Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Brief Primer on Marketing and PR

Marketing: (definition) The moving of a specific product (or service) into public hands. This is accomplished with effective promotion that creates want in your target public so they buy what you are offering. At Batson Group Marketing we always keep in mind what is needed to create response or demand for your product or service.
Public: (definition) a type of audience

I. Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is designed to give you short- and long-term goals as well as a strategy to achieve those goals.

A. You need a strategy. You must make a marketing difference. You have to be distinct. Think of how much advertising you run into every day. Magazine ads, television, radio...in some places you'll even find advertising in bathroom stalls!
1. There are several key factors you must identify to make your marketing plan a strong one. That’s where MARKETING RESEARCH comes into play:

  • Who are your potential customers?
  • What's the most effective way to inform your potential customers?
  • What do your customers want?
  • How can you position your product/service in an appealing manner?
  • Look closely at your target market. What's their age, sex, profession, income level, educational level and residence?

If you're selling $70,000 vehicles, it really is a waste of time to target an audience who's making minimum wage.

B. Drip Marketing
Let’s say part of your overall MP is to use ‘drip marketing’. Drip marketing is not water torture… compare it to drip irrigation, where farmers and gardeners apply small amounts of water to plants over long periods of time instead of all at once.

Here’s a rough drip marketing campaign plan
Step 1: Develop your Plan (Plan something EVERY month)
Step 2: Strategize the Execution of Your Plan
Step 3: Decide who your Target is.
Step 4: Create consistency by developing your slogan or phrase. Then place it on every promotional piece. Many times your promo material will be referred to as Marketing Collateral

Marketing collateral (Definition) A collection of marketing communications pieces used as part of an organization's overall marketing strategy. It’s the stuff you send out so people know who you are and what you provide. Marketing collateral might include: brochures; data sheets that provide an overview of the features of a product or service (often a technical overview); and white papers - articles, usually of a technical nature, that showcase an organization's products or services and shows why those products or services are useful to the industry the business serves; Postcards, Newsletters

1. What collateral can you use for your drip marketing campaign? Here are a few that will get you started:

  • Postcards
  • Newsletters
  • Email Newsletter (You'll have to be careful of spam filters)
  • Promotional or Sales Brochures

Think of your drip marketing campaign as a way to nurture your current and potential clients. You campaign should keep them aware of your products and services. With this thought in mind your campaign will succeed.

C. Business Card
Remember, every successful home business conveys a unique message about their brand. You’re telling a story. And the business card is a small, yet integral, part of that story telling process.
Consider logo options that offer an element of consistency with your brand image.

  • Decide on the most relevant information that will be of value to those in possession of your card. How can they best reach you – e-mail, phone, fax, mail? Use the information that can provide a return on investment, and omit the rest.
  • Size Best to follow traditional business standards (3.5 X 2).
  • Keep the back of your business card blank. Some people opt at the last minute to add a mission statement or a catchy phrase on the back. But if you can’t win over somebody with information on the front, don’t expect any residual returns from what goes on the back.
    Important Design Note: Be careful of some companies who insist on printing their logo on the back of your card. Find a company that wants to make YOU money, not them. I favor

D. A Brochure is Part of Your Business Identity
Leave-Behinds - This type of brochure is named for the brochures you leave behind after meeting a potential customer. Write this type of brochure with a complete description of your product and its benefits. Summarize your sales pitch to echo the one you just gave. Keep your words forever in their brain - or at least long enough to get them to buy your product.

Point-of-Sale - These are best described as the type you might encounter while standing in line at the bank. You notice a rack of brochures and it just so happens they're conveniently located right there for you to enjoy. You take a brochure. You'll read about it later. Point-of-Sale. Write a catchy headline and make sure you have a nice visual to work with the headline. Your goal is to get potential customers to see your brochure, be curious enough to pick it up and, even more important, keep it.
Respond to Inquiries - When people ask about your product, they're obviously interested. Sending this type of brochure is for a qualified buyer. They're qualified because they're much more likely to buy than someone who hasn't contacted you. Since they've already expressed interest, write this brochure to take your prospect to the next step: the buying process. Hammer home all of your sales points and pack your brochure with facts to convince them they can't live without your product.

Direct Mail - This is the type of brochure you include with your direct mail package. You know the sales letter sells but a brochure used with direct mail contains photos, your product's sales points and even technical features.

Sales Support Tool - Sales support is very similar to leave-behinds.
Your salesperson uses them to guide them through their sales pitch. They have larger pages, larger photos and larger headlines.
Now that you know the types of brochures, figure out where they fit into the buying process for you. That way, you'll not only know the type of brochure you need, but the information your copywriter and designer needs to have.

