by David Smith
Executive Vice President
West Chester, PA
Several years ago, economic conditions in Europe caused our parent company to cut our marcom budget dramatically and our print advertising budget completely. Since we had been working with The Simon Group to develop and implement our marcom strategy up to that point, we knew they could help keep us well positioned in our highly competitive markets, until funding for our advertising was reinstated.
As a leading international manufacturer of professional grade portable electric power tools and abrasives for industrial, construction and welding applications, we needed to maintain high visibility across our diverse markets. The Simon Group quickly developed and implemented a multi-tiered program that ensured strong presence in the trade and consumer press for our end user markets, and among our thousands of distributor branches, to make sure our channels would still be highly motivated to sell Metabo products.
The program launched with a highly effective dual strategy...an extremely aggressive public relations campaign to the end users and a comprehensive research effort aimed at identifying our distributors' key needs. The PR program started with an onslaught of new product press releases, feature articles aimed at specific target markets and the agency's unique Publicity Initiatives™ program, which ensured coverage in all editorially relevant issues, buyers' guides and directories. The award-winning PR team also instituted an ongoing series of one-on-one interviews with key trade press editors at all of our national trade shows.
Within months, we were seeing PR exposure at a rate we had never seen in our previous years in the American marketplace. To that highly effective combination of PR tactics, we added a slew of product demonstrations and reviews, which are instrumental to the people buying our tools, product placements in key media (including national TV!) and a news feature program that has resulted in hundreds of syndicated pickups in newspapers throughout the country. In less than a year, the targeted PR efforts landed us several hundred annual exposures in more than 140 different media...covering all of our horizontal and vertical markets. And to help keep Metabo's visibility high among our distributors, our PR efforts reached the key distribution media, as well.
Additional firepower for our distributors was provided in the development of an expanded range of point-of-sale materials. Featuring compelling graphics combined with strong sales messages, these items included header signs, banners, counter mats, product ID tags, posters, literature holders and floor graphics. The agency's creative team has also developed names and logos for several key branding programs and products, all of which have been very well received by our sales force and distribution network.
The Simon Group also revamped our quarterly distributor newsletter to make it more data-rich with information the distributors could use in their sales efforts. In fact, it has proven so useful that we are expanding the focus to include the end users. Our tactics have also included product literature and direct mailers to aid our marketing programs, and The Simon Group has played a pivotal role in developing concepts and materials for our national sales meetings, providing everything from meeting themes and posters to PowerPoint presentations, music and giveaways.
We may have lost our a significant part of our marcom budget, but thanks to The Simon Group's enthusiasm, market savvy and creativity, we lost no ground among our end users or our distributors. While we know we won't continue without an ad budget forever, business is still up, and we plan on even more growth for next year.