Bill Gates said, “A fundamental new rule for business is that the Internet changes everything.” Is this true for marketing? According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”
In practical terms, marketing involves an array of activities required to bring a product from manufacture to the marketplace. Historically, those activities included advertising, direct mail, promotion, public relations, branding, packaging, and distribution. They were referred to as the four P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. And then the concept of “positioning,” was popularized by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their 1981 book, Positioning: The Battle for your Mind. In the book they explained that positioning begins with a product and the idea is really about positioning the product in consumer’s mind. Today we use this term synonymously with branding.
Producing high quality sales leads and branding your company as a problem-solver in the marketplace are more important than ever before. Website traffic today is referred to as “inbound marketing,” a clever term concocted by Brian Halligan, the founder and CEO of Hubspot, back in 2005. Before that time we called it “lead generation.” What a great example of product differentiation and branding! Kudos to Mr. Halligan!!
Another modern term is “content” which is information published on the web: text, images, and video. In the past, this type of exposure was generally referred to as publicity or advertising. The difference, of course, is publicity is free and advertising is purchased. The more credible the media outlet; the greater the value. A value equation that still holds true today. Content on high quality websites produces higher credibility and generates more inbound activity. Moreover, it creates quality links which help with SEO (search engine optimization.)
As every industrial and technical business owner knows, the key to marketing and sales success is product differentiation illustrated by problem-solving. You need to be perceived in your prospect’s mind (branded) as a company that can solve problems. As noted above, lead generation and product positioning are critically important. Many engineers, in particular, assume that if somebody needs a widget, they’ll “Google” it and, therefore, they think that all they need is a strong internet presence with SEO (search engine optimization). Partially true. But, as Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” So, the key to product branding and inbound marketing is content on the web that describes your company’s distinctive capabilities and drives traffic to your website.
One marketing tactic from yesteryear that is even more powerful today is product publicity. Why? Because it provides the high-quality content necessary to position a product in your customer’s mind and has an enormous impact on search engine placement. It is truly a combination of outbound and inbound. It creates content which brands your company and lets you communicate directly with prospective customers’ who do their research first on the internet, like most of us do.
Historically publicity has proven to be about 10 times more cost-effective than advertising. Today that figure is much higher because of the amplification to all other marketing tactics, in-print and online. The internet has not changed the fact that product publicity is still the best tool for branding your company as a problem-solver, getting news about your products in front of your prospective customers when sales opportunities arise, and also helping to move your products to the top of the search engine rankings. Product publicity is truly a marketing amplifier that differentiates your company and creates enormous inbound leads.
© Copyright 2016- Steven M. Stroum (with permission to share)