If You Build It & Spend Millions, Without Public Relations & Marketing…They Won’t Come

In one of my favourite movies ever, “Field of Dreams”, the American drama-sports-fantasy film, Kevin Costner’s character is told “If you build it, they will come” in reference to a dream he has to build a field – and the movie ends with headlights of a long line of cars approaching the field, extending to the horizon for the field he does eventually build. The character spends his life’s saving to build the field – and apparently none of it on marketing and PR. While that movie was a fantasy movie and seemingly revealed success in Iowa 20-something years ago, clearly many in business today in many fields – From real estate to technology, consumer brands to professional services follow the same mantra today of investing millions in development, and nothing in marketing.

Could you imagine investing $12 Million in developing real estate – and then not having even $100K a year for publicity and marketing ? How about securing $6 Million in Venture capital investment – spending it on R & D – and having a budget of $3,000 per month for a PR Agency ? Both occurrences of companies I met the last few weeks and which happen regularly, amazingly.  How can either of these folks possibly hope to succeed ?

Guess what ? You aren’t the only one building and creating businesses – and the Ipad, IPod, Internet, TV, blackberry and all the rest are distracting to your potential customer – as is their jobs, families and all of the other life responsibilities one has.  You can have the greatest product in the world, but without investing in public relations and marketing, there’s no one coming and you won’t succeed.

There are many answers and thoughts in terms of what to spend on marketing and publicity – While McKinsey & Company is often quoted at 5% of total budget, many say small businesses need more than that.  Companies starting up need to spend to make noise, and each industry has its own set of rules.

It remains mind boggling when companies spend major dollars developing a product or service and then go uber cheap on Public Relations and marketing budgets – marketing it and letting people know about it are key to success.  Today, if you build it, they wont come… without PR & marketing.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR.