Tag Archives: advertising

Selecting a PR/Marketing Agency

Public Relations

While Public Relations and Marketing are two separate functions, they share many of the same considerations when selecting an agency for your company. After discussing these considerations we will consider what is unique to each function.

Base the decision on value

Make a decision about your agency based on the value it can deliver, not on price alone. A good agency will match the best mix of activities against your budget to maximize the results.

Is the prospective agency interested in your company?

A strong indicator that your prospective agency will do a good job is if they ask lots of questions. Never trust a firm that delivers your entire strategy based on a quick call to you. How can they hope to understand the business goals and your individual pressures without spending some time with you and getting to know your organization?

Do they understand your objectives?

Ensure that clear goals are set out from the start and that any agency is prepared to measure the same. If your agent is to achieve meaningful results, it needs to understand what your business is trying to achieve from the very start of the relationship.

Is there chemistry?

Good results come with effective teamwork. See your agency as an extension to your marketing effort and don’t approach this as a buyer-seller relationship. The chemistry has to be right and if you are in any doubt, don’t hire them. You need someone with whom you can bond and who understands the demands made on you.

Take time to select the right agency for you

This is an important decision for the business – both in terms of the impact PR and marketing can have, and the level of time and budget required from the business.

Selection of these agencies is an important investment and should not be rushed. Take time to select and see agencies relevant to your business and ask for client references. Meet agencies for ‘credential meetings’ (the chemistry test) and invite those you like to respond to your brief. Make your final decision based on their pitch and your experience of the interaction you’ve had with them through the process.

Messages should be consistent and compelling across all your communication channels, including your website, sales collateral, press material and direct mail.

Why does your business need PR/Marketing?

Will these functions help you prosper? They must be accountable – make sure you get a return on your investment by ensuring that your objectives map on to your business plan.

Where does PR/Marketing fit into your overall marketing effort?

Understand exactly where these functions fit within your marketing effort. Share your business and marketing objectives with your prospective agency so that it can interconnect with other marketing activities to deliver maximum value.

Adapted from an article by Chris Hewitt, CEO of Berkeley PR which employs 30 people in the UK’s Thames Valley, Derbyshire and Bristol.

How do PR and the functions of a Marketing Agency differ?

Public Relations is defined as Using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives Public relations is the opposite of advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the article that features your company is not paid for. The reporter, whether broadcast or print, writes about or films your company as a result of information he or she received and researched.

Publicity is more effective than advertising, for several reasons. First, publicity is far more cost effective than advertising. Even if it is not free, your only expenses are generally phone calls and mailings to the media. Second, publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an advertisement. Most importantly, publicity has greater credibility with the public than does advertising. Readers feel that if an objective third party – a magazine, newspaper or radio reporter – is featuring your company, you must be doing something worthwhile.

A marketing agency is defined as an organization that, on behalf of clients, drafts and produces advertisements, places advertisements in the media, and plans advertising campaigns. Such agencies may also perform other marketing functions, including market research and consulting. Instead of focusing on merely advertising, a truly effective agency focuses on marketing and knows that advertising is but one form of marketing.


Full service agencies strive to integrate all aspects of a client’s marketing operations so that clients get a better overall return for their marketing dollar. Traditionally, agencies are compensated by the commission received from the media in which they placed advertisements.

Any creative, planning, or buying services would be covered by that commission, which means that these services are effectively free to the advertiser. Marketing services are unique to each case, but there are some essential principles common to most advertising campaigns.

The primary objectives of advertising are:

  • Increasing the sales of the product/service
  • Creating and maintaining a brand identity or brand image. Communicating a change in the existing product line.
  • Introduction of a new product or service.
  • Increasing the buzz- value of the brand or the company.
  • The media available for advertising include:
  • On-line Advertising – Email, In-text Ads, Mobile Device Ads, Search Engine Ads & optimization, etc.
  • Print Advertising – Newspapers, Magazines, Brochures, Fliers.
  • Outdoor Advertising – Billboards, Kiosks
  • Event Advertising – Tradeshows and Events
  • Broadcast advertising – Television, Radio and the Internet Covert Advertising – Product Placement
  • Public Service Advertising – Advertising for Social Causes Celebrity Advertising

If you would like to request a Cincinnati SCORE Mentor please click here.

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Marketing and Advertising for Small Business

Marketing & advertising for small business

Marketing and advertising are critical areas for every business owner to embrace to help their business thrive. As the owner you may not be conducting the marketing but you should have a firm understanding. Our brief library contains content on all of the subjects below.


Advertising is part of an overall Marketing Plan. It’s the way you reach your target potential customers, at the proper time, in the proper place. It is the way to get the word out that you are in business and to excite the market about your product or service, in order to create demand for it.

