Q: I'm looking for that PR/marketing home run. Any tips?

A: Many people see marketing as a panacea to all their business woes. Some people implement marketing and expect immediate short-term results. Those that expect this are misinformed. Marketing is a long-term, persistent and consistent activity that should never end.

In view of this, many companies, organizations and people look also for the marketing or PR home run--that one story, event or customer touch that will bring a windfall of business.

Home runs aren't what usually wins baseball games. Usually, it's a collection of singles and doubles that make up the run total of the victor. The same applies in business, marketing and PR. It's the little things that add up and contribute to the success of a business. Sure, there can be a home run now and then, but you can't go into the game expecting to win just with the home run.

During the rise of the not-so-recent economy and the related dotcom boom, good times could be had by all. Many people found home runs, while singles and doubles were forgotten. Now that the economy has turned downward and the dotcom boom has reversed, those still looking for home runs are coming up empty-handed. It's still a game of singles, even in the world of PR and marketing. A press release here, a news conference and a feature article there--these all add up to effective communication of a company's message or brand. Notice it's not one event or one communication.

I've said before that marketing is made up of many, many, many things. They all support one another. They all work toward getting the job done, just like in a baseball game. Sure, there's a chance every now and then to hit that home run, but looking for it all the time is futile.

Communicating with the media often takes baby steps. You have to get the word out about your company, product or service. This starts the process of awareness among editors and producers of the media they control.

Jay Conrad Levinson of "guerilla marketing" fame speaks often about how many times a customer or prospect must be touched before he or she takes action. All these touches represent baby steps (or singles in the baseball vernacular). Not only is marketing made up of many, many things, but so is public relations. Think of all the topics you can write a press release about. Get one or two published, and you'll hear prospects and customers saying things like, "I see you in all the papers," or "Every time I turn around, I see your name published." In actuality, this is only one or two publications that are working the minds of the reader in synergistic fashion--"synergistic" being the key word. After all, synergy refers to the concept of adding the few to make the whole strong--hitting singles to win the game and taking baby steps to make great strides. PR and marketing work the same way.

Alfred J. Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant, direct-mail promotion specialist, principle of marketing consulting firm Marketing Now, and president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit his Web sites at http://www.market-for-profits.com and http://www.1-800-inkwell.com, or e-mail him at al@market-for-profits.com.


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