Case Study

PR Tactics to Drive Sales

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SITUATION

After repositioning, this education institution was in need of a Public Relations initiative to help establish the University brand and market position to third party influencers. Harnessed properly, public and media relations initiatives can be instrumental in developing the third party validation which is the key to assuming the mantle of a “prestigious institution.” The University also had outdated database resources and understaffed internal capability which prevented them from building and maintaining key relationships with diverse industry specialty experts on a national level.

These efforts were designed to maximize and extend our marketing budget by providing additional low-cost exposures in the market. Additionally, public relations back-fed our other marketing initiatives with constant exposure, building to a “critical mass” of awareness of the “new” University. In the past, the client had limited funds and minimal PR initiatives. It was time to reach out to the local and national community to let the world know who this University is.

man on mountain with flag

GOALS/OBJECTIVES

  • Position University at the leading edge in providing a superior-quality, classic college education to a selective group of students with a technology focus.
  • Position University as an authority in the areas of education and technology that media contacts can rely on for newsworthy material and assistance in understanding complex issues within those areas
  • Define and prioritize target audiences for media relations tactics.
  • Establish specific media relations goals for each of our target audiences in order to increase University’s reputation and name/brand recognition among each.
  • Develop and communicate effective alumni involvement, testimonial, endorsement and sponsorship programs.
  • Develop and communicate effective industry involvement, testimonial, endorsement and sponsorship programs.
  • Create the foundation for ongoing public and media relations initiatives that provide the University definable ROI.
  • Develop and communicate an image for the University which influences choice by qualified potential students.
  • Create compelling, significant follow-up events at 30, 60, 90 and 120 days after the Launch event that attract widespread positive attention to maximize top of mind awareness for the University with media outlets and their publics.
  • Integrate and create synergy within marketing initiative across all “circle of influence” touch points.
  • Maintain fluid database of industry experts to send ongoing communications while also allowing each person within database to update their contact information should any information change.

chess board

STRATEGY AND TACTICS

FabCom developed a one-to-one interactive plan to reach all key segmentations via targeted, granular media outlets per area of educational competency. We utilized one-to-one variable database messaging, integrated cross platform multichannel and trigger marketing solution to allow members of the media to deliver a story applicable to their industry and specialty area of publishing. A challenge when executing a PR plan is not everyone wants to write about everything – the one-to-one variable messaging made this challenge negligible with the interactive HTML press releases and personalized URLs (PURLs) that had industry specific content. Our target audience media outlets include all mainstream local and national – print, broadcast and online as well as all technology related media, education related and young adult oriented media with particular focus in technology. The first step was building a viable and potent database list. We utilized technology at our agency to filter in new media on the basis of self selection and automated permission-based content dissemination with viable content specifically target to each editors’ desires.

FabCom simultaneously developed additional contacts divided into national target audiences:

  1. HS Students
  2. Parents
  3. Employers
  4. Centers of Influence (COI)
  5. Teachers/Counselors
  6. Alumni
  7. Active UNIVERSITY Students
  8. Media
  9. Education Committees

The distribution list is maintained and updated on a constant basis as new relationships are formed with national audiences. The database is automatically maintained through our variable one-to-one marketing methodology with the ‘Update your information’ and ‘What do you need’ tactics that are linked to each touch. Our database resources allowed users to self correct their contact information, criteria which allows the client to always have accurate information with those we are building and maintaining relationships with.

