Marketing and Public Relations, when done correctly, get results and impact the bottom line. But consumers are bombarded with thousands of commercial messages day in and day out—and they tend to skip or ‘tune out’ almost all marketing messages.
Since the purpose of marketing is to create want for your product and get a response, it is vital to find a way to penetrate this ‘tune out.’ The secret is to do full marketing.
Full marketing includes the complete cycle from research and surveys through strategic campaign planning, creative development, campaign implementation and management.
Omit any one of these areas and the campaign will either fail altogether, or be less successful. Do them well and succeed!
We can assist you to reach your target public, penetrate their space and get them to agree to hear your message. We are happy to discuss your marketing, advertising and public relations projects, whether large or small.
Call your ASAP Client Assistant and ask for a “No-obligation Marketing Consultation”. We can make your market respond.
What should we do to make our start up or new business succeed? While there is no 100% guarantee that a business will succeed, a start up or an entrepreneur would have a much better shot at it if he or she did some basic homework, which we call in the business, market research. Doing a survey on your friends or parents is a bad idea as they are not likely to give you unbiased advice and may not even be the target audience for your product or service. Would you ask a dentist how to play the guitar? Firstly, figure out who is your public (target audience). Better to have talked to people on the street or at a business mixer. Something like, “Would you be interested in buying a new product that does ___?” If there were an interest then you would know you are on the right track. If not, it is back to the drawing board or abandon the idea. Survey at least 100 people. Do not survey a group. That will give you wrong answers, since people do not make buying decisions as a “group”—except government, and look what they end up with. If you get a positive response from potential customers, then do some homework on the competition. Find out what products they have, what are their prices, where are they located, what do they do successfully, and so on. Armed with solid market research and surveys you can now start to formulate a sales forecast and a business model. Then check it out with your business advisor as to the funding needed, personnel requirements and so on. Your planning is now based on facts not opinions. The best way to avoid a business failure is to prevent it in the first place by doing your homework and becoming knowledgeable about the business—all before you spend your start up money. Do focus groups work to get survey data? Do not survey a group. That will give you wrong answers, since people do not make buying decisions as a “group”—except government, and look what they end up with. People typically make buying decisions on their own, not by a committee. How do I figure out who my target customers are? It is well known that customers buy from people they trust. All the hype about “creating a brand” really means developing a relationship with your customers so they trust you and become repeat buyers. Do your homework to find out who exactly is your target market—broken down by specific publics (audiences). This is an often missed but very vital step. Determining your publics is done by undertaking or hiring someone to do market research and surveys. Without this, any marketing (advertising, direct mail, public relations, etc.) will not be as effective, as you have not narrowed down your audience. Only big companies with fat budgets can waste marketing dollars by advertising to “everyone”.
With my limited budget, how can I stay in touch with my customers? While you can’t go to lunch with everyone, you can: call him or her, meet them at a mixer, exchange business cards, visit their booth at a trade show—any way you can to make contact in person. One of the best methods is to write and send a monthly newsletter. Get them to sign up for your monthly newsletter which makes your emails permission based—a vital step, since many people have anti-spam filters. Once you have made the connection they will begin to look forward to your communications, be it: a newsletter, a mixer, an email, a visit or phone call.
What is positioning and how does it work? The exact positioning for your product or service should be worked out and tested in advance. Positioning, a vital marketing concept, has changed the way companies advertise and publicize their products. It's the first concept to deal with the problems of communicating in an over communicated society. With this approach, a company creates a 'position' in the prospect's mind, one that reflects the company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Positioning is behind many stunning successes and failures in the world of advertising. The development of positioning is done by a series of special surveys, testing the positioning before it is rolled out.
How can I make our creative more successful? A problem with creative, such as a TV commercials or brochures, is that they have a high failure rate resulting in a high churn rate at agencies. This could be brushed off as “the public didn’t like the product” or “the production budget was too low” or “it was a bad media buy”. None of these will actually help improve the stats of commercials—print or electronic. So how could a commercial be made more successful? It is well known that good copy is the backbone of an effective commercial. The real secret is knowing what the buttons are before writing any copy. What are the “hot buttons” and sales points that need to be emphasized in the commercial? You cannot handle it in post production if the copy does not have the right buttons to sell the product. The only way to really find the hot buttons is to do market research and surveys. While there is no 100% guarantee that every commercial will succeed, you will have a much better shot at it if you survey in advance. You can also survey after post before spending media dollars but that is probably too late.
