By Guest Blogger: Professor Richard Puffer of Coker College
1) If I tell you I am a great communication trainer who has developed good results for organizations of all sizes throughout the Carolinas will you believe me and give me a call?
2) If I put an ad in a business publication or on Facebook to help you connect to my organization telling you what a great communication training system I will deliver, will you click and check me out?
3) If you happen to mention at CrossFit that you are looking for a communication training program one of the people in your class tells you she just heard a great presentation by a college professor on that topic, are you likely to want to hear more?
On the proverbial scale of ten, which scenario is most likely to get you to inquire about what my organization can do to help with your particular challenge?
My feel is that you are going to give a good bit of weight to the person who that you know who said she heard a great presentation on the subject. When I teach this in my Coker College communication classes I call this “third party credibility.” We like to know that someone we know or like has thought good things about something we are considering buying. Robert Cialdini, who wrote INFLUENCE, calls this the principle of Social Proof.
One way that a solid marketing campaign establishes the concept of social proof for our product is through public relations. It is by getting our story in the editorial (news) section of a publication that has credibility with our target audience that customers/prospects give real credence to our message. It is when we get people using social media to share our message because it worked for them that the third party affirmation of our message increases the likelihood that members of our target group will begin to glance our way.
In my career I have heard a lot of people call this “free” publicity. This kind of social proof is not free if you include the hard work of formulating your strategy, the work involved in determining the most correct media for your message and the effort of preparing and distributing and defending your message.
Yes, this third party credibility is much less expensive than space or click advertising. It generally is also more credible for your organization but it takes planning, time, creativity and significant effort. That is one of the reasons organizations partner with agencies like Across the Horizons. Across the Horizons understands how a tactic like Public Relations works for a communication challenge and they accelerate the chances of success in spreading your message to your targeted audiences.
Read this other featured guest blog on Integrated Marketing we featured by Professor Puffer last July.