Get out of the Kitchen. Follow Through

By Stacy Cornay for the Times-Call
Publish Date: 03/05/2012

My first client hired me to increase awareness of his business.

He felt that local residents didn't know what a great restaurant he had. So together we put together a VIP dinner for local dignitaries, elected officials and key opinion leaders.

On the special night, the restaurant was full and I was meeting and greeting. Only one thing was missing. The owner and host. When found in the kitchen, the owner/host announced that he wasn't coming out. He was too busy to mingle with his invited guests.

Aside from my personal embarrassment, the event has stuck with me for another reason. It clearly illustrates how a lack of follow through can scuttle the best-laid plans. The invited VIP guests enjoyed fine food and had a good time chatting among themselves. But they didn't get to know their host. He was too busy in the kitchen to put his face and personality on his restaurant. He was too busy to sell himself. Other than small talk and dinner, it was an event where nothing happened.

Nothing-happen events happen all the time.

Money and time are spent on marketing activities that have no follow through. Innovative websites, eye-catching brochures, creative ads, pithy press releases – they're all good marketing approaches. Without follow through, they can be wasted efforts.

Years ago I was Executive Director of a non-profit in Louisiana. Its focus was on matching volunteers with groups most needing their expertise. Our mission dovetailed precisely with an initiative launched by President George H.W. Bush. His Thousand Points of Light campaign was targeted to increase volunteerism in America.

We seized the opportunity to enlist one of the area's largest employers. We got him to agree to include volunteer experience on his employment applications. Good move, right? But it wasn't enough. We held a press conference to go public with the

applications agreement. The employer talked proudly about his business, his employees and how important volunteers are to his community.

The story was carried in all major newspapers across the state. Great move, right? Still not enough. When the information was submitted to the national organization coordinating the Bush program, our non-profit received a national award. Excellent, right? Yet there was more to be done.

Self-generated press releases on our award were picked up by newspapers, radio, and television outlets throughout the region. We were invited to appear on major news stations to discuss volunteerism and tell how our community was staying on the cutting edge. Wonderful, right? Definitely, and the story wasn't over.

When President Bush learned of our efforts, he sent a personal letter of congratulations and support. Yet another press release was disseminated, more positive publicity was given to local efforts, more volunteers were enlisted and more local groups and organizations benefitted.

Thanks to follow through, a project that started “good” moved through “great” to “excellent” and ended up “wonderful”. Following through. It's how you market effectively.

When planning marketing strategies, some businesses don't account for follow through. They obsess on getting a new website design, on getting a Facebook page up and running and on having their news briefs picked up by the media. They're honing in on marketing tools when they should be concentrating on marketing goals.

Effective marketing is an art. It works. Like all good art, it works better when given proper time and attention. That's why it's important to step back from time to time and take a critical look at what you're doing. Take advantage of all the angles. Follow through.

Don't find yourself standing in the kitchen while your prospects carry on without you.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
Visit or call 303-651-6612.