Like many organizations, while PR Newswire was intensely focused on helping other organizations achieve their goals, it was challenged to achieve those same goals.
Last year it started a campaign to orchestrate content within every marketing channel to accelerate the unique buying cycles of more than 25,000 prospects and customers across the globe. Today, it has achieved higher engagement, revenues and customer satisfaction than ever before.
More than 60 years ago PR Newswire pioneered the commercial news-distribution industry. Today, the organization does much more than that. It provides end-to-end solutions to produce, optimize and target content — from rich media to online video to multimedia — then distributes, monitors and measures it across digital, mobile and social channels.
During those six decades, its marketplace has transformed, presenting two challenges:
- Prospects and clients have more control over their buying process because content is so easily accessible. PR Newswire needed to move away from product-focused marketing and instead address the issues its prospects and clients cared about most.
“What they’re looking for is advice and solutions to their problems,” Ken Wincko, Senior Vice President of Marketing, PR Newswire, said. “We wanted to focus on their needs [instead of] just sending out product-specific information. We know that does not resonate with buyers anymore.”
- Providing content that uniquely resonates with each and every buyer in a marketplace of more than 25,000.
- “We have a huge footprint … a huge group of people to interact with on a regular basis, and you just can’t do it manually, you can’t do it through people,” he explained. “So one of the things we really wanted to do was create a digital program to allow us to interact with them through our content, keep them up to date on the best practices and trends 24/7/365 across the globe and across all 25,000 customers.”
They responded to these challenges with the following objectives:
- Improve the overall customer experience to solidify PR Newswire’s growth
- Further establish PR Newswire’s role as a thought leader by driving more interaction and engagement with prospects and customers through content delivered across all marketing channels
“We were using two or three channels,” Wincko said. “We’d do some events, we’d do some webinars and we would send out emails. We would do some press releases and we would do some social, but it wasn’t coordinated and it wasn’t integrated.”
PR Newswire serves professionals worldwide in marketing, communications, investor relations and related roles from offices in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. These clients count on PR Newswire’s multimedia platforms to help them engage audiences with content across every marketing channel.
“We’ve continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of our clients in helping them share the stories that drive their success and growth,” Wincko said.
PR Newswire developed a fresh, powerful marketing approach to respond to challenges and achieve their engagement objectives by:
- Automating emails, not manually sending them out one-by-one
- Becoming more focused on the needs of clients and prospects across the sales cycle
- Interacting with clients and prospects across multiple channels
This required extensive change from how things were done before.
“My biggest job right now is [changing] management within the marketing team, across sales, across products, across services and making sure that we are aligned with this whole new approach,” Wincko said.
That’s why Wincko enlisted the help of an outside partner.
“We wanted to partner with an external vendor who could really enact that change and who had the expertise to help us achieve our goals,” he said.
Step #1. Analyze and segment the marketplace
PR Newswire began by developing buyer insight through analyzing and segmenting:
- The companies it wanted to engage
- The departments in those companies it wanted to engage
- The people in those departments it wanted to engage
“The latter part of that research not only focused on segments and then roles, but what the buying path looks like for each of these personas,” Wincko said.
He added that the process became very granular from the first interaction through the life-cycle approach to every touchpoint. The team began to ask themselves what type of information those buyers were looking for along the entire buying path.
“You really need to get beyond your own walls and ask, ‘What do [our buyers] really want and need?’ and then deliver it,” he said.
Step #2. Map content to each segment’s sales cycle
The team answered the question of what specific buyers want and need by mapping content to their buying paths.
“We did the research. We knew what kind of information those prospects and customers are looking for. We built a content architecture that mapped the content flow across each segment and persona,” Wincko said.
The time commitment to actually build this content has to be considered, he added.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but you have to match the right content to the right stage of the buying cycle, which means you’re getting very granular and getting more personalized in your approach,” he said.
The team’s coordinated strategy is facilitated by a cross-channel content calendar. Wincko’s team applies data and analytics to determine which content offers to present based on buying stages. They use content conversion rates, keyword performance, web analytics and more to strategize and prioritize.
Below is an example of a content offer that’s inserted into a PR Newswire blog post. This addresses two audiences: people in the very early stages of the buying cycle who may be exploring a certain topic and the customer community who is already a PR Newswire advocate.
This is an example of a remarketing advertisement that is shown to people online when they have visited PRNewswire.com: