Make Your Marketing A Media Star
A lot of technology marketing focuses on features and benefits
of products or services. Many businesses clamor to be heard amongst other
companies seeking similar attention. Collectively, the "noise" of product
marketing leads to the dulling of all participants' efforts and to less
than significant sales results.
To overcome this noise, new products or versions are often introduced as justification to shout above all others. So, if there is
no new version, what is there to talk about? Frankly, I pity marketing
people working at a company with one product, little innovation, or
infrequent upgrade activity -- I do so because I have been there.
What can you do to avoid both the "noise" and "nothing
new" problems when marketing your technology? The immediate suggestion to my
clients is to take the focus off the product or service.
Make Your Marketing Newsworthy For Added Effect
In a previous column, I wrote "Brand your company,
not your products." This primary strategy entails emphasizing the
strengths of your company and its ability to deliver quality, no matter
what specific products or services you invent or supply.
A second strategy can be very effective for getting more attention for
your products without primarily focusing on them. It is to get media
attention for the actual marketing strategy, tactics, or processes that you
create and implement around your offerings. A person who executes this strategy well is
Virgin's Richard Branson.
He introduced his Virgin Cola by driving a red tank through a large wall made
of cases of Pepsi and Coca-Cola in the middle of Times Square
in New York City. He was on the front of every major newspaper in the
Imagine magazines, Web sites, or radio and TV all talking about your
company because of what you are doing to market your products and services
(which they also mention!). There are many benefits when your marketing
tactics get media attention.
More people hear about you.
Many business people are interested in improving their own success and
status. They thirst for information and examples of those appearing to
outperform or create waves -- even if it is outside their own industry.
Later, people say, "I've heard of you," not necessarily
remembering the context but giving them a level of confidence in you and
your company to take a
You're not dependent on new product releases.
This strategy allows you to smooth over those "dry" periods when there
is no new product coming out or little in the way of product improvement
from one version to the next. When your marketing gets the media
attention, you can maintain marketing momentum and keep your name out
there. It helps reduce the risk of being too far ahead of (or believing)
the R&D department's release dates.
It's more cost effective than traditional advertising.
Public relations campaigns are relatively less expensive when compared
to purchasing display advertising. To write and distribute a press
release about your creative marketing campaign efforts costs hundreds of
dollars versus the thousands required for a single, full-page print
It creates additional marketing events and opportunities.
The finest effort could involve writing a book about your marketing to
grow your business, such as Jack: Straight from the Gut, from GE's Jack Welch. Too big? White papers
and articles work too. You may soon find that you are invited to
speak at conferences or seminars about your innovation and experience.
This is wonderful for additional exposure and you present to a room full
of decision makers.
Your prospects are more open to your pitch.
When executives and business owners hear about innovative concepts,
their attention increases. This is contrary to reading
or hearing a sales pitch, when all defensive mechanisms seem to
kick into high gear. The media's interest in you from a marketing angle
gives you an alternative route into your prospect's mindshare.
Your competitors get nervous and help you (or buy you).
When the media likes you, it creates a natural tendency for comparison,
either by your competition or all prospects. In a subtle way, your
competitor's self-evaluation and resulting corporate esteem could make
them feel a touch inadequate or behind, especially if they have received
little or no press themselves.
Perception as a leader in your industry permeates the market. It is
really neat, especially if you're a young company, when the competition actually
begins helping you by bringing up your name in product comparisons.
Professional buyers leave that meeting and call you!
Attract more talent to your staff.
Face the challenge of recruiting good people with this additional media
attention, as it helps attract more talent. People like to apply and work
at companies perceived to be innovative and forward thinking. Future
employees feel that there is more potential at your company. They might
even take less pay.
Great. This is all good stuff. How can you do it? What will attract the
media to cover your marketing efforts? What should you do? You want the
extra attention and media power but how will you do it?
How To Get Media Attention For Your Marketing
Want your marketing to become a media star? The following lists
includes suggestions on how to do so.
- Get creative. Coming up with new ways to market and communicate seems
daunting. However, it never ceases to amaze me how often I see novel
approaches that catch my attention and seem to have a new aspect to them.
Hire outside help to add freshness to your campaigns (yes, this is a
- Plan the PR campaign around your marketing, not your product. Act as a publicist for the brilliant marketing rather than a
- Be different. Avoid the same old, same old. Be slightly controversial
without being offensive. Don't be so different, though, as to make your
prospects feel that you're a risky choice.
- Do it BIG. A big splash gets more attention. It involves greater
- Be daring. Take a calculated risk. Holding up New Yorkers in Manhattan
traffic, like Richard Branson, can be dangerous... but it gets press.
- Be the first. In the world, in your country, in your industry, or in
your product line. Expand your thinking outside of product invention here.
Think about how you name, distribute, finance, sell, service, or package
- Deliver it differently. Come up with fun ideas. Throw parties for
the employees at your customer site upon installation. A bedding mattress
company I know has its delivery guys wear slippers and they highlight this
in their advertising.
- Get noticed on purpose. Write a book. Apply for awards given for
innovative marketing or advertising, as well as for your products or
The release of Microsoft Windows 95 was a well-orchestrated marketing campaign
around a new software product. But the news was plastered with much
more information on how Microsoft was launching its new software than the
product's actual features and benefits. Of course, news pieces all introduced the
product and Bill Gates' claims of how Win95 was going to revolutionize the
It does not necessarily take much money to make your marketing a media
star. It does take time and brain power. The more energy you invest in
creativity will result in more coverage of your unique marketing approach
in all media. Remember, the most important objective is the introduction
of your product or service as part of the story. Get Internet, television,
radio and print media buzzing about you and your terrific marketing...
successful sales of your product or service will follow.
Martin Wales, the Customer Catcher, is a business development
specialist helping companies win and keep more business with a focus on
CRM. He is a technology-marketing specialist, speaker, and facilitator
focused on maximum results with minimum risk using a company's existing
resources. Contact him at email@example.com.