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#PR: Profitable Tips of Successful Companies for All Flacks
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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In a recent LinkedIn posting, Tim Ferris wrote about “The 11 Rules of Highly Profitable Companies.” While the article applies more to CEOs and entrepreneurs and branding, us flacks can find much useful information in the posting as well.

Among his suggestions on what sets highly profitable companies apart from the rest of the herd, we find (not in any particular order):

1. Repetition is Usually Redundant — Good Advertising Works the First Time
Ferris noted at the end of this suggestion to “Cancel anything that cannot be justified with a trackable ROI.” This flack would add that PR campaigns should also be included in the tip about repetition; like good advertising, good PR should work the first time. And, like good advertising campaigns, good PR campaigns should have trackable ROI.

3. Less is More  Limiting Distribution to Increase Profit
As Ferris noted so succinctly, “Is more distribution automatically better? Not necessarily. ...Whether Apple or Estee Lauder, sustainable high-profit brands usually begin with controlled distribution. Remember that more customers isn’t the goal; more sustained profit is.” For us flacks, this might mean a tightly controlled PR campaign to a select number of pitches rather than trying to pitch our PR to as many outlets as possible. Remember, the goal is not “more,” but “more sustained” pitches are.

8. Hyperactivity vs. Productivity — 80/20 and Pareto’s Law
What is this? Pareto's Law, according to Ferris, is nothing more than realizing “80% of your desired outcomes are the result of 20% of your activities or inputs. Once per week, stop putting out fires for an afternoon and run the numbers to ensure you’re placing effort in high-yield areas: What 20% of customers/products/regions are producing 80% or more of the profit? What are the factors that could account for this? Invest in duplicating your few strong areas instead of fixing all of your weaknesses.”

10. Deadlines over Details – Test Reliability Before Capability
I am going to quote the entire paragraph Ferris wrote under his tenth suggestion because it is so important; simply think of PR campaigns as you read this:

Skill is overrated.

Perfect products delivered past deadline kill companies. Better to have a good-enough product delivered on-time. Google "minimal viable product" for more on this philosophy. Even the great Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has wisely said that, "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

Test someone’s ability to deliver on a specific and tight deadline before hiring them based on a dazzling portfolio.

Products can be fixed as long as you have cash-flow, and bugs are forgiven, but missing deadlines is often fatal. Calvin Coolidge once said that nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent; I would add that the second most common is smart people who think their IQ or resume justifies delivering late. Don't tolerate it.

And, finally, Ferris's last tip is just this:

11.  Keep it simple. Complicated answers are rarely the right answers. 'Nuff said.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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