Connecting the dots to grasp the business value of public relations
Wired UK recently published an interesting meetings-app analysis, titled “How Skype lost its crown to Zoom,” discussing how Zoom has become the consumer and corporate poster child for video conferencing in 2020. Yes, the pandemic drove its ascent. And yes, portability and feature development played their parts. It’s a good product, but so is Skype. So what gives?
The article illustrates something that is often difficult to convey when measuring the impact of marketing and public relations efforts on business success. Here’s the relevant snippet:
“’If you look at the strength of Skype and Teams combined, they should be the ones having the Zoom moment but they’re not. It’s marketing, and a lot of people think of Skype as yesterday’s video calling.’ That’s echoed in the news coverage of video conferencing: according to data compiled by Muck Rack, a website collating journalism produced around the world, between May 2019 and February 2020, Skype consistently led media discussion around video conferencing. But when journalists started having to recommend software to use, they began mentioning Zoom more and more at the expense of Skype and other competitors. In March, Skype was mentioned in 51,000 articles, while Zoom gained mentions in 60,000 stories. By April, Skype remained the same, written about in 50,000 articles, while Zoom was included in 195,000 stories.”
It’s worth noting that on April 1, MarketWatch reported that Zoom’s daily active user count was up 378% from a year earlier and monthly active users were up 186%. During the next 30 days, according to SensorTower, Zoom became the most downloaded non-game application worldwide with about 131 million installs.
There are a host of contributing factors to the Zoom Boom, and it probably won’t last forever. Security issues and market competition from upstarts like BlueJeans and heavy-hitters like Facebook and Google may impact long-term adoption.
But well-executed marketing outreach and public relations targeting media put Zoom on journalist radars. After a splashy IPO last year, keeping the company top-of-mind with writers and reporters translated into widespread media visibility at a strategic moment — and definitely brought the company to the attention of millions of potential new users as the pandemic unfolded and video conferencing became a de facto necessity. There is a direct correlation between Zoom’s remarkable growth spurt and its increased media visibility.
If people don’t know about your company, they don’t seek your services.
Professional public relations attracts relevant media attention so that the people you want to reach will know who you are and what you do.
In terms of business impact, Zoom’s current success shows that such media visibility can certainly drive market share.