one hand, companies plead for liberalized markets…. but this must be accompanied by accountability, by transparency, business principles, environmental policy, and by corporate social responsibility.
§ 12.10 CONCLUSION
The characteristics that contribute to successful marketing and public relations strategy include:
• Management participation
• Knowledgeable marketing professional support and experience
• Centralized decision-making
• Communication from internal teams, target audiences and sales teams
• Coordination of efforts to support company-defined objectives
By educating the entire company about the value of marketing and public relations, management can build confidence and cooperation throughout the entire organization. And integrating creative marketing strategy into operations can increase revenue and profits.