To say that the tactics of the PR world have changed in the 21st century is the understatement of, well, the 21st century.  The tactics have changed right along with the technological jolts that have left mainstream media a shambles.  Marketers deploy PR operatives today to engage in very specific discussions with equally specific groups of customers and prospects, as well as the old-school influencers.  Which include a dwindling number of increasingly overworked editors and reporters.   All of this is described in an extremely well conceived slide show that was delivered yesterday by Todd Defren, principal of Shift Communications of San Francisco and Boston.  Defren’s thesis, substantiated by my own 30 years of, shall we say, lively debates with corporadoes in Silicon Valley— and PR results ranging from resonating success to abject failure (more of the former, fortunately)–is that effective PR has never been about column inches, airtime or, more recently, web hits.  It has always been about growing your sales line. And, to do this, attracting qualified prospects who want to talk to a sales rep.

What this means today is not all that different from what it meant a generation ago.  At least in the strategy formulation stage.  Step one is to DEFINE who it is you’re pursuing in terms of a customer.  Then, the PROFILING begins.  What is about this customer that makes them a perfect match for the value proposition of your product?   And now that you know everything knowable about them, where do they congregate?  On Facebook groups?  LinkedIn?  Twitter?  Obscure blogs and discussion groups?  None of the above?  Once this is determined, the “art” kicks in.  Defren’s take is compelling and relevant.  Just like a good value proposition.

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