Lesson 6: Draw Attention Using Traditional Approaches Too

Suzy’s discussion reaffirmed an initial component that may be critical to an overall solution to our challenge. She had stated at the close of the conversation, that public relations might be an integral element for developing the consumer franchise for these housewares company.

One of the marketing people that I have relied on over the years is Steve Clark. Steves the head of Andover Communications, a PR/Marketing firm specializing in product and service promotion, editorial and creative solutions and event planning, specifically for small businesses. That was important because the prices of the products in this industry necessitates a more limited promotional budget.

Building a presence for clients is something Steve is very comfortable doing. He views his role this way – the goal is to get the customers to ask the store why it doesn’t have a particular product in stock.

The other morning, I was watching the Today show, To my surprise, Matt, Meredith, Al and what seemed like the entire Today Show staff, were all wrapped in the SnuggieTM blanket. That’s the blanket with sleeves. The Today Show team was marveling at how great, warm and comfortable it was. Watching them discuss the product was absolutely fascinating. (By the way, the entire segment was just over two minutes long!)

Talk about using a “hub” for gaining a market presence…

And all I could think of was, some PR firm had really truly earned their fees. They had leveraged an infomercial which uses direct response advertising to create a market for very simple invention and then got several minutes on nationwide priime time television haveing their product promoted across the country.

And incidentally, the Snuggie is not only sold on the web. It’s also available at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Walgreen’s – the very same stores that our housewares companies have their products.

The lesson here is clear.

Being in a technologically driven world does not mean we should discount traditional methods of promotion. It is very possible to create customer demand through the effective use of traditional marketing and push-pull techniques.

Steve shared with me one of his own experiences. About ten years ago, Steve represented a client that created eyewear for those who spend a lot of time in front of the computer. The eyewear was branded and was designed to reduce eye fatigue. Andover was effective in creating patient demand so that prospects felt a need to go to their local optometrist and ask for the product by name.

To further cement its appeal, he arranged for a local television station to interview the company at a trade show where they were demonstrating the product. The presence of TV cameras at a booth added cache and credibility to the company and helped accelerate the results that they achieved.

Consumer attention though requires critical mass and often this solution involves unique packaging, placement and promotion to create two of the elements necessary for a successful buzz — exposure and credibility.

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