Guest

An Open Letter to PR Professionals

By: Guest | January 3, 2011 | 
90

This first ran on Dec. 23, but we are re-running guest posts from the holidays to be sure you didn’t miss them!

Guest post by Doug Davidoff, founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development.

I am not a PR professional. I’ve been exposed to, and used, PR professionals in a variety of ways:

* As the owner of a growth-oriented business,
* As an author and speaker, and
* As a marketing and sales advisor to my clients.

I’ve seen the wonderful things PR people can do. However, there are very few that have earned “a seat at the table” with CEOs and senior executives.

In my experience there are three gaps that PR and social media professionals must bridge if they want a seat at the table and to be treated with the seriousness they deserve:

  1. A focus on process rather than results.
  2. A failure to prioritize.
  3. A lack of integration and alignment.

A Focus on Results

The first challenge I have with PR as a profession is that they are really good at telling me, and others, what they need to do; and they’re really bad at telling us what is the effect of these actions.

Business executives, especially senior ones, are operating with a dearth of attention span. We don’t have the attention span to understand the nuance of process. What we care about are results; and what’s necessary to achieve them.

If you want to be taken seriously in the board rooms of America, start talking about how your recommendations will solve the strategic problems that are preventing critical results from being achieved.

A Failure to Prioritize

PR and social media professionals are great at telling companies what they should be doing. I’ve never met a CEO whose list of things they’d like to be doing, but aren’t, isn’t longer than the list of things they’re doing.

We know we need outreach. Yeah, getting our name in the media is nice. Researching the competition sounds great. But where are we going to get the resources to do what you want us to, and what initiative are we going to take those resources from?

My advice: Less is more. Talk to me (and other executives) about the crucial actions that I should take. Help me understand how I’m going to fund your recommendations – financially and otherwise.

A Lack of Integration and Alignment

My final challenge is that far, far too often PR and social media initiatives take place in a bubble. If you don’t understand how customers are created, revenue is produced and profit is shaped, you can’t earn a seat at the table.

It is your job to bridge this divide – to connect and align PR initiatives with all aspects of the company’s go-to-market strategy. Failure to do so will cause you to be marginalized.

I’m a fan of PR and social media. I truly believe companies can gain tremendous advantages by utilizing the tools you provide. To gain this benefit you need to stop being PR people who support business and become businesspeople who support engagement.

Are you with me?

Doug Davidoff is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development in Severna Park, Md. He works with companies desiring fast growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it.

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