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BEHIND THE SCENES The Importance of Integrations, Part II: Why a PR Firm?

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We have worked with Oprah, Today, GMA, and a growing list of other shows to generate measurable results through integrations. But anyone with Internet access can discover that you can Tweet or email an idea for many of these segments. So why does a client need a PR firm to create, pitch, and manage this as part of a media plan?

The advantage of a PR firm as opposed to working solely with a marketing and advertising department starts with the fact that the same hosts and producers we work with every day handle the segments. Relationships with producers and understanding how they work are essential to making the integration effective (and doing it again down the road). We have the relationships and know how to do it all from pitching the product in to setting up messaging and every last detail. They trust us to deliver.

A smart PR firm also weighs the possibilities for placements. Sometimes there are opportunities on several shows and knowing how to handle the opportunities can result in the best or maximum timing and placements for the client. We ask what the client wants and is best for them. We understand what it takes to make integrations truly work as well as they possibly can. We know that integrations “cost” more than just the deal being offered to make it work. We can help companies look at expectations and margins to understand how much of a giveaway or deal they can do – they have to give more to get a lot!

The biggest step is to help clients create their own landing pages off the show sites to process the orders. That allows for immediate measurement of the impact – they can manage what they can measure and measure what they manage!

But perhaps the most important argument for a PR firm managing the integration is that a PR firm will not use a sales or media-buying approach: we always consider the publicity side of it. We see the bigger picture. We treat integrations no different than any media placement. We come up with a story and the right messaging on air.

Full service packaging and messaging PR firms like K2 step into the fold and get into all of this, because this is a big part of doing publicity today. It is about packaging as much as placement – never just publicity for publicity’s sake. The best clients understand this and put together the most effective deals. It may require some education for them to understand that integrations require a little more work, but we have to get our clients to at least be open to thinking about the possibilities. Because if they are open to the possibilities, the results can be and often are terrific, especially for clients who are measuring companies, as integrations are something that can be instantly measured.

And unlike giveaways, integrated promotions have customers actually buying a product –at a substantial discount but purchasing with the intent to use it. Giveaways make impressions but clients have no idea if the connection was made, no way to instantly measure the effect, and no contact information for the customers. Even if customers buy a product for someone else, they at least bought it! And when those customers use it and like it they have a deeper connection to the brand, which is as much as any company can ask for from a placement.