The Union Building Ballroom was filled to the brim on Thursday, February 16, as students attended the McDermond Center Industry Insight Panel on Public Relations.
The Insight Panel featured five members of Pence Media Group, all DePauw alums. Owner and Operator Nicole Pence Becker ‘06, Communications Strategist Andrea Kleymeyer ‘06, Marketing and Event Strategist Melissa Mattingly ‘07, PR and Marketing Strategist Lisa Wallace ‘06, and Strategic Account Coordinator Lexie Manor ‘22. Not only were all five Pence Media Group members alums of DePauw University, but they were also all alums of the same Sorority at DePauw, the Indiana Epsilon chapter of Pi Beta Phi.
Pence Media Group is an Indianapolis-based PR firm whose mission is to create a real, working strategy for each of the clients they serve. They pride themselves on being adaptable, their expertise, and the value that they bring to their clients. Pence Media Group has had success facilitating PR both locally and nationally, from the Indiana Star to Forbes Magazine.
The members of Pence Media Group began their talk with a short presentation on what public relations are and what their responsibilities entail. In the presentation, Wallace explains that public relations are a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences.
“Public relations is a tactic that allows us to lean on the media to demonstrate the credibility to do so. You all have seen public relations anytime you turn on the television or whenever you read a story, and we're going to show you some examples of that today. But public relations is something that is really important to businesses because as Lisa mentioned, it obviously influences, and it often does, how they're received in the community that they live, work, or play in.”
So what does being a public relations specialist look like? Becker explains that duties consist of writing, distributing press releases, writing media pitches, conducting research, creating talking points, and working to expand contacts through networking.
“The best communications and marketing strategies are like this. They're firing on all cylinders. And you're thinking about how you can wisely use your client's resources to make the biggest impact for them to get into the right audiences. And that's what we do at Pence Media Group, if you're interested in learning more about marketing, communications, public relations, and social media.”
But what is the difference between public relations and marketing? In their presentation, Pence Media Group explains that public relations are a tactic connected to the general marketing funnel. For those that aren’t familiar, the ‘marketing funnel’ is a fundamental concept in marketing that demonstrates how to move a consumer through a marketing strategy. The funnel begins at the top with awareness, then consideration, then conversion, then loyalty, and finally advocacy. The goal of the marketing strategy is to make consumers buy the product and become advocates because consumer advocates will organically market that product or service on behalf of the company. Becker explains that in order to achieve a strong market strategy, one of the best ways to get to the loyalty and advocacy stages of the marketing funnel is through public relations. She uses the brand Lululemon as an example:
“There are points that you interact with that brand that move you through this marketing funnel. Nielsen often says that each consumer needs at least nine to eleven interactions and touch points with a product, service, or good before you convert. So you went to Keystone Mall, you walked by Lululemon, you went home, you opened their app, you went online and you saw their website, then you went and opened up a magazine, and saw Lululemon again.”
Part of Pence Media Group’s mission is to share its extensive knowledge about public relations with the public in order to help organizations improve their marketing strategies. They share this knowledge through their blog, Marketing Resources - A Practical Blog for Practical Business.
“One of the big things at PMG is that we just want to be helpful. We want to be helpful to the clients that we're working with today. We want to be helpful to the client that we may be working with tomorrow or somebody that maybe we're never going to work with them. Maybe they don't have the budget, or maybe they aren't quite ready for our level of experience. But we want to at least be able to be helpful for them if they need that support,” Becker says.
If you are interested in learning more about Pence Media Group or public relations, you can find their blog and other resources on their website at pencemediagroup.com.