Strategic Outreach

Managing Change Via Communications

Taking a New Approach to Reaching the Real Buying Influences

Just when you think you fully understand the buying influences and the right messages, think again.

One thing that I’ve learned during my career is to routinely take a second or third look, after you think you’ve got a market all figured out. BtoB buying influences can easily allude the marketer or PR pro who goes with “obvious” conclusions.

Digital Metrology in a Crowded Field

Early in my career I worked with an Italy-based company (DEA) that made multi-axis, robotic-like digital equipment for probing durable goods components to measure dimensional accuracy.  During the automated routine, the probe would touch points on the part, ensuring that holes and features were within tolerances specified to meet quality objectives.

Back then, the new kids on the block in the manufacturing world were the “quality” people, working in lab coats in Clean Rooms, carefully measuring samples (first parts of a production run, for example).  These were the typical users of the Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) our client was selling. So of course, it would make sense to direct the advertising and PR toward these Quality Control engineers.

What we didn’t first realize and acknowledge was that the Manufacturing and/or Production Engineers (the guys that specked out and ran the “dirty” work out on the shop floor), actually controlled more budget dollars for the Clean Room quality control equipment than the quality guys.  Plus, the Manufacturing Engineers were starting to get the CMMs out onto the production floor to achieve faster checking and higher sampling.

So, while the heavy competition (there were more than 12 CMM builders at the time) were still grinding away with their ads and PR in Quality and Quality Progress magazine, we targeted the publications that the Manufacturing Engineers read – and created messages specifically relating to their world.

DEA’s market share steadily grew, while others floundered or disappeared. DEA was later bought by US-based Brown & Sharpe.

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September 15, 2010 Posted by | B-to-B Case Studies, B-toB Advertising, Brand and Reputation, BtoB Marcomm Creative, Buying Influences, Media Relations | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media Relations is not Favor-Mongering

Some companies have a strange view of Media Relations, and the practitioners of the craft that they hire  are always under the gun to get something out of almost nothing.

What if a friend told you: “Yes, I’ve made a career out of asking my relatives for favors and money.  I do it every month, again and again.  In fact, I have to constantly interrupt them if whatever they’re doing doesn’t involve me, and remind them that I need another favor.”

"Just One More Favor."

Sad, to be sure.  Media Relations, when done right, is not at all like this.  It’s about matching insights and resources with the right communications venue, not about calling in favors.

The business and trade publication biz is a tough one these days.  For editors, the workload constantly increases, and the revenues and compensation are typically going down.  Competition is fierce.  So you better have something new and important, backed up with data, if you want them to spend their time (and money) on articulating it for you and getting the information to your marketplace.

You probably aren’t going to have brand new, stunning information that fits this criteria every week. The rest of the time, make yourself available to help out and contribute by answering a question that a publication editor may have.  This will be occasional.

Meanwhile, take advantage of all the other valuable, low-cost or free channels for disseminating your own Thought Leadership content, on-line and otherwise.  And there’s even Advertising.  Yes, remember that thing called Paid Advertising.  More targeted than ever. “Wow, Uncle Dave is actually paying his own way now instead of bugging us.”

Which brings me back to my “asking favors from your relatives” analogy.  If you were then to replace the word “media” and call it “Family Relations,” you’d soon have to remove the word “Relations” because none of your relatives would want to have any kind of relationship with you.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Authenticity, Brand and Reputation, Media Relations | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment