Marketing 101

What Marketing Publicity Can Do for You

With millions of baby boomers who'll eventually need mobility products or services nearing retirement, and others who may become disabled due to injury or illness, companies specializing in mobility HME may feel comfortable following "business-as-usual" marketing techniques. But no matter how admirable your company, this may be a bit shortsighted unless the right segment of the buying public knows your dealership's products and services. Unfortunately, this is a "big if" in the media-cluttered, globally competitive world we now live in.

Fortunately for forward-thinking company owners in the mobility market, there exists a "secret weapon" called "marketing publicity" that few understand and even fewer use to their advantage.

Within the field of marketing, "marketing publicity" is perhaps the most misunderstood, underutilized tool for increasing credibility and sales. As the name implies, it's a mix of marketing and public relations used by companies to drive brand awareness, lead generation and, of course, sales.

What makes marketing publicity so effective is that it harnesses objective third-party testimonial and content from outside sources, then turns it over for use by the media. It takes the form of legitimate news and feature stories, though usually crafted by a skilled marketing publicity firm. When published, these stories move products and services into the hands of customers.

The key is -- to be published -- the stories must not only be newsworthy, but also be written in tight journalistic style and directed at a publication's target audience. The stories must benefit the publication's readers, listeners or viewers and help editors accomplish the publication's stated purpose.

Marketing publicity gains its power from objective third-party endorsement. The best marketing publicity stories contain quotes from a happy customer or industry expert, which is a powerful endorsement.

The Benefits of a Marketing Publicity Program
Marketing publicity has multiple benefits. It can not only increase product awareness and start the sales process, but also address or neutralize negative impressions. It can promote branding, raise perceived value, build product/company credibility, reach key decision-makers, and generate leads from past and existing customers, as well as from new prospects.

In addition, marketing publicity can decrease the cost per lead by stimulating word of mouth, the most powerful promotion possible. It can establish a company as an industry leader, introduce new product, or open new markets at low cost. It complements and increases the effectiveness of other promotion efforts, such as advertisement, direct mail or trade shows.

The Path to Marketing Publicity Success
The key to reaping marketing publicity's many benefits, however, is getting a significant number of articles published in desired target markets with regularity. Much like exercising a body to peak fitness, a single workout won't do the job, but repeated effort will.

To achieve success with marketing publicity, you must write an article, put it in proper journalistic form, and get a journalist to accept it. A tip to accomplish this: Study the publication you want your article published in, and pitch the story to the editor so he/she sees its value to the publication's readers. If you're aiming to be published in a magazine aimed at local seniors, talk about how your scooters and rollators can help maintain independence while being easy to use. If you're aiming for a city newspaper with readers of all ages, talk in terms of how mobility equipment can support caregivers or how lift chairs or ADLs work. If you don't have the in-house staff to write and place your own articles (we'll be giving you step-by-step instructions in a future column), you can always outsource this task to a professional marketing publicity firm.

This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Mobility Management.

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