E. Small Budget Advertising
Budget Publications - This includes weekly shoppers, free local TV guides, newsletters, and community papers. These publications are targeted toward a specific audience with relatively low ad rates. You're looking at a small market segment either geographically or by the consumer's special interests.

Classified Ads - Weekly newspapers, metropolitan dailies, national magazines. Readers in these areas may not be looking for your product, but your ad will be seen by individuals who are looking for specific information. On that note, classified ads need to be written in a clear and simple manner. Only feature one product/service per ad. If you offer more than one product, consider running a separate ad for each product you want featured.

Coupon Mailers - You've probably received a package of these at some point. They contain cards advertising several different companies and their products. These are also known as "card decks" and reduce the cost of mailing from 34 to 40 cents all the way down to about 5 cents per piece.

Handbills and Fliers - While you may not want to distribute handbills on the street yourself, you can hire a high school or college student to do the grunt work for you. There are even distribution services you can hire at a low cost to pass these handbills out. You'll still save money on your advertising and it only takes one customer to make up for the cost. You can also post fliers on bulletin boards, hang ads on doorknobs and pass out your promotional materials in office buildings.
Another place you might want to consider distributing these materials is at a trade show for your specific industry. Think of all the targeted prospects that are right there at your fingertips!

Bargain Broadcasting - If you're looking to hit the airwaves, you can find some good deals on radio, your local TV stations and even cable. But you have to make sure you're reaching prospects, your target market.

Co-op Advertising - A lot of companies overlook one of the easiest ways to get your name out there. Co-op advertising is a program in which several businesses take in the expense of advertising by advertising together.
Say you're in the interior decorating business. You can co-op with furniture companies, carpet dealers, etc., to reduce your advertising cost and increase your exposure.
Advertising doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. It can make or break your business...but it doesn't have to break your bank account in the process.

Public Relations: (definition) The art of making good works well known. The purpose of PR is to make you, your company, it’s actions, products or services well known, accepted and understood. Effective PR assists the company to exist in a favorable climate so that it can expand, prosper and be viable.

Press Release or News Release or Media Release
Definition: Newsworthy articles intended to be published in the media for the purpose of showcasing a company's activities to the public or its market.
It’s a PR world! You read papers, books and watch TV and it’s not a very nice world. Well, that’s PR at work. PR is a partially developed technique of creating states of mind in different types or audiences or publics.

Agreement with one’s message is what the PR is seeking to achieve. Thus the message must compare to the personal experiences of the audience. So PR becomes the technique of communicating an acceptable truth – and which will attain the desirable result.

PR is an activity concerned with presentation and audience. When someone writes a news release it is slanted for the publication that reaches a type of audience and writes for that audience.

And again that is where marketing research comes into play with surveys.
Step 1. You need to survey for the public [you have to find out who your public is].
Step 2. You then survey that public with regard to the product or service. [So you know what that public needs, wants and thinks.]

Unfortunately PR is abused. Examples of how PR shapes how we think...
Example 1. Public relations firms and corporations have seized upon a slick new way of getting you to buy what they have to sell: Let you hear it from a neutral "third party," like a professor or a pediatrician or a soccer mom or a watchdog group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged to make you believe what they have to say--preferably in an "objective" format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their "opinions."

Example 2. You think that nonprofit organizations just give away their stamps of approval on products? Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $600,000 to the American Heart Association for the right to display AHA's name and logo in ads for its cholesterol-lowering drug Pravachol. Smith Kline Beecham paid the American Cancer Society $1 million for the right to use its logo in ads for Beecham's Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette anti-smoking ads.

"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public opinion is greater than he who enacts laws." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, CIA Director (first staff meeting, 1981)

Andrew Hayward, now top man at CBS News, told Goldberg after the 1996 piece that "of course, the networks tilt left", but that if Goldberg ever quoted him as saying that, he would deny it.

In 1996, veteran CBS News reporter and producer Bernie Goldberg committed the unpardonable sin of publicly mentioning the issue of liberal bias in the media. For that he became persona non grata at CBS. In 223 pages of his book, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News" (Regnery), Goldberg tells how friends and colleagues turned on him, from junior CBS reporters all the way to Dan Rather. But much more than that, he exposes a bias so uniform and overwhelming that it permeates every news story we hear and read- and so entrenched and deep rooted that the networks themselves don't even recognize it.

Keep in mind that not all the news you hear is true but some of the Press Releases may be.

Hope you find this useful.
~Eileen Batson

Info for this was gleaned from a variety of sources over many years of experience, study and workshops.