Public Relations, One to One, Media Initiatives

An Introduction Card was sent out to our entire distribution list that invited our addressees to take advantage of our industry happenings and news as the leader in technology education. This is a variable data direct messaging campaign that spoke directly to our audience members.

public relations, one to one

It included their name and a personal URL (PURL) that took them to ‘Nuggets for the Press’ which allowed them to provide further interest in the University and confirm their contact information. They were given the opportunity to request specific filters of stories on topics such as Game Programming or Network Security. FabCom simultaneously developed additional contacts divided into national target audiences:

With automated messaging to the desktops and PDAs of the editors and personalized phone touches, FabCom sent on behalf of the University a media kit that included the personalized one-to-one messaging. Inserted into a 9×12 envelope with a clear window that noted personal message on the front – ‘Advancing Technology for Mark Weber and interested Game Designers’. The name and interest were variable and provided to those who expressed interest X and were an audience of X. For example, Mark’s interest was Gaming news and he was input in our database list as Game Design audience, meaning he is likely an editor of a Game Design Magazine.

Inserted into this envelope was a media kit/ backgrounder that provided a personalized letter in a front pocket which reemphasized the PURL. A small University business card side fold out that noted the University’s Mission, Vision, Value and Goals was inserted into a cut-out on the folder. The University is positioned as the ‘Best kept secret – revealed’ and the kit provided a synopsis on all programs and education opportunities. The kit also encouraged readers to log onto uat.edu/press for more news releases.

megaphone and computer

FabCom then developed a mechanism for a weekly press release plan to notify the media/public of events and happenings at the University. For example, if something newsworthy happened in the Network Security area a release was produced and disseminated to the Network Security audience exclusively. This provided our readers the ability to receive an industry release that already hit the spot. As noted above, not all editors are eager to write about just anything in technology. This is why our automated segmentations and one-to-one messaging created a 921% better response than previous efforts investing in the same dollars.

Once opted into the PURL and submitting confirmed contact information for specific niche interest in University programs and news, a follow up HTML blast was sent for confirmation. By utilizing our multiple channels, multiple messages and targeted segmentations, we created a successful, low cost Public Relations initiative in a challenging economy. It took a team of passionate people and full contact support available at all times.

Results

The University PR program initiated several media relationships throughout the U.S. and received a 921% increase of inquiries to the University. The University database was maintained at 4,000 contacts related specific to the technology and education industries. The strategic real-time technology used for this initiative proved to be a success for our client and provide them awareness throughout the nation.

Below are some of the relationships developed and articles published via our PR program:

Arizona Business Gazette

Yahoo Finance

Arizona Republic

College Times

The Earth Times

California News Blaze

Sys-Con Media

Yahoo Finance (US, UK, Ireland)

Forbes.com

Phoenix Examiner

FINDitt News

Ad Hoc News

ChroniCom

WCNC – Charlotte, NC

KLFY – Louisiana

WQAD – Davenport-Bettenford-Rock Island-Moline

Whotv.com – Des Moines, IA

WTNZ – Knoxville, TN

KAIT – Jonesboro, AR

KFSM – Arkansas

WAFB – Baton Rouge, LAWIBV – Buffalo, Niagara Falls and all of Western NY

ABC 5 – Des Moines, IA

WATE – Knoxville, East TN

WPRI – Providence, RI

WIS – Columbia, SC

CBS 4QC – South Florida

WFIE – TriState area

KPLC – Lake Charles, LA

WTKR – Hampton Roads, NC

WAFF – Alabama

AOL Money News

Wireless Business Technology

AZ Central.com

Interest Alert

BetaNews

XML Journal

SOA World Magazine

Symbian Developers’ Journal

WebSphere Journal

Flex Developer’s Journal

Silverlight Developer’s Journal

Web 2.0 Journal

Miami Today News

RCR Wirelss News

RBC Dain Raushcer Environment News

Bolsamania – Seccion Internacional

Examiner – National

Downloads Portal

Bizjournals

TecTrends

National Hispanic Corporate Council – News

Los Angeles Times

Examiner – Newark, New Jersey

EV Living.com – Guide to East Valley

AEA – Advancing the Business of Technology

Breitbart.com

PR Newswire SEO

Dallas Morning News

Houston Chronicle

Arizona Republic Print

Phoenix Business Journal Print

Author:

Brian Fabiano

Co-Author:

Bob House