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Rapid Growth in B2B Marketing Programs Ahead as Companies Realize Benefits of Integrated Communications

Boston, Mass. – March 15, 2012 – PAN Communications, a public relations and digital media leader driving communications strategy for emerging and innovative growth companies, forecasts increased interest and engagement resulting from successful campaigns that use a blended approach of social and traditional media programs. Clients across the company’s portfolio mix of technologyconsumer engagement, and healthcare & life sciences have seen increased visibility, web traffic and brand awareness, and there are several factors marketers need to keep in mind while building their campaigns.

According to the 2012 MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, generating high-quality leads and a high volume of leads have been the two top challenges marketers have faced from 2010-2011. Marketers are having a difficult time achieving a balance of quality and quantity, so it’s important for organizations to “revolutionize” their approach to marketing, making sure all activities link back to revenue.

“Critical to the success of any B2B program, emphasis should be placed upfront on the research and discovery of who the true business decision makers are and what type of content they need,” explained Jason Ouellette, vice president at PAN Communications. “Armed with this knowledge, we can provide clients with integrated communications programs that not only provide brand awareness on the traditional side of public relations, but we are also able to balance that effort by establishing the organization as a true market leader through digital channels, social communities and direct engagement.”

CMOs are cautioned, however, by the fact that nothing can replace the third-party validation their brand can receive by the business and trade traditional media reporting on their products and services.

“Potential prospects, business partners, current customers – even employees and shareholders – rely on the written word stemming from media engagement,” said Jennifer Meyer, vice president at PAN Communications. “Therefore, we advise clients to mix and balance their campaigns to establish and reinforce how their publics perceive their company’s brand.”

With so much change throughout the public relations marketplace, the PAN Communications technology team has collated a list of the top subjects that matter most in 2012:

  • Mix it Up – Content is king, and there are many digital outlets companies can use to reach their target audience. However, don’t lose sight of traditional PR: newspapers and magazines are still read and trusted by millions of people every day. Going digital 100 percent of the time is a mistake in the B2B market.
  • Deeper thought leadership and engagement – Thought leadership is a crucial component for increasing awareness, igniting excitement, and creating engagement within a very emotional market. Audiences are most likely to trust those who speak to them and showcase their knowledge.
  • Increased emphasis on metrics and reporting – Measuring “impact” over “activity” is what matters most. It’s a given that your marketing team is busy, so spend efforts measuring how effective your programs are, not how many “impressions” you may have received. Share of voice, sentiment analysis, spikes in web traffic and determining if these visitors are “sticking” due to proper content development is paramount.
  • Don’t be a Tool – Measurement tools such as Radian6 can provide insight needed to effectively gauge a program and companies are encouraged to make use of them. But don’t stop there: the real value is the critical analysis of the data that is reported, and combining that data with the traditional venues. Companies tend to rely on charts and graphs that spit out only part of the story. Nothing can replace rolling up your sleeves and doing the work that’s required to properly assess program effectiveness.
  • Crisis communications is now a commoditized offering for PR firms – With the explosion of social media, each PR practitioner should be well-versed in handling crisis communications activity and how to counsel clients during situations that can damage a company’s brand reputation within minutes. The possibility of crisis becomes an integral – and given – part of a PR program.
  • With traditional media, less is more – As traditional forms of media decrease, their relevance and prominence among readers increases. It’s more difficult to secure coverage in these venues, and for good reason; there’s less of them and even fewer pages. Your company news, when it’s included, becomes much more valuable than at any other time. So too does the journalist covering that beat. This provides all the more reason for continued cultivation as part of your program.
  • Rise in online community creation and engagement – More and more executives are turning to their peers for advice and recommendations. Members are passionate about a common goal, project, product, among many other things.

Online communities are an important target because they are your virtual audience. Members of your community are digesting, sharing and spreading your voice and brand. It’s more important than ever for a business to listen to what their customers and partners are saying so they can provide feedback and direction as to where to find more information.

About PAN Communications

With an expertise in content creation, PAN Communications is an award-winning public relations agency that utilizes all media and disciplines to increase awareness and opportunities to achieve our clients’ business objectives. As an integrated communications partner to companies that lead their industries or those that aspire to, PAN drives strategic public relations for technology, consumer engagement and healthcare & life sciences brands. For more information visit our website at www.pancommunications.com, follow us on Twitter (@PANcomm) or call 617.502.4300.

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