Why PR is the Most Important Marketing Tool

Weslie Oeftering
Why PR is the Most Important Marketing Tool

Call me bias, but PR is the most important marketing tool. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most underutilized.


PR professionals are focusing too much on telling people that public relations is so important rather than showing people via appropriate measures of success. In order to make a case as to why PR is so great, you need to be able to do both. Convincing clients that they need PR is essentially Show and Tell for grown-ups.

Re-thinking The Way We Talk About PR

President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, Tina McCorkindale, is adamant that the way most PR pros currently measure their success is holding the industry back:

“The metrics we suggest as gold standards…are largely focused on the media. While this does give a partial picture…working with and monitoring media, both traditional and social, are only a small part of what we do. Our industry focuses on media measurement to the exclusion of other methods such as surveys, experiments, and even predictive modeling made possible by the increased access to big data.”

In other words, too much focus on the number of likes, retweets and other impressions, and not enough focus on using other measurement methods that dive deeper into what your PR efforts really did. 

A Quick Case Study: IHOb

Take IHOP’s brief (but incredible) stint as “IHOb” in the summer of 2018. Thirty-six billion social media impressions and quadrupled burger sales from early June to mid-July. If you think that sounds great, it’s because it is.

However, a CEO considering implementing a PR strategy will still want to know more about how all those impressions matter for them in the long run. The PR industry needs to refine its vocabulary to be able to articulate quantitative and qualitative data in a way that is meaningful to higher-ups.

Just because you know the significance of all those impressions, does not mean that your current or potential clients do. It’s not their job to know, it’s yours. They might not even know what an impression is, much less what it can do for their business overall. That means learning how to explain the ins-and-outs of measurements is just as important as learning how to draft a press release and find a good angle for a story.

Therefore, the agency that worked on “IHOb” should let their next potential client know that according to YouGov, all those impressions led to a 15 percent increase in word of mouth and a 20 percent increase in ad awareness during the campaign, although it dipped right after the campaign ended.

Despite the dip, word of mouth is still at its highest point in the restaurant’s 60 year history, and ad awareness is at its highest level since 2012.

So, the next time you are patting yourself on the back for a job well done to your clients, friends or just a stranger on the street, remember: don’t just tell them PR is so important, show them why in a way that they can understand.

About Weslie Oeftering: Weslie is a student at The University of Texas at Austin and Swyft’s resident PR and marketing intern. She supports clients with social media, blogging, and tech PR activities. Swyft has been consistently listed as one of the best PR agencies in Austin with satellite offices in Denver, Houston and Antwerp that provides integrated PR and marketing services and trade show public relations help for tech companies around the world. Some of their services include media relations, content and inbound marketing, website design, CPC campaigns, and marketing automation consulting.

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