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My Advice to PR on How to Communicate With Marketers

Use PowerPoint, not Word. Seriously.

I know you were expecting some answer like use more data or numbers or talk slow, but one of the biggest problems I’ve seen when PR tries to integrate with marketing is that they aren’t presenting the message right. When I first started at HP in a Global Marketing Unit (GBU) I wrote my first report in Word. I thought I had committed a cardinal sin. My manager told me to put it in PowerPoint and never do that again.

Social media is continuing to blur the lines between PR and marketing. Waggener Edstrom has traditionally been a PR/communications agency, but over the past several years we have shifted to doing integrated communications. Which means we are just as likely to work with marketing as we are PR. But still, most of our clients are  in PR.

The first thing I noticed about PR vs. marketing was PR’s propensity to use Word. It makes sense; most of the stuff PR does (or used to do) was done first with typewriters, then with word processors (the hardware devices, not the software), then Word.

PR people usually come from a writing or journalism background. They write. Marketers don’t do that. Formal pricing documents like SOWs and initial RFP responses are usually done in Word, but that’s it.

My advice to PR people who find themselves working more with marketing is to use PowerPoint and lots of visuals like charts; they like charts.

Marketers don’t read; they just want pretty pictures.

This blog was originally posted on the Thinkers & Doers blog: 000000;">My Advice to PR on How to Communicate With Marketers

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://topsy.com/www.newcommbiz.com/my-advice-to-pr-on-how-to-communicate-with-marketers/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention My Advice to PR on How to Communicate With Marketers — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tac Anderson, Craig M. Jamieson and others. Craig M. Jamieson said: Via @tacanderson My Advice to PR on How to Communicate With Marketers: Use PowerPoint, not Word. Seriously. I know… http://bit.ly/c42tFG [...]

  • http://www.socialmallard.com/ Kevin Briody

    Dead on, though maybe that last line was a bit on the harsh side. :) I'm a marketer who worked on a brand PR team for a couple of years, and now work on the (marketing) agency side, and yeah, just go ahead and use PowerPoint.

    Not that it's a better format, of course, but it's just how we all think. Short, discrete points backed up by data (or pretty charts!) that we can quickly re-purpose for our own decks and share around the team. Tough to do in long-form Word docs.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    As someone who considers himself a Marketer not in PR, the last line was meant as self deprecating sarcasm :)

  • http://www.socialmallard.com/ Kevin Briody

    Hah, yeah I got that part. Though it is true, we do like our pretty pictures, especially with drop shadows!

  • Jill

    Seth Godin has a fabulous blog posting (from Jan 2007) “Really Bad PowerPoint” with some excellent rules of thumb to follow when creating PP Slides. I think you'll get a kick out of it.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson
  • Jill

    Good find on the PDF version. Thanks.

  • http://www.bentoboxanalytics.com Meng Goh

    Marketers love PowerPoint, send them a 20 slides and you'll be lucky to go through 2-3 in your presentation. Don't forget the most meaningless chart of them all, the pie chart! We must have pie chart! I have contractor I hired just to be my “Deck Bitch”. We even put our research in PowerPoint now, I mean 50-70 pages of mind numbing data and charts, some repeat over and over with different segments. I much rather read a research paper.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Haha. At HP we had agencies to just build decks too but I like your
    description much better. LOL!

  • http://www.wine-blog.org/index.php/2010/08/13/finding-that-paradigm-shift-in-pr-when-things-arent-going-well/ Wine Blog » Blog Archive » Finding that paradigm shift in PR, when things aren’t going well

    [...] My Advice to PR on How to Communicate With Marketers (newcommbiz.com) [...]

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