“It’s the most important least important thing there is,” said Donald Draper of the TV hit series Mad Men. Draper was talking about marketing. It’s true. Look, I have never sent out a press release about my own company or its services. And I’m a public relations specialist. I write press releases everyday, so why don’t I write one for myself in order to drum up more business?
When it comes to marketing, we know that it’s the most important thing in any business. Without it, how can we sell any services, products or ideas? But business owners are too intimidated or mostly just too darn busy to market their own commodities through public relations.
This is when an outside partner must come in. Not only do you need someone who can offer fresh perspectives, you might just need someone to validate an idea that you knew was great all along. Not to mention time — the most lacking commodity in any business. No matter how many employees you have toiling away at all hours, there could always be more time. You might have the best intentions and a brilliant marketing plan, but when it comes down to it, how are you going to get it all done?
I was recently at a conference for small-business owners in which some members of the local media presented, offering tips on how to generate news coverage. One of their resounding responses to an audience member’s question about whether or not to hire a PR firm left me fuming. They answered no, businesses do not need PR firms as they should be able to handle everything in-house.
Of course they were right. If you have the guts, you can conduct your own public relations. I don’t. And I have practiced PR daily for over a decade. Sometimes business owners just need someone to hold their hands. Maybe they are shy, and the thought of having to tenaciously call these intimidating newsrooms and pitch THEMSELVES sends them into a cold sweat.
But what it all really comes down to, is time. How will you develop your product, deal with your customers and employees, and effectively market yourself? Going back to Draper’s infamous quote, marketing is the first thing to be pushed aside when you’re too busy to deal with it.
But again, how can you sell anything without marketing it? Marketing is the most important thing.