Building Buzz in a New Market

Steps 5 Through 8

Step 5: Scale Your Campaign
This step is important for entrepreneurs that sell directly to other businesses or consumers. Marketing in its many forms exists solely to support sales. Before embarking on any promotional campaign, decide exactly how your company will support the leads and sales generated and scale your marketing program accordingly. For example, if you have a three-person sales team and each of these individuals can handle approximately 20 leads a week, engaging in a campaign that would throw 40 leads per week in their path would be disastrous, resulting in frustrated prospects and bad word-of-mouth--two elements that could immediately torpedo your efforts. Plus, overreaching also involves overspending, so decide in advance exactly what you want to see happen and create a marketing campaign scaled to meet that goal.

Step 6: Create Pre-Rollout Buzz
Numerous new product and service offerings get off to a flying start thanks to efforts that build interest and excitement prior to and during a rollout. Depending on what you market, you may benefit from sharing information early with "influentials" or "influencers." Influentials are considered experts in their particular arenas, whether that encompasses digital cameras or cosmetics. They may include product reviewers, bloggers or influential teens (members of the "in group"), just to name a few. Influencers are often professionals with direct access to your prospects who are capable of making referrals, or they may be consumers who help guide decisions for others (such as the way middle-aged children of senior parents are often called upon to help choose the best healthcare or nursing home options).

Some forward-thinking companies now use their websites as gathering places for influential "community" members. You can form an advisory group, or merely identify an important set of core customers (influencers), to receive information and invitations to participate in the development of new products or ideas. This is bound to build excitement and get buzz rolling.

Step 7: Win Favorable Press
Suppose you want to introduce your product or service to a new national market but don't have the deep pockets it takes to buy advertising on that level. Solid media relations will let you place stories in well-targeted media. Even with a local story, media relations can jumpstart any product or service introduction or help you introduce your existing product to a new market niche. The key is to tailor your stories to the needs of the specific media you target. A press release concerning how a new product expansion will benefit the business community is a natural fit for the business section of the local newspaper, for example, while information about the innovative nature of the new technology the product uses will best fit the needs of tech websites or trade/industry publications.

Create a media relations list, taking into consideration the different types of stories you hope to generate. Next, create specific releases to meet the needs of the individual media outlets. Send your releases and follow-up by telephone and have a full press kit handy to send to journalists who are interested in learning more.

Step 8: Place Your Advertising
The smartest advertising buys are ones that allow you to reach your most qualified prospects in the right context or, better yet, when they're in a position to buy what you sell. Putting your message in the proper context lets you communicate with your prospects when they're in precisely the right frame of mind. Suppose you invented a new type of home insulation that you were marketing directly to consumers. A successful media placement would put your ad on a webpage where consumers are reading articles about home insulation and energy savings. You'd reach an audience that was highly qualified and actively interested in what you were selling.

Where will your best prospects get information on what you plan to market? From pay-per-click advertising on search engines and traditional print and broadcast media opportunities to the newest place-based media, there are numerous ways to reach literally every market niche. For superior results, come up with a mix of media that reach qualified prospects in the right context at the right time and your promotional campaign will effectively tackle that new market.

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.
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