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Monday, 13 July 2009

There's marketing or marketing and PR!

Looking at some of the affiliate marketing schemes being pushed on Twitter or into your email inboxes, some sound quite convincing. Then you delve deeper.

The photo of the person on the Twitter account is clearly not the same person featured on the website or blog promo blurb. Either that, or they've aged 20 years and had a lot of really bad cosmetic surgery after making all that money!

Then there's the 'proof' of wealth. A badly scanned tax form with a company name not immediately obviously related to either the Tweeter or the person featured in the promo material. For all I know, it could be anyone's tax return or even a mock-up?

Then there is often a picture of a big house. Call me a cynic, but I think I could manage to take a picure of a very large house.

Plus all the other people who are sending messages that would appear to be pushing the same or a similar opportunity.

Often the pitch is a proven SEO or marketing system that runs on autopilot, so no experience is needed. At this point every fibre of my PR reputational management being is sounding a warning bell. Marketing without expertise? What sort of messages will be going out?

At some point the admittedly well-written text crunches some numbers. One I looked at suggested by reaching c2 million people, you could expect 400+ sales and take a slice of the action. And of course, the person offering you this wonderful opportunity to spam the other c1,999,550 people takes a small slice too. You run the risk of being blocked by the c1,999,550 people. OK, you can use a throw-away email address and set up a disposable Twitter account, but is that any way to run a business?

In the current economic climate, obviously quite a few people are going for it. If they are desperate, I wish them well. I hope they become rich and that these opportunities don't involve a scam.

But this numbers approach does highlight the marketing mindset taken to extremes. I think it illustrates why PR and marketing don't always see eye to eye. Marketing likes branding, and crunching the numbers and counting the sales. PR is about building influence, raising profile and safe-guarding business reputation, creating trust so that the marketing and sales efforts work well.

The truth is, sales, marketing and PR each bring a lot of advantages to the table, but by combining them you get a balanced approach and much greater long term business benefits. Not short term 'experts' with a little social media experience.

Would you rather be sending stuff to peopke who don't want it. Or walking into a pitch with well crafted marketing materials and a great company reputation backed by a clutch of on and offline cuttings from reputable sources? Plus some great metrics and feedback to inform your sales pitch? That's how PR, marketing and sales work together to build a long term business proposition that provide livlihoods for the many people who don't want to go it alone as freelancers or entrepreneurs, or spammers.

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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