Click or tell to sell?


The sales versus narrative conundrum

Join us on Wednesday 31st January, when we kick off our events schedule for the year with a debate about the future and function of PR. It’s a huge topic, right - but why not start 2018 with a big issue? If you want to come along, just ping me an email ( It’ll start at 18:15 at THIS Workspace (although please do come from 17:30 for drinks and networking, if you can).

Marketing and PR drive sales: if they don’t, what’s the point?

In the dark ages of marketing communications, Lord Leverhulme boldly declared* that half of his advertising budget was wasted, but that he didn’t know which half. Today, we can know. Definitively.

Attribution is the Holy Grail which tells us the aspects of our investment that are working most efficiently. That’s where we need to focus: doing more of what generates a return, and cutting out all of the fluffy stuff

.Marketing is a science, not an art. That’s how we prove our value to the boardroom. We can draw a direct correlation between our advertising, marketing and PR spend and the resultant return on (marketing) investment.

Digital has finally enabled us to emerge from the shadows, prove our worth, and drive sales. That’s real pounds in the proverbial till. Everything else is (frankly) backward, amateurish and outmoded.

Traditional PR types talk about awareness, perception and brand ad infinitum. That’s all well and good, but it’s intangible. Long live attribution.

It’s a no brainer, right? Actually, no.

The truth is, the stall I’ve just set out represents a short-sighted perspective that will damage your brand, deliver diminishing returns, and likely result in your business repelling customers and sliding gently backwards.

Our MD, Natasha Hill, nailed it in her final blog of 2017. She pointed out that brand storytellers know the importance of getting the right balance of short-term and long-term measures.

At Bottle, we believe that the role of PR is primarily at the top of the sales funnel, building awareness and consideration for brands, changing consumers’ perceptions, and delivering value to brands over the long-term.

The truth is that genuine consumer perception-shifts rarely result from a single brand activation. They invariable evolve as a result of a powerful blend of stories, moments and experiences, ‘baked in the slow-oven of conversations with friends’. You can’t capture that on a last click attribution model.

Our plea to the industry is that we don’t forget our purpose, favouring seductive, easier to track metrics over long-term, harder to prove, ones. We need both. If we keep alert to this, our discipline has a positive future. We will continue to rise up the value chain of marketing disciplines and create bigger opportunities to tell brand building stories in across all channels.


We start our 2018 events calendar debating this topic, with guest panelists including Dr Anastasios Theofilou from Bournemouth University and global brand strategist, Gellan Watt, at THIS Workspace in Bournemouth. It’s open to anyone interested in being part of this crucial debate (venue, time, RSVP det’s).

*This quote has been connected to at least four businessmen, although Jeremy Bullmore (amongst many others) disputes these attributions.


BlogColin Cather