Many PR Tools Are Free, But PR Talent is Not

One of the greatest misconceptions about PR and marketing in the digital age is that because many of the tools of the trade are low or no cost, from email to social media to research, that PR and marketing must therefore be equally free or low cost. Nothing could be further from the truth, but rather than write a lengthy exposition about why this is not the case, we thought we’d demonstrate with video.

Using free and low cost tools, we will demonstrate what a lack of talent creates, as I attempt to play Jingle Bells to the best of my nonexistent abilities. Following that, Jarret Izzo will demonstrate, using the same free and low cost tools, what real talent can create.

A quick look at the sheet music reveals the difference in talent, made with the same tools:

No talent:




As it is in music, so it is in PR and marketing. Owning an inexpensive keyboard and Garageband clearly does not make me a musician. Owning inexpensive or free PR tools and marketing tools does not make you a talented marketer or public relations professional.

When you look to hire, whether it’s an in-house specialist or an agency, whether it’s music or marketing, remember that it’s not the tools you are hiring, but the talent.

Holiday bonus: if you’d like to download Jarret’s version of Jingle Bells, feel free, since Jingle Bells is in the public domain. Feel free to learn more about him at

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Download our new eBook, How to Measure the Value of PR

Posted on November 26, 2013 in Holiday Fun, Marketing, Music, Public Relations, Strategy

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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