I was talking yesterday with a friend who I know from the old days doing public relations. PR back then was about preparing announcements, backgrounders and glossy photographs, arranging press and analyst tours (usually under embargo), and pitching stories over the phone.
Moderate success was a few column inches and a color screenshot in a trade publication. Big time success was positive coverage in The Wall St. Journal or The New York Times.
Things change... but not entirely.
The new PR
I work with clients who still use PR to generate visibility. Now press announcements are heavy with keyword phrases and sprinkled with links, and we send along photos as a .pdf or .gif. They're sent on to bloggers and news aggregators as well as to the shrinking pool of journalists with more traditional publications. The press announcements are also "self-published" via the company's own blog, newsletter or website.
Live events still live
Companies still do live events, too. Though there are plenty of options for people to virtually connect, sometimes face-to-face contact is better. Though events can be expensive - exhibit space, booth set-up, shipping & drayage, plus travel expenses - they can be effective if you clearly understand where events fit in the overall customer acquisition process. Though you may only talk to a handful of prospects at a regional event, if 3 or 4 of them convert to paying customers, it may be a great investment.
Events have also been infused with newer, social media elements. Nearly all of them label themselves with a Twitter hashtag, and the online conversations about the proceedings are every bit as rich as the in-person presentations. Sometimes more so.
Outbound calls are "social selling"
Even outbound telephone calling has had a social media facelift. There's a new concept known as "social selling." In contrast to the traditional cold call, outbound sales people use social media to better target and prepare for telephone conversations.
Here's my point:
Don't rule out marketing tools that you think may be too "traditional." PR, events, and outbound telephone calling techniques have all been "social media-ized," making them more "modern" and more effective. Try them, measure the results, and see if they fit into your SaaS marketing mix.
This work by Peter Cohen, SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.