For over 36 years I’ve been telling owners of machine shops and similar service businesses to think in terms of “what your customer receives from you on his loading dock.” In other words, don’t promote your service, promote what you deliver. After all, that is what prospective customers are looking for. They’re searching for couplings, fittings, or some other solution to a problem and are interested in quality, price, and delivery.
When I first looked at the entries that clients were making on my LinkedIn profile “skills & expertise” section I was surprised there was no mention of product publicity. Then it occurred to me that this latest assessment of my work on LinkedIn by clients is totally consistent with what I’ve been telling them for years!
Venmark and I have been different things to different clients. To many clients we are: new business development, product marketing, integrated marketing, and small business marketing. The one constant, however, is that we utilize product publicity as a totally integrated marketing tool. But that is no different from the machine shop that uses a particular type of machine to manufacture a shaft collar, coupling, or fitting.
It has become clear that since I started Venmark, clients identify me with what their needs are and the “how we do it” part, product publicity, is less important to them. The Venmark International brand has been product publicity specialists, “Keeping Your Products in Front of the World®. In fact, I remember back in the early days clients used to refer to what we do as advertising and we were always quick to correct them and explain that publicity is editorial coverage which is free content (news and information) and advertising you pay for.
As indicated on my LinkedIn profile, the unsolicited branding perceptions by many of our best clients are: Venmark develops new business, Venmark does product marketing, and Venmark does small business marketing. It just so happens that we accomplish these marketing objectives by creatively using publicity as a marketing tool. What’s more, we do this very efficiently and cost-effectively for many reasons, including our distinctive business model. I fell into the same trap that my prospective clients fall into: promoting what I do, rather than what I deliver.
© 2012 Steven M. Stroum