In today’s marketing environment, integration is more important than ever. As the owner or marketing director of a business, you have to prioritize your promotional investment based on what tools you believe will get you the return you are seeking. Are you trying to sell a product or service and are seeking to create awareness about your company’s offering? Are you working to elevate the image and reputation of your company? Or do you have a more personal communications goal in mind?
Public relations continues to be viewed as the most inexpensive marketing tool available, but it is also one of the riskiest, if you don’t have a skilled and experienced public relations practitioner working with you. Over the past 25 years, I have found that an initial meeting to review the marketing strategies and plan are essential to gain a full understanding of the client’s mindset and objectives. This has always proven more valuable than merely receiving the marketing plan on paper. It cuts out misperceptions and creates a bond that can be built upon to achieve a level of open communication that will benefit the client, public relations counselor and the business.
So often today, business is done digitally with very little face-to-face time. Zoom has proven somewhat effective but I’m still a proponent of scheduling in-person meetings if possible, even if only once or twice a year.
I had a client based in Germany who had an Atlanta office. We had spoken many times over the phone and communicated mostly via email. But it wasn’t until he came to Atlanta for a meeting that I fully understood his views, priorities, objectives and real challenges marketing his high tech vision screener. I learned about the history of his company and the theft of his technology, which was used to launch a new company and market a new vision screener. I don't believe I would have ever learned that background and why he didn't suit that company had I not met him face-to-face. That in-office meeting, followed by a dinner meeting, broke down barriers allowing us to get to know each other on a personal level, which was very helpful. From that day forward, we worked closely together to develop educational content about his device which I disseminated to his target audience and helped drive sales.
Given that experience, it’s easy to understand why I always recommend an initial meeting with new clients to get the business partnership off on the right foot moving forward together.