Speaking as One Part of the Marcom Mix
The holy grail of marketing communications is finding the right mix of activities to convey the right message to the right audience all within a set budget. The proliferation and constantly evolving world of social media has only made finding the perfect mix even more challenging.
Each marcom channel, whether it be owned media (Websites, blogs), earned media (press coverage), social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) or paid media (advertising), brings its own set of unique benefits. But, when these marcom channels are looked at as an integrated set, rather than individual opportunities, their power can truly be harnessed to deliver repetition and reinforcement for maximum brand visibility. While the words and images themselves might change depending on the communication channel, key is maintaining a consistent brand image across these marcom media.
One of the most under-utilized tools in the marketing mix is speaking at external conferences. While external speaking is not typically what comes to mind first when marketers think about their marketing communication vehicles, it is a powerful and cost-effective tool in the mix which can augment the other communications channels.
In a recent survey of marketing professionals by Pan Communications, 61% of respondents wanted thought leadership and executive programs to become a priority for marketing communications activities. The executive thought leadership team is an often under-utilized weapon in the marketing arsenal. Senior executives hold the knowledge, expertise and credibility to build the brand but need to be given the right channels to increase visibility. When integrated with other marketing activities external executive speaking can improve reach and effectiveness in several ways:
Augment marketing activities across communication channels – Many marketers gauge the success of their marketing efforts by looking at their brand’s social media presence, how much earned media their brand is gaining, the brand’s Share of Voice (SOV) and how/if the brand is being recognized and mentioned in conjunction with top influencers and analysts. Executive speaking enables your organization to have a significant impact on all of these marketing indicators. A single speaking engagement can cost effectively reach tens of thousands of social media impressions and millions of traditional media impressions and place your executives amongst the top influencers in the industry.
Create a steady drum beat of external communication – It can be difficult to have a steady stream of truly newsworthy events, such as a new product launch, an earnings announcement or a relevant current event. A speaking engagement offers the perfect opportunity to keep the brand awareness rolling without the need to be tied to a “news” event. It can even serve to reinforce recent news or discuss relevant industry issues.
Directly reach audiences of influencers -The noise of social media and advertising can make it hard to get your message heard by the audience you are trying to reach. But executive speaking enables you to target just the right audiences and speak directly to them.
Control the message – While some marketing channels, such as social media and even briefings with journalists, can be hard to control, executive speaking puts you in direct control of the message which is particularly important as you try to build or re-build a brand image or conquer negative press articles.
Just like any other marketing program, a successful executive speaking program isn’t about a single speaking engagement. It is through frequency and integration with other marketing activities that the power of a speaking program can be realized.