PR Newswire is a longstanding leader in the PR space, but to continue growing in a mature industry, they needed a more strategic marketing approach that differentiated through better customer experiences. Working with ANNUITAS, PR Newswire implemented a strategic, demand marketing program that enabled them to grow, even as their competitors lost ground. They not only engaged more qualified
leads and closed more sales, but also transformed the role of marketing in the company
The PR industry has seen more changes in the last few years than it has over the five preceding decades combined. The emergence of the web, digital communications, social media and new mobile innovations continue to keep the industry in a state of flux.
As the firm that pioneered the commercial news distribution concept, PR Newswire knew it couldn’t rely on its established approach to marketing going forward. New competitors were entering the segment and competing on price, and PR Newswire’s historical approach was product-oriented, largely reactive and didn’t differentiate the company from its competitors. Although the company transmitted news over countless channels for hundreds of businesses every day, PR Newswire lacked a proactive multi-channel program for its own marketing communications. As a result, marketing was not able to show a significant contribution to pipeline and revenue.
ANNUITAS partnered with PR Newswire to launch a buyer-centric strategic demand marketing program. From the very beginning, the goal was to replace PR Newswire’s tactical marketing approach with a strategically driven marketing state to help turn more leads into sales and more buyers into long-term loyal customers. After extensive research into PR Newswire’s business and customer base, ANNUITAS created customer personas to identify their primary challenges, behaviors and pain points. The team then mapped specific content to match the buyer’s journey and individual needs, depending on where a potential customer was in the buying cycle.
“The goal was to be in the moment with buyers when they were looking for a solution,” says ANNUITAS CEO Adam Needles. “Marketing engaged buyers at the right place and time so sales could focus on closing the highest quality leads.”
All content was classified into one of three areas, each designed to achieve a specific goal in the sales pipeline—Engage, Nurture or Convert prospects into qualified leads and, ultimately, into loyal customers.
To promote ongoing dialogue and brand awareness among potential and current customers, PR Newswire also updated their Knowledge Center, improving the customer experience by showcasing content that is purpose-built to address buyer needs rather than showcase products and features. This acts as a hub within the corporate website, where visitors can access articles, white papers, case studies and other resources that address critical industry questions.
PR Newswire then integrated its inbound content marketing program with ongoing outbound communications, including emails, press releases, webinars, social sharing, marketing automation and other multi-channel methods. Its customer-focused demand marketing strategy established PR Newswire as a clear thought leader among marketers and a resource communicators can turn to time and again to keep abreast of new industry trends and issues.
ANNUITAS helped us create a better buying experience for our customers, and to establish core metrics and reporting systems that allow us to strategically manage the market’s perception of our brand. - Ken Wincko, PR Newswire SVP Marketing
Within five months of the program’s launch, PR Newswire’s engaged leads grew by 22%, and qualified leads saw a 7% increase. By supplying the sales forces with leads that were vetted and pre-qualified beforehand, the number of sales closed also increased by 7%. The combined marketing and sales effort has accelerated and compressed PR Newswire’s sales cycle by roughly 30%, and as management continues to optimize the program, additional gains are imminent. Most importantly, PR Newswire’s strategic demand marketing program has transformed marketing from a historical cost center into a net contributor of revenue—and profitable ROI—today.
A Cision company, PR Newswire provides a broad range of communications products and services to professionals in marketing, public relations, corporate communications and investor relations. In addition to distributing news and information, PR Newswire helps clients target audiences and monitors how effectively their messages are communicated.
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