For our latest Masters in Marketing interview, we talked with Wendy Marx, an award-winning public relations and marketing communications executive who helps B2B companies and executives become well-known brands. Her ability to take SMBs from “Anonymity to the New York Times”™ has driven the growth of Marx Communications.
For the last 20+ years, she has served as president of Marx Communications, which has helped numerous companies become industry icons. Her firms’ PR efforts have directly let to companies inking major partnership deals with Dow Jones, The NASDAQ and other major organizations, and spurred their being acquired.
Among her achievements, Wendy planned an executed the original public relations strategy that helped fuel the spectacular growth of Peppers and Rogers Group, the world’s preeminent customer relationship firm.
Her technology and business articles have appeared in the New York Times, Information Week, and Computerworld and she has written advertorials for Fortune and Forbes on technology subjects. She blogs on public relations and marketing leadership issues for Fast Company. She is a cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Please tell us about Marx Communications.
Marx Communications is a 20+ year, Fairfield, Connecticut-based B2B public relations and inbound marketing agency. We distinguish ourselves because we’re small, nimble, results-oriented and don’t pull any punches. Our clients benefit from our years of experience. Senior-level practitioners do the work, not people still getting a hold on the profession. We attribute our longevity to our ability to evolve as the profession has changed. While our passion for our work remains as strong as ever, our day-to-day tasks and overall goals have evolved. Media relations no longer is the be all or end all but simply a part of game plan that includes owned media and shared media, and in some cases, paid media. Clients today are very sensitive to seeing an ROI for PR and we work hard to combine PR with inbound marketing to deliver the goods.
You are a founding member of PR Boutiques International. Can you share a little bit about the organization?
PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), prboutiques.com, is an international network of select boutique, public relations firms. Members are experienced practitioners who have held senior positions in large PR agencies and/or corporations, but now put services first and work directly with clients. The organization provides us with boots on the ground should a client need to expand internationally or should we require additional resources. It allows us to remain a boutique, while giving us the ability to provide the breath and depth of a much larger agency.
What do you love about the PR trade?
Every day is different. No matter how you plan your day something comes up unexpectedly and you have to rise to the challenge. I love that it keeps you on your toes and you need to move smartly, fast and creatively. And, at the same time, keep learning and growing as a professional.
What is one thing you would like to change about the PR trade?
Make it more rigorous and analytical. It is beginning to get there but isn’t completely there yet. Today there are a lot of tools, including Google analytics that helps you quantify results. However, the profession often takes media placements as a measure of PR success without taking the extra steps to put a hard number to the work.
If you had chosen a different career path, what do you envision it would have been? I might have been a computer programmer. I think some of the same skills are required for both such as logical reasoning, analysis, and creativity.
How do you find and retain talented PR folks?
Referrals and networking are extremely helpful. It’s important to give talented people autonomy to manage an account and be able to benefit from the emotional and professional rewards.
What is your favorite season and why?
I always like the post new year’s period. Things pick up again after a drop off after the holidays. Clients tend to launch new businesses or products then and there is a renewed sense of excitement and promise. I use that period as a chance to step on the gas. It’s also a good time to reconnect with old friends. And it’s usually great skiing.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
I love theater, good writing, tennis and skiing. I struggle hard to remain mediocre at both tennis and skiing. I look at both as my form of therapy — a chance to completely lose yourself in the moment and become one with the sport. It’s a marvelous feeling.
What is one technology you cannot live without?
Evernote. It’s my memory for everything I read.
What is next for you for the remainder of 2015?
Producing an eBook on B2B marketing and PR. And if I have my druthers, co-writing a book on the same subject. I also want to continue to find better ways of getting results for our clients and improving what we do. You can never stand still.