If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying, “Circus is coming to Fairgrounds Sunday,” that’s Advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk him through town, that’s a Promotion. If the elephant walks through the Mayor’s flower bed, that’s Publicity. If you can get the Mayor to laugh about it, that’s Public Relations. And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s Marketing! –Author Unknown
This quote is one of my personal favorites. Whenever I set out to develop a marketing plan I always try to keep this definition in mind and try to see if each element is being satisfied in some way. By looking at each area, advertising, promotion, publicity, and public relations, I am able to develop a marketing plan that is well rounded and well planned. The following is a step by step breakdown of each element and how they can be utilized to create a marketing campaign with pizazz.
To advertise is to call public attention to your business by emphasizing desirable services and qualities with the intention of arousing customer desire. There are numerous ways to advertise, so it is to your advantage to investigate each media available and determine which will work best for marketing campaign. The most obvious form of advertising is the written ad. Ads can be placed in the yellow pages, in local and national classifieds, in magazines, and on the internet. Ad placement depends almost entirely on the reading and listening habits of your current and potential customers, so do your homework. Your ads should clearly outline the benefits associated with utilizing your services, so use words that will help them identify how they will benefit personally. Your ads should answer the question: “What’s in it for me?”
Other forms of advertising include websites, brochures, flyers, direct mail, radio, newsletters, e-zines, on-line discussion groups, and bulletin boards. Evaluate the costs associated with each and develop an advertising plan that will not only reach your target audience but will be reasonable for you.
Promotion is the act of furthering the growth or development of your business by keeping your products or services in the minds of your target market. Promotion helps stimulate demand for your services and involves ongoing advertising and publicity. One common method of promotion is the use of personalized, business related objects. These objects could be press kits for the media or personalized key chains for potential clients and customers. The possibilities in this area are nearly endless. Some of the favorites include personalized pens, magnets, letter openers, notepads, stress toys, and candy jars. There are many promotional items available for all budgets that will help you leave a lasting impression.
Publicity is an act or device designed to attract public interest. Unfortunately publicity is not always something that you can control, as it is often dependent upon the media to which you appeal. That should not discourage you, however; from submitting press releases periodically to outline new company benefits, services, and structuring. A continued presence can work to your advantage later. Other opportunities for favorable press could be obtained by writing news articles related to your field for newspapers and magazines, both printed and on-line. Write about a business issue that you feel is of concern to many and describe what you’re doing to address the issue through use of your business.
Public Relations is the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward you or your company. Public relations activities include helping the public to understand the organization and its products and ensure that the company has a strong public image. It goes hand in hand with advertising and promotion. Your public relations persona can be enhanced by hosting or participating in public and “virtual” tradeshows, networking events, and fund raisers. You might also think about what you are currently doing or what you could be doing for the greater good of society and find some way to tie it in to your business. Perhaps you could reduce your fees by 1 or 2% for any given month and donate the proceeds to a charity. Not only would be performing a humanitarian act, you would also be creating a positive public image for your company that could be promoted in press releases, and editorials.
All of these different marketing activities are designed to attract customers and get them to attend the “circus”. It’s all about helping people get what they want. All the different marketing vehicles that you use, such as flyers, ads, business cards, press releases and promotional gadgets are just enabling you to inform you’re prospects that they can get what they want from you. And if your target market attends the circus or contacts you to find out more about your company and your services and they are impressed with your balancing act and end up spending, that’s sales.