Publicity vs. Social Media

We are launching several new products this year and budgets remain tight (less than $10,000/product launch); will we get more bang for the buck with publicity or social media?


By Jim Sweeney

Allow me to assert that the old adage – you get what you pay for – applies equally to publicity and social media. Regardless of what you may have heard about publicity being free and social media being even more free, it is all a lie perpetuated by people with small brains.

If your goal is to establish awareness of the new products and build brand – both corporate and product – then publicity is the more likely investment.  If strategized and implemented properly, publicity will net media coverage (print, radio, TV, online) that reaches your target audiences, creates awareness, educates and generates interest.  It may also drive audiences to your web site or Facebook page or even to the store, but good luck tracking that activity and connecting those dots.

If your goal is to generate interest or “buzz” and drive traffic to a microsite, website or online store, then social media is the more likely investment.  If strategized and implemented properly, social media marketing will reach target audiences through tweets, blogs, forums, video sharing sites or podcasts that will drive audiences directly to a desired location to review and (hopefully) purchase product. It may also create awareness for your corporate and product brand, but good luck tracking this activity.

And by the way, we haven’t even talked about trade show marketing, advertising, direct marketing, special events, guerilla marketing, etc. There is a time and place for everything (ideally integrated as part of a multichannel campaign).  The key in making your choice about the ideal strategy is understanding your goals in the context of each product launch.

Launching a new product and need a marketing and public relations plan?  Contact me at jim at or call me at 440.333.0001 ext. 101.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.