How can I get our products to stand out and get noticed? Unless you have invented a revolutionary new product, the market place is likely inundated with products—thus you need to stand out to be noticed. Scientific market research and surveys find the “go buttons” that capture the publics’ attention resulting in a much more effective creative. The return on investment can improve substantially with accurate and spot-on customer buttons. Without good survey data even a great copywriter is flying blind with a wish and a prayer. Many good products with high quality creative productions have failed in the initial test due to bad marketing, which mainly entails faulty market research or no customer surveys at all.
What is the secret to creating a top brand? Brands are built by public relations—not advertising. Advertising can maintain a brand but not build the brand initially. In public relations, the goal is to mold or change public opinion so that customers will think favorably about your product or service. Advertising cannot do that as it lacks credibility. Even infomercials, the most successful form of advertising, uses PR techniques i.e. loads of testimonials.
What is the secret to good copy writing? Copy writing and creative must be based on solid research and consumer buttons—not on unsurveyed “bright ideas”. You will potentially reap tremendous savings on media placement as you won’t be wasting money on hit and miss campaigns. Scientific market research and surveys find out what the target public (audience) actually wants and more importantly what their “go buttons” are. The exact positioning for your product should be worked out and tested in advance. Without good market research and surveys, any campaign will be unpredictable. At worse, it will be a colossal failure at a great loss of revenue and profits. Armed with solid market research and surveys you can produce winning copy and make your products stand out.
How can I use public relations to expand my business? A company's reputation, profitability, and even its continued existence can depend on the degree to which its targeted "publics" (audiences) support its goals and policies. “PR plants the seed. Advertising harvests the crop.” — Al Ries, best selling author. Public relations is the tool to shape public opinion, both inside and outside the company. This often calls for "telling the story of the company" and forwarding its positioning. In summary the steps to get a PR campaign launched are:
The target public (audience) is determined. I.e. who do you want to communicate to and what is the purpose of the communication?
Research and surveys are conducted to find the “buttons” for the target audience. Research and surveys are conducted to determine the positioning for the company or product. This is a vital, vital step as positioning (branding) is a long-term process.
The message is determined based on the surveys and the positioning.
The campaign rolls out and could include broad distribution using a press release service that can get the release out to regional, national or international media outlets. Targeted distribution such as an industry trade magazine. In this case, the media is typically contacted in advance to find out what type of material they are looking for and other details. The article is custom written keeping in mind that it must be newsworthy.
What is an on-line media kit? An on-line media kit is a section of the company web site section called something like “News & Press”. This allows journalists to get more information on the company, the executives and its products by simply logging onto the web site. This section includes copies of all press releases issued, an introduction to the company, bios of the company executives, product details and photos. If the company is a public company trading on a stock exchange, there would be much more information on the company, share structure, finances and so on.
How can I evaluate our advertising? The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is viable or unviable according to its actual sales. It causes sales or it doesn’t. To determine what will become effective advertising, you must begin with the right basic premise. All advertising should be judged by a salesman’s standards. In other words “Show me the money!” The acid test of any advertising is: did it generate sales or prospects? This may seem very obvious, but billions, if not trillions, are wasted on advertising where there is no way to measure the results in the “bottom line” i.e. net profit to the business.
What are case studies and how can I utilize them? A case study is a short report that details the actions of a company that contributed to the success of a company or a customer. Typically it would be a report on a customer’s success using your product or service. These are great to include in promotional materials, sales kits and add to your web site. They are more believable than a brochure.
Should I use testimonials? A testimonial is a letter from a client acknowledging your good works or exceptional service. They are very powerful. You can hang them on the wall for your customers to view, include them in sales kits and proposals, add them to your web site and incorporate sections of them in brochures.