Marketing to Anyone
By Jeffrey Dobkin
One of my readers asked "How do I market a product?" Yea. It's just that
simple. And here's your simple answer: Invest time, money or energy. Or just
pick two. Or, maybe marketing is just that simple.
The first questions about marketing take into consideration if you are
marketing a product or a service, if it's local (geographic marketing) or
national; industrial, business to business; to a wide or narrow niche, or a
retail product through wholesalers or directly through retail stores to
Also - how much does your product cost, what is the sales cycle, and is it
need-driven? Impulse? Or seasonal? Is price important? Then, is whatever you
are selling needed by everyone (marketing to everyone is difficult even with
a large budget) or just by a few (a great plan can be to market to a
narrowly targeted niche that you can identify and reach with a highly
focused campaign). For maximum effectiveness all these different
possibilities have different marketing campaign strategies.
The two most important questions I saved for last: What are your sales
goals? How much do you want to sell in terms of number of units or revenue
goals? And finally last but certainly not least, what's in the marketing
budget? You do have a budget, don't you?
Sigh... Anyhow... Here's how every plan
1. Identify your most likely prospects. This is the first step in any
marketing plan. Go for the ones with waving money in their hands and are
ready to buy, right now.
Find the magazines that go to these "likely prospect" markets. Look up their
market classifications and the specific magazines that are sent to them in
the magazine directories such as Bacon's Magazine Directory, and Oxbridge
Communications Directory of Periodicals, found at the reference desk of most
2. For a broad market, start out with a coherent PR or press release
campaign in newspapers and magazines. I'm not talking about just writing
a press release and sending it, and hoping for the best. I'm talking about a
series of press releases: a campaign sustained over time that's well thought
out, yet planned and created up front. What is release number one going to
say? Release number two? Three and four, also. Cover letters for each
release are a must*. What are you offering in each release? What is your
response going to be?
To increase effectiveness and make sure your release gets the most ink, make
phone calls before sending each press release asking the editor "Are you the
person I should send my release to?" This sets up a "Can you help me?"
relationship with the editor or media person in 20 seconds, and then alerts
them to be on the lookout for your release -- especially when your cover
letter starts out, "Nice speaking with you..." even if it wasn't.
3. Create informational booklets to give away for free and offer them in
your press release. Since the booklet title is totally responsible for
the quantity and quality of the response, make it a great title using the
Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule: write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best
By offering a FREE Booklet you give consumers a non-threatening reason to
call and something to ask for in return for raising their hand and saying
they're interested. Once they call and you have them on the phone the
release worked - it's up to YOU to determine their real interest and figure
out how to sell them whatever you're selling.
4. Keep tight track of the response: where did it come from? Then
take out ads in the most successful PR media placements.
5. For a narrow market, while the press campaign going on, start creating
a mailing list of your top 250 prospects. That's right - start digging
for names and addresses. Yea, it's hard work. Thankless, too. But your
success depends on your mailing list.
6. Track everything carefully. Every call, every inquiry. Have a
sheet of paper by every phone and ask, "And how did you hear of our
company?" Write it down and put that slip of paper in a drawer. At the end
of a few months count the slips for each, you'll know exactly what's
7. Create quality literature and cover letters.
8. Mail to your Top 250. Mail to your best prospects frequently,
every 4 to 6 weeks. If you can't identify your market tight enough and make
this mailing work, you're in trouble.
9. Test and retest small ads in various media. Don't forget to look
at low cost unusual advertising opportunities such as association
newsletters, church bulletins and so forth.
10. Keep marketing to wherever the best prospects and most sales are
coming from. Clone your best customers: Figure out where they came from,
what they like, why they purchase - and look for more of the same.
11. Buy my book, Successful Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods. Best
$30 bucks you'll ever spend on marketing. Besides, I need the money.
About the Author:
Jeff Dobkin is a speaker and a marketing consultant (marketing plans, pr,
market strategy, plan analysis: audits and review, media review) who happens
to be an amazing writer (corporate literature, articles, brochures, ads,
collateral, annual reports, technical material), specializing in
direct-selling print and web (DR Ads, catalogs, TV scripts, web copy) and
direct marketing material (letters, direct mail, mailing packages brochures,
catalogs, web copy and did I mention post cards?) He's also pretty darn good
at analyzing catalogs, ads and campaigns and direct mail packages. He has
written over 250 articles and 5 books on direct marketing. He can be reached
at 610-642-1000. Visit
DanielleAdams.com for some of his other articles.