Our Whitepaper addresses the general concern about what works in advertising, and what works cost-effectively, to help small companies punch above their weight on restricted budgets.

The big questions about advertising of course – as preempted by Henry Ford are headed by: “What works?” “What is cost effective?” and for many industrial SMEs “How can I create a presence that big companies and competitors would envy?”

Given that advertising is what you pay for directly in media supplied by other publishers, where you can say pretty much what you like – so long as it is legal, decent and honest etc. e.g. space in journals, banners on websites, enhanced entries in directories, paid for entries in journal newsletters/newsflashes and the like, as well as pay-per-click advertising such as Google Adwords. But NOT PR/editorial (unless you pay the publisher to include it), not free entries in directories, not your own newsletters, not brochures.

A good place to start is from your PR program which is probably the most cost effective promotion a company can do and can lay the groundwork for so much else – so you can use your advertising spend to support your P.R. – and use feedback from PR to inform your advertising choices. For example – where does most of your PR and Social Media generated website traffic come from? Probably Google – so Adwords would be worth a look alongside some of the specialist trade press as discussed in our whitepaper.

Read the full paper here.

We have already noted it is probable that many printed advertisements are responded to via Google – so while Google is a conduit it is not fair to conclude that they are also the source of the webtraffic so derived. Sadly this is an unknowable metric.

Specialist publishers do not have the problem of  wastage in the same way as Google – people are most unlikely to go to a technical site just to find someone they already know – it takes too long – so technical sites are only serving the much smaller number of people who are specifically interested in the technical material and subsequently click on the web link. These publishers are not competing with the whole of Google – only that  part represented by people who don’t already know who or what they are looking for.

Plus these people are presumably reading technical journals to keep up to date with products and technologies so they are self defined as credible enquirers.  In the parlance of the motor trade 1 person with money in their pocket is worth 100 tyre kickers.

Difficult to prove I know – but I am aware of at least one specialist technical publisher who makes it his job to follow up with advertisers and identify orders flowing from readers of his publication, with some interesting results.

Since the coming of the internet we have all become used to large numbers associated with our web traffic – but do we really believe that thousands and thousands of new potential customers visit our sites each month – let us be realistic – just how big is your market in engineers and buyers – of the 50,000 or so engineers in the country how many are actually likely to be interested in your product? Numbers are great – I wouldn’t be without measurable data – but they only go so far and perhaps it is time we once again looked at quality over quantity in our advertising – and looked beyond the numbers.

Perhaps one can deal with this by excluding the company name from Adwords criteria – but if you do then another company will likely show at the top of the page – especially if your name is “The Blue Widget Company” as then every competitor with “blue widgets” in their Adword campaign will be ahead of your organic result.

As has been said before “Cui bono?” ( Cicero) and as usual one does not have far to look.

A situation which reminds me of the way that some printed publications monitised their pages by charging for “editorial” press releases with “seperation charges” and lost a great deal of credability in the process – so to with Google, especially since I and many others prefer not to click on the Adwords – using instead the organic searches which are there on merit.

Lets be clear, a system which charges for referrals from people who already know us is perhaps worth paying for, but let’s at the same time understand exactly what it is that we are paying for and what we are getting.

So if most of Google referrals are of low value where does that leave us?

Well clearly there are a lot of referrals from Google so it still leaves a valuable number – let us not desert a system which works – however expensively. But it does leave us to ponder the value of the specialist publishers in all this – the people who have for years been saying that they give us quality not necessarily quantity – could they have a point? Well I think they have.

The printed and technical online media often appear disappointing and with limited available metrics in comparison with the giant Google machine but – and here completely without evidence – let us go one step beyond the graphs and tables of data to an area they cannot measure – let us next consider the rationale.

So – if we are to “out market” the competition it makes sense to consider “what is Marketing?” – indeed I often get asked something similar. Although just as often people struggling to understand will tell me their own limited idea couched as ” well of course Marketing is …….” usually followed by “telesales”, “e-marketing”, “advertising”, “promotion”, “content marketing”, “sales promotion”, – now of course “social media” and even on one occasion “constantly repeating the corporate message ” or otherwise some similar quite specific technique that they have picked up from the marketeers toolbox.

Perhaps because I came into Marketing in the early 70’s when Marketing was developing as a philosophy of business I see all of these aspects and more as part of Marketing. A good definition I have heard is that “Marketing is everything that a company does that does not involve personal contact with the customer.”

However for me I would say that Marketing is an approach that encompasses everything a company does based on an understanding of the market and how the company can best opperate within the market.

So that far from leaving Sales people out in the cold I would say that Sales is part of Marketing and even the way that corporate finances are derived form part of the corporate Marketing philosophy. So promotion and sales and finance can be seen simply as ways of working to achieve the company’s overall marketing objectives.

This approach enables one to balance all the company resources, inputs and outgoings, so as to optimise performance – connecting the marketplace to financial results.

To Grandiose for an SME? Well little acorns and all that – we can start by considering where to put promotional spend – into a new product that has already had a lot of effort behind it or into re-enlivening a moribund cash cow?

Would your resources be better in stock or an exhibition? Staff morale or a new machine? Interest on a loan or investing in enquiries? Which will enable you to best surf the waves of the Marketplace and to optimise your financial results long term?

So to Out Market the Competition we first have to think differently – about how to connect our resources with our markets. This is not always possible within a small very pressured environment and in my experience industrial SMEs are run by either from an engineering or a sales perspective – which generally brings a specific focus and timescale – a Marketing approach tends to be wider and longer term – this added perspective can be extremely advantageous in developing a strategy to take  a company forward over the long term. It focuses on growth in good times and out-marketing the competition in the down times. You may not need a marketing dept full time but you are likely to need access to one.

As a first step to “out Market the competition” contact us at ID-Marketing

PR Integrates

PR integrates – a company PR program is at its best when used in an integrated way with other promotional activities. It is really a question of getting the balance right: without PR no balance with only PR no balance with PR, website, newsletters, advertising etc then a balance can be achieved that meets the information […]

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PR as a function of marketing

In considering the function of PR within marketing it is first worth considering “what is marketing?”. Personally I take the broad view – it is anything a company does which is directed toward its customers, so it comes into product specification, presentation, distribution, sales, etc etc. In which case PR is just a small part […]

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Do it yourself vs. the experts

We had a brilliant example recently of just how a little knowledge and effort can have a huge effect. A company we know had done a deal with a website for an enhanced entry package about a year ago and had put the entry together themselves. The company people involved were bright, knowledgeable and conscientious […]

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Just do it properly!

Doing the job properly – at the end of the day the whole industrial PR process – with or without search engines – is about getting genuine information to places where it can reach serious potential users/buyers. These are willing buyers – if they don’t buy then their business will not exist, but they must […]

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No holidays in PR

Interesting to hear over several years from a number of the media guys that their enquiry rates are maintained through the holiday periods ( December, July, August etc ) – and to see that this is supported by client’s own monthly web traffic stats. In-fact web-stats seem to confirm apocryphal stories of hard pressed engineers […]

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What is PR?

The creation of easily digested information regarding products and services. By presenting genuine information in a quickly assimilated way we are helping engineers to stay up-to date with developments and trends so that they can quickly solve problems in design or production. This presents a wider profile of possibilities and helps optimise the innovation cycle. […]

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