How The Parking Lot Can Enhance a Marketing Program

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By Amy Kossoff Smith, President Write Ideas, Inc.

I recently published an article on my firm’s site about how a “Parking Lot” approach to marketing discussions can be an incredible tool for adding calm and focus to a meeting.  We’ve used this tactic with great success at our PRConsultants Group conference. When you get 40+ PR professionals in a room, can you imagine how many ideas and topics are on the table?  The excitement for collaboration is measurable, and the topics to discuss on our agenda far exceed our few days together. We’ve used the Parking Lot there to keep the pace moving along and to log important topics for future discussion.

I’ve found myself gravitating toward this many times with clients in recent months, as a way to not only manage a marketing conversation, but in essence, to build a toolbox of tactics for future campaigns as well.  Basically, it’s a place to log, inventory, and save great ideas for later. It gives everyone comfort, because the idea isn’t dead due to a lack of resources or time. It’s simply “on deck.” Sounds promising, right? I love the parking lot for several reasons, but mostly, it’s a great way to get consensus about priorities in an organized and trackable way. What business doesn’t have a wish list of ideas?

It’s particularly useful when you’re publishing a newsletter.  We like to put together 10 ideas when there are room for 5 for a few reasons.  First, it lets the client choose, which is something we all like to do.  Also, it gives you a library of topics for the next round.  It’s the ultimate win-win.

Creative minds have a rapid-fire stream of ideas, and it’s not until you layer strategy on top of that explosiveness, that PR magic can take flight. A theme that has come up repeatedly in our campaigns is the importance of focus. When you’re busy launching a new concept or campaign, it’s easy to get carried away with ideas that are all over the map. Whether the idea is related to marketing, advertising, PR, social, etc., it’s often hard to let go once that idea is on the table.

For more on this topic, and some related articles on the topic, visit my post.

Author Bio:  Amy Kossoff Smith, Founder/Editor of PRCG Powerlines and Founder/President of Write Ideas, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience in retail PR & promotions.  She also publishes an online parenting magazine, The MomTini Lounge.  Featured on The Today Show and all local TV networks, in addition to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, she also publishes a national wire column.

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