Posts Tagged ‘advertising’


Product marketing – how a micro business achieved local publicity worth thousands

If you’re developing a small business around a new product, one of the most daunting tasks is likely to be marketing. Where do you start? What can you afford? How can you compete?

Even home-based and micro businesses can achieve success without spending a fortune on branding, advertising, glossy brochures and so on.

Here’s how one micro businesses achieved publicity and increased sales:

Tim OldhamTim Oldham runs a home-based business, Call Sign 7. He has created a board game based on the Battle of Britain, and initial feedback from friends and colleagues gave him the confidence to pursue publicity.

Getting publicity for products is notoriously difficult, and the board game industry is vast, with a number of large companies producing and retailing board games.

How could Tim, based at home on the west coast of Australia, possibly hope to compete?

Our approach was to dig deeper than the product. We got to know Tim and found he had an interesting back story. We then looked at the demand for board games and found that a resurgence had occurred in the past 10 years. We also discovered that Tim attends a massive games convention in Europe every year and had already caught the eye of a UK wholesaler.

By presenting Tim to the newspapers in his region as a local entrepreneur whose business is backed by an interesting market demand, we caught their attention, and Tim achieved two fantastic feature articles. One of the papers will be following up with Tim later in the year and is considering a front-page feature.

For Tim to have placed ads of the same size, the cost would have been prohibitive. More importantly, the editorial carried more authority and credibility than an ad.

And the success didn’t stop there. As a direct result of the features, Tim has been asked to set up a display in a city shopping mall. The usual cost to a retailer for this is $1,000, but the manager was so impressed by Tim’s story that he is offering him the space for free.

With articles like this under his belt, Tim has a good chance of getting further and more wide-ranging publicity as his business grows. Just as important, he has leverage for getting retailers interested in stocking the game, which is competitively priced with a proportion of the profit going to the RSL (Returned and Services League).

We would love to get Tim blogging too – capturing an online audience to bring in more direct orders to his site. The stories he has to tell are captivating. And it’s stories that enchant an audience – not hard-sell promotion.


5 ways to build trust through publicity

Anna Pollock of Desticorp recently highlighted the changes in the way consumers are making choices.

She quoted statistics from FutureLab that reveal the soaring mistrust of brands and advertising, and pointing to peer reviews as being the most trusted influence in the decision to buy:

“Peer reviews are preferred over expert reviews by a 6 to 1 margin,” she told us.

She also pointed to the change in what makes a successful brand. No longer are we looking to brands that express an identity or image. It seems we’re now looking for those that appeal to our aspirations: “how does this brand make the world a better place?” (Think IBM’s ‘You can innovate to make a difference’ and BP’s ‘green’ logo.)

This is reflected in the world of online marketing, where a business is more likely to succeed if it:

  • convinces us of its credibility through customer reviews, testimonials or stories, and
  • regularly publishes useful content that addresses our problems and aspirations (a flashy website dedicated purely to image is less likely to convert).

As consumers, we no longer rely on a one-way flow of information via static websites, ads, brochures etc. We look for peer reviews and someone who understands our problems or desires, and who is willing to help us by providing information and resources.

A conversation is taking place.

Underneath the conversation lies a series of supportive ‘resources’ – or products and services that bring the business its revenue. Trust in the business leads to acquisition of the customer – or sales.

This set me thinking about what this all means for PR, and publicity in particular.

Publicity has always been a way to create a story and inspire a conversation around a product or service, and this is why it’s becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. It’s the closest form of marketing to word-of-mouth, which is the most trusted.

My advice is to give your audience what they’re looking for – a conversation around the relevant issues, with engaging stories from satisfied customers.

Here are my five ways to build trust through publicity:

  1. Steer clear of promotional messages. The journey is from conversation to conversion. Trying to sell during the conversation is similar to interruption advertising, and is less likely to succeed.
  2. Start a conversation by putting out interesting, newsworthy, issues-based messages.
  3. Find satisfied customers who are willing to be profiled or tell their aspirational and inspirational story.
  4. Put more stories and articles on your site and make them freely available to the media and your prospects.
  5. Be genuine and responsive in your intention to offer free advice and support through all your media channels (including your own site) – readers and listeners are becoming very good at sniffing out a fake, and will expect a conversation, not a pitch.