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Just like a good recipe, marketing is all about the MIX!

Promoting your business, your book, even yourself, takes time to plan. All the time I hear comments like “I tried using a publicist, he didn’t do a thing for me!” Or “I’ve tried advertising it just doesn’t work.” Most people consider one marketing tool at a time. In other words, they try putting an ad on a website. If that doesn’t work, they try a press release. If that doesn’t work, maybe they’ll hire someone to do email marketing. And so on.

That’s the wrong approach. Think about marketing your company the same way you might build a killer recipe for beef stew. You wouldn’t try each ingredient one at a time. Just like creating a tasty dish, marketing is about finding the right mix of advertising, word of mouth, public relations and promotion that suits YOUR business.  You can’t think of public relations as a ‘free” replacement for advertising. You have to figure out what combination of editorial and advertorial will sell the most books, or scarves, or whatever it is you’re promoting. How do you find that out? That’s the science of it. But there are some general guidelines that seem to work:•    Services are usually sold by referral, or word of mouth. That usually means it will be heavy on the public relations and expert source placements, lighter on the advertising. You can also try using some of the social networks. Don’t forget about some advertising though. It can help give you name recognition and that will help your PR campaign.•    Consumer goods require a strong call to action to get interest. Although product placement will help, your campaign needs to have an advertising budget even if it’s only online. Optimization is also key to success in this category. •    Books sell if the author can get their name out there. Broadcast placements should be top priority, therefore publicity should be the heaviest “ingredient”. However, advertising in trade magazines like RTIR can help accelerate, as can banner ads and other promotions.See what I mean? Find a marketer with experience in your industry and ask what mix has worked for them. Stay away from anyone that heavily recommends just one type of promotion, ad or PR tool. That usually means it’s the only one they know. As you move forward, continually review the success of each part of your campaign. Add a little PR here, a few ads there…soon your business will be buzzing. Just like a good recipe, it takes time, a bit of tasting and a little trial and error before you find just the right marketing mix for your endeavor.

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Bonnie Harris is the president of Wax Marketing, a marketing and PR agency for small business. She also operates, a DIY marketing and PR site for entrepreneurs. Bonnie can be reached at

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