This year, as you make your marketing plans, I hope you are allocating money for advertising. While advertising may be the most expensive component in the marketing mix, it is often highly effective.
There are two upcoming opportunities to expand your knowledge about advertising opportunities in the DC area. One is the local ADDY awards, which will be presented by the DC Ad Club in mid-March. This is the perfect occasion to scout out the agencies that are producing award-winning work. The other is DC Ad Week, which will occur in mid-September. You have the opportunity to hear from nationally known experts in advertising at DC Ad Week, and learn about the latest trends and best practices.
Of course, David and I hope you will work with us this year. As you consider your advertising options, here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” to keep in mind . . .
- Integrate your marketing, public relations, and social media campaigns to complement each other. We can help you plan your integrated campaign.
- Examine where your competitors are advertising, and the frequency.
- Invest in professional graphic design for display advertisements.
- Use cost-effective email marketing. It has the highest ROI on the dollar of all marketing channels, according to the Direct Marketing Association
- Email marketing: $40.56
- Internet, search: $22.24
- Internet, display: $19.72
- Social networking: $12.71
- Mobile: $10.51
- Catalog: $7.30
- General advertising: $5.24
- Use search engine advertising, especially if you have numerous competitors.
- Target workday commuters with drive-time radio spots and Metro bus/rail ads.
- Skimp on advertising! This is the most common mistake we observe.
- Assume Twitter and Facebook updates can replace the results of paid advertising.
- Run small, lower-price ads in many outlets. Larger ads get noticed.
David and I sometimes visit the offices of public relations and advertising agencies. No two agencies are the same, but we did notice evidence of the economic downturn. Most agencies seemed to be affected somewhat, many worse than others. One unforgettable example was walking into what had once been a prosperous advertising agency and seeing a sea of empty desks. It appeared that the business was locked into a lease but was really struggling to keep the doors open. It was both sad and funny that they had put a mannequin at the reception desk, which had obviously once been staffed by a real person. We saw that “empty desk” syndrome at more than a few agencies. And they’re not alone in this. I don’t know anyone who isn’t hurting right now, Fletcher Prince included.
So, how bad is it really?
Well, take a look at all these “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations. I’m not saying the demonstrations are a laser-accurate barometer of popular sentiment. However, they are a symptom: it is true that Americans are losing what faith they had in institutions and corporations — which is where PR steps in. The Edelman Trust Barometer has measured this decline in trust, and the results are compelling.
On a scale from 1 to 9, respondents are asked to rate how much they trust institutions. In the latest (2011) survey, the percentage of U.S. respondents who rated their degree of trust from 6 to 9
- Only 27% for the media, declining from 38% in 2010. In other words, 63% of Americans distrust the media as an institution of deserving of credibility.
- 40% trust the government, 60% don’t. This is a decline from 46% in 2010.
- 46% of Americans still have faith in business, as an institution, down from 54% in 2010. So now, more than half of Americans are wary of businesses.
- 55% of Americans trust NGOs (nonprofits), which represents a decline from 63% in 2010.
The decline in the economy is partially responsible. We all know that the innovations associated with the Internet in less than a decade have had a profound and even detrimental impact on the advertising industry, which relied heavily on revenues from newspaper and magazine display advertising. Newspaper circulation has been declining with a sharp drop in the recession of 2009. Even USA Today saw a drop in circulation with the impact of the economy — business travel decreased, and business travelers were going online for news in increasing numbers, so hotels purchased fewer subscriptions. The nearly empty offices we saw in some agencies were explained by the fact that advertising revenues have decreased by nearly half since 2005. Looking just at print advertising revenues in newspapers, revenues from retail advertising declined 42% and classified advertising decreased 67% (Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media).
The decline has been so rapid and innovations have come to the fore so quickly that it has been difficult for all but the most nimble advertising agencies to keep up. However, and I am really kind of sad to say this, the decrease in trust and the woeful economy does represent an opportunity for public relations firms, whose bread and butter comes from managing and enhancing the reputations of firms, nonprofits, and government agencies. With trust in institutions at an all time low, firms are stepping up to meet that challenge for their clients. The ones that are succeeding are the ones that understand and can navigate the online space, which is most influential on public opinion. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, more people turn to search engine results to find information about a company than any other way, nearly twice as many as those who look to newspapers or magazines.
Personally, I believe creating and maintaining trust today is a function both of public relations (including social media) and advertising (but the right kind of advertising). Both industries add strengths — but today, neither can stand alone. The hybrid agencies are the ones that will succeed.
Basis of Findings
I compiled a group of 100 top-billing public relations and advertising agencies. To assemble this list, I used O’Dwyer’s top 50 independent public relations firms (by billings), and I added some major public relations agencies not included in the ranking.
To this group, I added the top 23 advertising agencies in the Washington, DC metro area (by 2009 billings), ranked by Washington Business Journal in the 2011 Washington Business Journal Book of Lists, as well as the top 24 privately owned public relations agencies in the Washington, DC metro area (same publication).
With this information in hand, I assembled a sample of 100 influential public relations and advertising agencies with ample resources and major clients.
The best of the best. Our industry leaders. The kinds of agencies we would expect to deliver superlative results in all aspects of their business dealings.
Summary of Findings: Agencies are Not Maximizing the Potential of YouTube
While many claim digital expertise, in practice, the majority of top-billing public relations agencies and advertising agencies do not take advantage of the branding opportunities and search potential associated with YouTube.
Thirty percent (30%) of the agencies I analyzed have not yet established a presence on YouTube. As for the remaining 70%, most (or nearly all) agencies on YouTube made elementary mistakes in the organization of their YouTube Channel and videos.
These additional findings apply to the 70% of agencies who had a presence on YouTube.
- 95% of these agencies did not have a video player on their website’s home page.
- 67% of the agencies on YouTube had not placed a YouTube button on the home page of their company website linking to their YouTube Channel.
- 66% had uploaded video that either definitely or probably violated copyright restrictions.
- 65% had uploaded fewer than 25 videos on their corporate Channel.
- 64% had uploaded video that was of an unacceptable level of viewing quality.
- 58% had achieved less than 4,500 total views for their videos.
- 43% failed to upload an image of their corporate logo to their YouTube Channel.
- 29% failed to add any text description at all to their videos.
If You Want to Know How Your Agency Ranks…
Please contact me to meet with you if you are interested to know if your agency was included in my analysis, what I discovered about your agency’s activities on YouTube, and how your agency stacks up to the competition.
Learn More: Come See Me Present on YouTube Optimization
I’ll be talking about how to get more views for your YouTube videos at Digital East on September 29, and I sincerely hope there will be some employees from DC area public relations and advertising agencies in the room, because, apparently, I have my work cut out for me. Register today!
We’re Here to Help
Fletcher Prince can help you establish or makeover your YouTube Channel, optimize your videos for search, and develop a plan for creating meaningful and engaging YouTube videos that will truly reflect the reputation and expertise of your company, and be a helpful online resource to your existing and potential clients. Call (571) 269-7559 to learn more.
- Get More Views for Your YouTube Videos With This Checklist (fletcher-prince.com)
- Harness the Power of YouTube, Professional Communicators (fletcher-prince.com)
- Run a YouTube Channel Diagnostic (fletcher-prince.com)