You Must Plan The Elephant's Walk

Written by Debra Scala Giokas  |  29. July 2004

In a Reader's Digest, I found one of the best definitions of marketing, which I will share with you here: "If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus coming to the Fairgrounds Saturday,' that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk him into town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed, that's publicity. If you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations. And if you planned the elephant's walk, that's marketing." This clever explanation of the marketing process, through its charming tale, caught my attention because it encompasses some of the tools of marketing: advertising, publicity, public relations, and planning. The moral of this story is that you must plan your marketing. You can create special events that warrant publicity and public relations. During summer, many of us take vacations. As a result, business contacts, as well as clients and customers, are away. The phones are ringing less. It's easier to find the time to network during lunch. In summertime, "the living is easy," and smart business people use this time to rejuvenate and create before September rolls in and doesn't stop with days of multi-tasking into winter and added stress levels. Productive downtime can stir creative juices. Creativity sparks innovation. Discipline with creativity ignites action. Think it, say it and do it. You must have a plan, but it must be a proactive plan. Enjoy summer, but use your daydreaming at the beach to start planning your elephant's walk. It's the smartest thing you can do for your business. After all, it's a jungle out there.

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