Effective promotional efforts begin with PR. According to Business Wire, press is 15 times more believable than advertising, and 1/7th the cost. Because press is so believable and an affordable way to get the word out globally, a good marketer should execute an extremely aggressive, creative and continuous press campaign throughout the year.
PR Topics (click on link to jump to section):
- Target Audience
- Editorial Schedule
- Reviewer’s Guide
- Press Releases
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Crisis Management
- Media Training
- Tracking & ROI – PR
- PR Q&A
- Clipping Services
For many products that are in the early adopter phase of the technology adoption cycle, “referencing” is the single most important promotion to drive a product into the early majority stage (where sales start to skyrocket). Early majority buyers are looking for “proof of concept” that your solution is both possible and profitable. This evidence is necessary to convince risk adverse management that they should precede with deployment. Once convinced, the early majority acts and the market takes off, which paves the way for the later majority, and so forth.
Referencing can take the form of testimonials from customers, white papers and case studies, references from consultants and industry analysts (such as the Gartner Group, Cahner’s In-Stat, Aberdeen, Forrester, Jupiter and others), and product reviews with positive affirmations within trade press, business or consumer press—in print or online.
Possible PR tactics for the year would include the following:
- Product announcements
- Press releases announcing wins, alliances, case studies, user reactions, road shows, growth, etc.
- Industry trade press tour
- Business/Consumer press tour
- Analyst interviews and meetings
- Product spokespeople introduced to the press as industry experts
- Product review submissions
- White papers and ghost-written articles
Objectives are simple: your product should be the default name and your CEO/President/GM should be the spokesperson for the entire product category. In order for this to happen, it is critical to get a lot of “impressions.” In advertising, it often takes 7-9 impressions (exposure to an ad) to cement a brand name and value in the mind of the audience. To create action (sales orders), it often takes even more exposure.
You need to ensure that every influencer for your product is being exposed to at least seven impressions. Every prospective customer, reseller and every potential alliance who is influencing a product decision needs to know about your product and its positioning (we’re making the assumption that its value proposition is compelling).
The first phase of a PR campaign creates brand awareness among your product influencers. The second phase creates brand awareness among prospective customers. The first phase involves branding the analyst, press and resellers (if sold within the channel). In addition, depending on the size of your company, you would plan several internal initiatives to create awareness and interest in the product.