By Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez
of Business Triage has never been more important than in the world
of marketing. What does the medical term “triage” have to do with
business? Nothing if everything is going well. However, when a
marketing emergency takes place many authors, speakers and
consultants will tell you to feed your business money, lots of
money. While money is needed to make a business grow, in a
resource-limited environment, undirected money is not how to
stop your bottom line from bleeding red.
to protect your business by sorting and prioritizing resources into
the following four groups:
2) Public Relations
you are wondering how to get four groups out of what most business
owners see as two spending categories. Be assured, these must
be four separate spending accounts in your ledger, if not you’ll
have empty bank account.
Education: The concept of the highly educated business
professional is not new, but education is so much more than course
work and technical expertise. It includes investing in mentoring for
yourself; and being a mentor to others. It also includes becoming a
member of your professional associations.
should you spend on education? It is recommend three to five percent
of your gross business income. If you are still in the first two to
three years of a new business, double that! If you are still
operating off your business loan or investment funds, 6% to 10% of
total yearly expenses should be budgeted to education.
Public Relations: When it comes to Public Relations (PR),
Marketing and Advertising, the situation becomes a little more
complex. The first problem is that in most small business owner’s
minds, these are synonymous terms. They are not.
Relations is the establishment of you and your company as the
recognized expert within a specific demographic, geographic and/or
professional group. This can also be known as “Branding.” Thus
Public Relations is the process of Branding. PR should position you
as the expert’s expert.
Marketing: Marketing is the association of your established
brand with products and or services in the mind of a particular
person, demographic, geographic and/or professional group. A
“market” is that identifiable person, demographic, geographic and/or
professional group. While public relations is the process of
branding, marketing is the process of “establishing the brand.”
Advertising: Advertising is the establishment of a sense of need
for a product or service in the mind of you market. Even if your
market knows your name (brand) and your products/services, if they
do not know that they need your products or services, they will
never buy! On the other hand, if they feel the need for your product
and you have established your brand, they will seek you out.
much should you spend on PR, Marketing and Advertising? If you want
success, spend 10% to 20% of gross revenue. Again, if you are a
start-up still operating on loans or investment capital, budget 20%
of that money per year for this process.
answer reflects the progressive nature of this process. In this
case, one sum of money should be allocated for the entire process of
PR, Marketing and Advertising. At first, the entire amount will be
spent on PR, with little Marketing or Advertising. Your target
market needs to know you are the expert. As you become the
recognized expert (one to two years), spending on Marketing
increases and spending on PR decreases. This will overlap the one to
two years for PR. Finally, you will be established as the expert and
your brand will be established in your market by your marketing.
This is when you will begin to shift spending to advertising. Again
there will be overlap, but don’t expect to spend much on advertising
until at least a year after you begin a well planned PR program and
at least six months after you begin a highly targeted marketing
Putting It All Together: Several years ago an advertising battle
like nothing ever seen took place. Over the years, a doctor’s clinic
had become the dominant practice in the county, but a new doctor in
town had arrived with a very successful PR, marketing and
advertising campaign. To counter this new threat, the established
doctor began running full page ads for his own clinic. An ad writer
was hired who wrote several ingenious pieces of advertising. The
doctor personally reviewed each ad to ensure it was ethical and in
good taste. Every ad ran as the doctor had intended, except one. In
this disastrous ad, the promise at the bottom of the ad was supposed
you visit the clinic, you’ll be seen by the doctor”
at the bottom of the ad in one inch print was the promise:
you visit the clinic, you’ll be seen by a real doctor.”
physician in town was outraged. The implication was that the
established doctor considered himself the only “real doctor” in
town. He was mortified. Before the conversation around town could
spiral out of control, he sent letters to every other doctor
expressing his sincere apology. The established doctor also fired
his ad writer and in his letter promised never to run another ad
implying that somehow medical care at his office was better.
clinic had learned one of the vital lessons from the disaster field
office, re-task resources to achieve extraordinary results. Like the
established doctor triaged the resources available and the needs his
image and marketing faced. He learned that even in the face of a
marketing disaster, the lessons learned in the disaster field office
provide insights missed by the casual observer.
Read other articles and learn more about
Dr. Maurice Ramirez.
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