Marketing, who is the target? Obviously the Trade Media by its very existence is a marketing tool as much as it is the purveyor of Industry News.
That opens up the question is the published item - for now, today, this month or a long term reference point. Then a further question how do you cause it to grab attention, stand out and get recognised.
Research has shown that more than 60% of us now consume our news online. That means our overriding attention is grabbed by the soundbite, the snapshot, the headline and the first sentence. The shame of this is that content can take second place. There is also a trend, as we have seen with general news media confusingly the soundbite doesn’t have to mean what the item itself is about. If you like, the shout-out bit is to grab attention, the content then is the qualification so as not to get sued.
The contradiction is it’s the headline that gets absorbed as the truth.
From the Fenestration News website we can pass on what our tracking and monitoring appears to reveal after more than 50 Million news page views (Yes 50,000,000 +). The readership is as would be expected predominately made up of those at the front end i.e. consumer facing companies dealing with the end-user, and their interest seems to be with media items that could add, improve and develop their offering to their customers.
Looking at what the viewer heads to at the Fenestration News seems to illustrate the supply chain suffers from missed opportunities in getting their message out. They understand their physical offerings well, they understand the best methods for its effective delivery. They get this so right, but then it goes astray. Yes they have expanded production, bought the latest super-duper machine and shuffled staff around. They internally already know all that and then, as if to reassure themselves, go over it again (or at least it seems that is the target) in a press release. The cruel reality is that up the chain, the people they want to make contact with, talk to, engage with and should be their target audience, see those improvements as a given. After all isn’t that what management is there to do?
Media releases for a recent trade-on-trade show illustrated the missed opportunities further. Within the first 7 days of media releases mentioning their appearance at the trade show these items were read on average 36 times, yes just 36 times. At the same time over the same period a general run of the mill release was being read on average 3,800 times, i.e. seen as 1,000 times more interesting by the readers. You could even conclude that outside of the company mentioned and its PR people there was no interest what so ever.
Customer or consumer. Terms that can be mixed up and misread. The person you directly supply to maybe your customer. Ultimately though it is the person that gets to use the product day in day out and paid their money that is the real customer – the consumer. It is they that should be the target, the ones everyone in the chain needs to be speaking too.
Also coming into play in the grand scheme of marketing, is the fact the number of players involved in the fenestration industry has contracted tremendously in the last 10 years. Add to that the opportunity for start-ups to arrive has been curtailed by regulation. Meaning that the supply chain is either looking to poach customers or increase volume by working with the existing customer base.
Without a doubt the supply chain has its act together in that it does what it says and is delivering as expected. So poaching - why would an existing company switch suppliers? Asked and answered.
The reality dawning is that a supply chain is a mutual partnership of companies working together to the benefit of the consumer. It is also clear that is where the growth is going forward.
That also begs the question, if your company is a major player in the supply chain is it trade shows or consumer shows that should be the target. Historically the consumer shows have yielded greater value.
It was this consumer facing approach that launched the original Kommerling Company in the UK. Also at the time it was consumer shows that caused Epwin to exists, seemingly as a contradiction they would achieve greater trade sales value from consumer shows than they ever did for trade shows. The list goes on.
What the anecdotal evidence demonstrates is that consumer facing marketing goes straight to the target and produces consistent end results for everyone in the chain. That is, marketing by the supply chain that is aimed at the consumer yields better results than those they think are their target, even if it appears in Trade Media. Its simple logic, at the front end you stay on top by seeing things through the consumer’s eyes. If a trade supplier talks the same language the advantage is instantly recognised.
Care is needed when taking the ‘me-too’ approach as well, followers of the collective, or taking the view its right because that’s how others do it. Means all too often companies find themselves in the position of being the background decoration to justify the main event.
That might sound odd coming from a trade orientated news outlet like the Fenestration News. This however, is the power of the internet. When news releases lose the in-trade jargon and speak English, the retail viewer turns up to read the news, this is thanks to the power of the search engine query, which is why one of the questions asked - is a media release for now, today, this month or a long term reference point.
In marketing terms this doesn’t answer the question as to why the most read item of all time at the Fenestration News is Mike Crewdson’s charity release ‘Hug a beautiful woman (or three)’ from September 2005.