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The power of ‘PR’

Jeremy Fraser talks public and press relations.

Look, this is not intended to ‘teach Granny to suck eggs’. You’re in business and you know the score. But for the purpose of this article, I think what follows could perhaps be a useful reminder for you when considering how best to promote your products or services within the flooring industry.
It’s a problem that every company boss has to deal with – marketing. You need to tell all your potential customers about what you have to offer and how much better their lives will be when they buy from you rather than choosing anything from the competition; they have to be made to realise that they are missing out big time if they don’t.

Setting out the benefits
As is the case with trying to sell anything, it’s the benefits you have to spell out. What’s in it for them if they hand over their hard-earned cash? We’re all the same aren’t we? Whenever we are thinking of buying anything we really have to weigh it up to decide if the expense is justified, especially now when just about everything is a lot more expensive than it was a few months ago.

So alongside your direct sales efforts, effective marketing is a necessity; and that means setting a budget for the year which should be looked upon not as a necessary evil but as a sensible investment that will significantly help in boosting sales. But for a campaign to really pay dividends it has to be consistent as to make any impact on your potential customers’ minds and therefore influence them to buy, they have to be continually reminded of your existence.

The marketing mix
But what type of marketing? Although placing advertisements in the various forms of media that reach your target ‘audience’ is pretty much an essential part of ‘the marketing mix’, any advertising can be very effectively supported by implementing a ‘PR’ or press relations campaign alongside – or it can be used entirely independently as your only form of generating publicity. Basically it’s still about creating and maintaining an awareness but in contrast to any advertising you place, which is obviously seen as biased and therefore sometimes taken ‘with a pinch of salt’, a press relations campaign has more influence in persuading people, as the information you read, see or hear is often provided to the media by people such as myself – who work closely with editors, journalists, and correspondents supplying them with relevant information to the specific industries or business sectors on which they report.

Most of the methods that are used involve writing press releases on new product introductions and arranging to place them with their images in every publication that is likely to be seen by their potential customers, suggesting and writing news and corporate articles, arranging interviews and thinking up new ideas to keep each client’s products and brands in their public’s ‘eye’.

Having held senior marketing management and directorships within the UK motor industry for many years, for the last 15 or so I have focused mainly on product PR aiming at influential specialist publications such as Contract Flooring Journal and many others in the various trades and health and safety sectors.

Clients have included workwear clothing giant Dickies, Danish manufacturer Engel Workwear, and Redbacks Cushioning. The latter produces innovatively designed kneepads which started with just an idea of exporting container-loads all over the world, driven by an excellent sales manager and supported purely by a continuous targeted PR campaign.

Each client has products which are specifically designed to add practicality, safety, and comfort to anyone who has to kneel for a living!

So with the greatest respect to Granny who can tell us a thing or two that’s for certain, if you have a product or service you’d like to promote to the flooring industry, could I suggest that you consider PR? There are many customers out there who want and need your products – some just don’t know it yet.
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