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Local society to focus on marketing, PR

As Internet and social media marketing become more common, a local business owner has decided to create an organization to bring marketing and public relations officials together.

Jim Tome, president and founder of the DeKalb County Society for Marketing and Public Relations, said he hopes the organization brings business owners and company officials together to strategize.

Tome has been in advertising and marketing for 20 years. Recently, he started his own business, Imagin8 Marketing, out of his home in Sycamore.

But as the local economy has been affected by the recession, business has been tough, he said.

Tome thought about starting a professional society for others in marketing and public relations in the area to meet and brainstorm for the better part of a year.

The timing was right, he said, because it seemed like a good move to achieve success in spite of a recession.

The organization – just two months old – is still attracting members, Tome said. It’s something he’d like to see meet the needs of businesses and organizations that a chamber of commerce or other city organization doesn’t cover.

Tome has been setting dates for luncheons and after-hours events; an educational conference will likely take place in August.

“Things are creeping along,” Tome said.

Jeff Keicher, State Farm insurance agent who is involved with the society, said he sees the society as a necessary organization in DeKalb County.

“I think it’s something the area needs, I really do,” he said. “I’m very excited as a business owner to use the resource that Jim is putting together.”

Keicher said he often encounters business owners who need help connecting to a certain consumer group.

“People say, ‘I don’t know what tools to use; I don’t know what resources to use to connect to my target market,’” he said. “As a business owner, to make the most informed decisions, you need to know the fundamentals. That’s why I think this society can really help drive home the fundamentals.”

The biggest focus will be social media, Tome said, because it’s become a prominent way to attract business and market a company.

“We want to keep it varied enough that it has appeal for different organizations,” he said.

He hopes those with experience using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites will be able to share unique uses of the sites and success stories using them in relation to marketing and public relations.

With the Internet marketing push, it’s important for businesses of all sizes to promote themselves, Keicher said.

With some small businesses, “you don’t have the resources to marshal a marketing department,” he said.

In general, Tome said he wants to see local businesses and organizations learn and educate others through the society without fear of competition.

He said he’ll address that potential fear by “being aware of that concern and making sure interactions are non-threatening.”

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