Once upon a time, the PR department was in charge of “earning” media coverage, and marketing/advertising paid for exposure. When large organizations have deep pockets to pay for that approach, it can work well (though not as well as it used to - hence the rise of inbound marketing).
But what about those companies that don’t have big pockets, but need to get big-time attention? That is where the media-savvy PR department and lead-generating, sales-focused marketing department come together. The results can be impressive.
Let’s look at two different approaches to using earned media coverage to drive marketing, for a fraction of the cost of paid advertising.
Bellevue University: Original Research Earns Media Coverage
Non-profit organizations, including private universities, aren’t usually able to dedicate large budgets toward aggressive advertising campaigns in order to spread word about their services or offerings. They do, however, often have access to data. And journalists love data.
Bellevue University, a private, non-profit university in Omaha, Neb., that had been primarily a regional entity since its 1966 founding, put the power of original research to work to expand its visibility to a national audience as it brought attention to its online education offerings.
With the help of JONES, Bellevue turned five original reports, based on surveys of more than 2,600 adults, into a total of more than 500 interviews and news articles over three years. The surveys and reports, which also helped guide Bellevue’s development of new programming, turned out to be just the ticket to using traditional public relations efforts in the marketing realm. (Click to Tweet)
“With JONES’ help, Bellevue University has grown from a regional player to a national online education leader that other universities are trying to emulate,” said Jim Maxell, associate director of public relations.
Want more details? Read the complete case study.
FNBO Direct: Social Media Buzz Replaces Expensive Advertising
While news media was the primary focus for Bellevue University, FNBO Direct also incorporated social media and user-generated content to create the buzz that launched its online banking product.
Like Bellevue University, FNBO Direct was well-known in its Midwest region, but faced a tough battle in the national online banking market against behemoths of the financial world such as ING Direct and Citibank. Without the advertising budget to match the big players in the market, FNBO Direct turned to JONES to spearhead a unique approach.
JONES helped FNBO devise a contest that would capture the power of blogging, social media, customer interaction and public relations outreach to traditional media outlets. The Pay Yourself First Challenge centered around a reality television style concept of following contestants through a challenge to turn their financial fortunes around.
Results of the campaign, which generated more than a half-million dollars worth of exposure on a $60,000 budget included more than 60 blog mentions, more than 150 customer-submitted YouTube videos, and 30,000 new online savings accounts in just six weeks.
“JONES proved that it doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising to introduce a new national brand,” said Dan Harley, vice president of online marketing for First National Bank of Omaha, FNBO Direct’s parent company.
Could you create a similar buzz without breaking the bank (so to speak)? Download the complete case study
Now share your own tales of PR strategies turned marketing wins. We love a good Cinderella story!