It has long been said, “In the real estate business the three most important factors when selling a property are location, location, and location.”
For B2B marketers, the three most important factors are: repetition, repetition, and repetition. Why? Because repetition puts your products in front of prospective customers when their need arises and repetition reinforces perceptions about your products and company. In other words, repetition gets attention, builds brands, and stimulates the reader; resulting in sales inquiries and valuable website traffic.
There is no magic pill when it comes to meeting the marketing challenge of repetition. However, the closest thing is a well-executed product publicity campaign. First, you have to really understand what publicity is. It isn’t “free advertising,” as is often promoted by some in the advertising business. Publicity is news and information, or in today’s vernacular, “content.” News has tremendous value. In fact, the more newsworthy a media outlet, the greater it’s value. “The Wall Street Journal” is a prime example. Check out their advertising rates and see for yourself.
So, the first thing that is necessary for creating a well-executed publicity campaign is to see it as making a contribution to the very reason why the media exists: to bring readers relevant, high-quality content, rather than seeing publicity as free advertising. Develop press releases that help editors and Web hosts develop their content and editorial by illustrating how your products solve problems for their readers. And if they “choose” to publish your contribution; everybody wins!
Why is product publicity so effective? First, if an editor or Web host decides to publish news about your company, it is because they deem it newsworthy. By definition, it will carry more credibility than an advertisement. This helps establish and solidify your brand. Just reflect on Apple’s introduction of the Mac, Ipod, and Iphone for validation of this idea. The widespread exposure and repetition of the message in various media outlets not only reinforced the notion of Apple as an innovator, it also generated sales inquiries from potential customers and distributors.
I can hear it now; I’ve heard it before, “I’m not Steve Jobs and my products are not like his.” Well, they don’t have to be. If there is a need your product or service fills, there will be media outlets (websites, blogs, social media, and publications) interested in knowing about it. As B2B marketers, we have no control over whether our prospective customers are “ready to make a change” and try our product or service. They may be happy today with their current vendor, but tomorrow might bring a price increase, botched delivery, or some other opportunity may be created as a result of growth, a personnel change, or some other factor out of our control. The real marketing challenge, therefore, is: to “be in front of that prospective customer” when such an opportunity arises and to do it in the most cost-effective way!
You want these prospective customers to call your company, visit your website, or to Google your product or company. Widespread product publicity will accomplish these objectives more effectively than any other tool in your marketing toolbox. Product publicity can also uncover new markets, drive traffic to your website, improve organic search results, and help determine the best media outlets for paid advertising programs. And, if properly done, it will do it more cost-effectively than any other element of the marketing mix.
© Steven M. Stroum 2009-2014