3 Ways to Go Upstream With PR

Three When used in combination with the term marketing, upstream means that you gather information from the market to drive product direction and strategies. Some correlate the term with "inbound".

However, there is a lot more to going upstream than pull.

Upstream marketing is the early stage investment you make in understanding the customer segments you wish to focus on, analyzing how people use your product or service and what triggers preference.

All the stuff that happens before you launch will make your go-to-market activities even more successful.

When people think about PR, they think buzz, getting the word out, press release, and mostly the promotional or publicity end of the spectrum. Another unexplored opportunity with PR and communications is at the opposite end — with getting people to care.

Which means your message speaks to them as an answered call, making it easy for them to pay attention and say yes. If the money for PR is in immedicacy for downstream communications, to succeed upstream, you will:

(1.) Work with the product development team to assist in matching what the product does with what the product says it does — in some cases, a bit more understanding and clarity up front can really help at the cash register

(2.) Identify any hot buttons or issues in the community or group the service is being designed to serve

(3.) Bake the communication right into the product — so it speaks directly to the people you want to connect with and the feedback loop will allow you to be aware of additional product uses, any issues that come up, and so on

I talk to many communicators who have made strides in this direction and are contributing to the success of the business they support in more ways felt at the bottom line level.

One of the challenges I have found, is that often the product or service launch becomes imminent suddenly, while the PR group had not been brought in the loop. What are the challenges you have encountered in going upstream?

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