Mike Rigby: keen focus on customer objectives.

Planning your strategic PR

Published:  15 December, 2010

MRA Marketing specialises in strategic public relations and marketing to help customers grow fast – profitably. Founder Mike Rigby talks to Lisa Arcangeli about how merchants and suppliers can seek help in a shifting economic marketplace.

“We specialise in fact-based marketing for the building, home improvement and construction industries. Our customers tend to grow much faster than their markets,” says Mike Rigby, MRA’s founder and managing director.

“That happens because we know how the markets operate – what will work and what doesn’t. We advise our customers on how to get to the right place at the right time.

“You have to appreciate that the market is polarising. There are sections that are growing and many that are not. If you are in the wrong place, you are in trouble.

“The Government cuts and the forthcoming changes are only going to exacerbate this situation,” he states. “Being in the right place has never been more important.

“We also focus on issues and perceptions that persuade people to change their behaviour and get them to where they want or need to be.”

MRA as a company leans towards the serious end of marketing and consultancy. There is little frothy PR here. For companies that want to open in a new market, or get to the top in a certain sector or those who are looking to enter a new market or explore ways to be number one in their field, strategic public relations is the route to take. It is based on a thorough understanding of the bigger picture, the market, competitive market forces, regulations, issues and dynamics, and decision making throughout the supply chain.

“Understanding customer perceptions is critical, and we draw on market observation, experience and benchmarking reputations.

“Most of what we do encompasses top-to-bottom marketing from public relations to advertising and direct marketing – and increasingly internet marketing – all of the tools you need to help you grow,” Mr Rigby says.

Although specialising in business-to-business marketing, MRA does some consumer marketing on behalf of its clients. “Where we differ from most agencies,” he says, “is in our proactive strategic approach. “Companies come to us because they are very ambitious. They are not usually looking to do a little better, or grow a little faster.

“They want to get to No 1 in a hurry, transform perceptions or their market, focus the industry on issues which are critical to them, and generally grow much faster, even in recession.

“But, although they’ve produced attractive ads, and brochures, improved their website and done some conventional PR, they’ve just been treading water.

“So, they look to us for advice and a strategy to get them there. That may mean a change of direction or approach to the market, doing things they are reluctant to do, or not doing things they like doing, or just doing enough marketing to be able to influence the market.

“Many companies simply don’t do enough to achieve critical mass. Invariably, we put companies centre stage where they can influence events, and then keep then there.

“You can’t change the market by keeping your head down! “In fact, some companies with their own in-house marketing and design employ us to work with them to contribute ideas and perspective to their marketing.

“Being proactive also means that rather than them briefing us about what to say so we go off and write or design it, we often suggest what needs saying and then write or create the communications to say it.”


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