blog, pr writing

Results v. Outcomes: Setting your marketing campaign up for success

I’ve been managing business development opportunities at Hirons for almost two years now, providing constant exposure to different industries and types of organizations. On a daily basis, I could be interacting with a small nonprofit, a large business-to-business manufacturer, a government agency, or any other sort of organization in between.

As a firm with services lines in communications, advertising, digital, creative, public affairs and crisis management, company leaders contact me for a wide variety of reasons. Regardless of their industry, the prospect will most often reach out with a ‘want’ in mind, such as “I want more news coverage for my nonprofit.” Our business development team then helps the prospective client identify what the path could look like from Point A (EX: where they are now, with little or no media coverage) to Point B (EX: Media coverage in targeted publications) if they move forward with a partnership.

The desired result above, although a valid request, is missing a critical component – outcome. While increasing a company’s media coverage will give both the client and agency teams a broad direction to work in, it does not address the strategy behind running a media relations campaign. In these instances, I will always ask, “What is the outcome that will be accomplished if the ‘want’ that’s been identified is actually achieved?”

Sticking with the media relations example, we know that media coverage can increase awareness of an organization. That’s still a very broad result. What’s the point of generating that awareness? Impressions or audience reach are not significant metrics if you’re not reaching the individuals you need to be. Understanding the outcome you’re looking for, like increasing your organization’s donor base, provides a clear direction for the messaging of the agency team’s pitch as well as the list of publications or reporters that they would be pitching to.

Of course, this line of thought can be applied to any marketing scenario, not just those looking to partner with an external agency. Before making any decisions regarding strategies or tactics for campaigns, ask yourself – what’s the outcome we’re looking for and how is that going to help our organization advance its mission? A strong marketing program can accomplish more than a certain number of impressions or level of exposure – it can achieve an organization’s overarching business goals.

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