Should I spend my budget on advertising or PR?

Bill Gates made a very good point when he said that “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Spoken by someone in his position, with no vested interest, this was a massive endorsement of the value of good PR.

In fact, PR provides the highest value and greater return on investment than any other form of marketing activity, such as sale promotions and advertising.

PR for building product manufacturers is essential. You only have to look at any of the trade journals, such as Construction News, Building or RIBA Journal, to see what a well written editorial, or just a great photograph of a construction product, can do for a brand and, of course, sales eqnuiries. The question, of course, is can an advertisement create the same result? In reality, adverts are often viewed warily by specifiers as they rarely provide valuable information and don’t carry the same credibility that an editorial written by an independent journalist does. Put simply; specifiers and contractors know that an advertisement is trying to sell them something. PR is different. It is helping people make choices by providing them with useful information.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that once an editorial is posted on the magazine’s website, and most now operate an online site, it stays there, in theory, for ever. All the time it’s helping your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for an advert, unless you’re prepared to carry on paying a monthly charge for a banner advert. If not, then it’s taken down as soon as the agreed ‘airing’ duration has expired.

PR also delivers a bigger punch because it gives your product or service third-party verification by the fact of it being in the news sections of credible construction industry journals. That means readers, architects, specifiers and contractors, assign greater credibility to editorials because they are put together by respected industry editors. In others words, if the editor of any of these outlets deem that your building product is newsworthy, their readers usually think that there must be something worth reading about!

If you can partner with a PR agency, like Dragonfly PR, that understands the construction sector then you should be able to achieve a consistent level of exposure in the these kinds of publications. A recent study by Nielsen on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising.

Gates was one of the technological pioneers of our generation and fully understood the difference between advertising and public relations. So, even if you don’t have a Gates-sized budget, PR is still very accessible, compared to most advertising costs. In fact, a PR campaign could cost a lot less than you think for a national campaign aimed at raising awareness with architects, specifiers and contractors in the construction sector.

Dragonfly PR specialises in creative PR and advertising campaigns for the construction sector. For a free no-obligation review of your requirements, email or call: 01709 300130 to find out more.

Call us on: 0114 349 5341