Simply stated, it communicates what it is you sell, what it’s for, why it’s desirable or preferred, and where people can get it.

Marketing Plans

Marketing plans contain the following seven topics:

1. Situation Analysis (Based on existing conditions)

Prepare a Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats (SWOT) Analysis. This is an assessment of the internal conditions of your business and the external conditions in the market. See Brief 04.59 for details.

Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting is the process of organizing and analyzing information in a way that makes it possible to estimate what your sales will be. This document outlines some basic methods of forecasting sales using easy to find data. More detailed information regarding sophisticated techniques of forecasting sales can be found on the internet, in books at libraries and book stores. If you sell more than one type of product or service, prepare a separate sales forecast for each service or product group.

This brief will cover sales forecasting for a new and existing business.

Brief 6.04.01 is a downloadable Spreadsheet to Develop Financial Plan Model

Customer Service

“Customer service” is synonymous with customer satisfaction. This is a way to show your present and potential customers that you really care about them and that they are important to you, it will establish your reputation as a company worth dealing with, and will become a vital basis for attracting business. Conversely, poor attitude on your part, indifferent service, exhibiting a discourteous, take-it-or-leave-it manner, failure to have answers to reasonable questions, and other negative relationships can ruin you. Your ratings and referrals certainly will suffer.

Writing for the Media

This first section outlines guidelines to follow in any kind of writing you do. However, they become particularly pertinent when writing for the media. They should be the starting point for creating any media materials. Remember, we write press releases for distinct purposes: to inform, educate or entertain. Additional information about writing for the media can be found in SCORE Brief 06.07 Creating and Distributing a News Release.

This brief will provide the Guidelines for Good Writing.

Creating and Distributing a News Release

The news release is the standard format to use when sending communications to the media.

This brief provides general information about constructing a news release as well as some good pointers about content. A complete model to follow while creating your own press release. Please refer to Brief 06.07 Writing for the Media brief for additional information.


e-Commerce web design is a lot more than just putting your company brochure on the net or adding an internet shopping cart to your existing product catalog. There are some fundamental differences between doing business online and doing business the traditional way. Before you design your business web site, you must know what specific goals you desire to achieve with your business web site, determine how best to meet your goals based on your budget, and then determine what software and services you will use to design your e-commerce web site.

This brief 6.10 will take you through Marketing and Selling through a Web Site. Including the ways your web site can support your marketing efforts.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provides a means to reach target audiences through improved web site positioning in search engines. The following tips are some basic best practices to consider in optimizing your site for improved search engine performance.

Identifying Target Search Terms

The first step is to identify the search terms (generally referred to as keywords) for which you want your site pages to be found in search engines – i.e., words that a prospective visitor might type into a search engine to find relevant web sites. Target terms should be at least two words in length and relevant to the content of your site pages. Your intuition and team brainstorming are good places to start with key term selection.

This brief 6.11 will walk you through how to continue with your search engine optimization.

Marketing your Web Site
“How to draw visitors to your web site” including SEO – Search Engine Optimization

There are only three fundamental ways to draw clients:

  • ECT – Type URL into browser
  • REFERRING AND OTHER SITES – By selecting a live web link
  • SEARCH ENGINE – Use of any search engine

ALL marketing techniques derive from these!

Excel 1200 – writing for media

Our website marketing brief will identify each of these.

Selecting a PR/Marketing Agency

While Public Relations and Marketing are two separate functions, they share many of the same considerations when selecting an agency for your company. After discussing these considerations we will consider what is unique to each function.

Base the decision on value

Make a decision about your agency based on the value it can deliver, not on price alone. A good agency will match the best mix of activities against your budget to maximize the results.

Is the prospective agency interested in your company?

This brief will cover all of the factors you should take into consideration.


If you want to become a successful salesperson rather than just being an order taker, consider the following key points:

  1. Qualities needed by the successful salesperson are:

    ego, drive, empathy, good judgment, winning personality, perseverance, persistence, honesty, a strong desire to sell. How do you rate yourself? What steps can you take, or are willing to take, to improve yourself in these qualities?

Every business owner should become the best sales person their business has, this brief will give you the direction you need.


  1. Telemarketing as a Sales Method

Telemarketing, whether used exclusively as a sales tool or in conjunction with other sales approaches to prospective customers, is an effective marketing device. It is not a trivial undertaking. It must be well planned and have an adequate budget; otherwise it will cause problems early on and eventually become counter-productive.

These are the summaries of our briefs on Advertising and Marketing you can access them here.

And if you would like to request a free SCORE mentor to work with on your marketing or any other business area you can do so here.