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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A multiple-choice quiz

If you have a marketing budget of $1,000 should you:

a) Spend it on an advertisement in an unknown publication supporting an obscure charity, based on a telemarketer's solicitation;

b) Join a local (or national) association representing your target market;

c) Contract with a public relations specialist and develop a media strategy for your business.

In the tricky language of multiple choice questions, I'm sure you can easily eliminate a) from consideration, but consider this observation -- when I was reviewing our marketing position, I examined closely a so-called "police association" publication (actually published by a commercial firm which prints a few extra copies and maybe makes a small contribution to the police group). Almost 65 per cent of the ads in this publication were from construction-related businesses. I can't see what value to their market they would achieve with this kind of advertising, but they were there....

Now b and c are more complex, but the best answer in my opinion is b. The reason relates to the budget -- if you have only $1,000 for marketing, you will I think get the most value from connecting with your community -- so joining and participating with the correct association will do more for you than any idealized public relations strategies.

If you have a budget of $10,000 or $100,000 the rules are different. Then you can meld your association memberships and public relations/media relations strategies into a cohesive plan -- presumably with a dedicated marketing manager or specialist. But I would still pass on advertising in the police journal -- unlike all those other construction businesses there.

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