Shoestring Marketing From Business Librarians

Conference for Fundraisers

Networking: New Tack for GetContactX

Corporate Angels

The Family that Votes Together

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the October 31, 2001 edition

of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Public Relations: Getting Ink and Air

It’s a common sin. You spend a fortune on the design

and of an embossed folder, fill it with glossy four-color photos of

your staff, projects, and facilities, and send it to every media

outlet

that reaches your target customers. The hope is that it will attract

enough attention to get your organization some air time or ink.

The reality? Well, listen to Susan Young. Now a media

consultant,

and owner of East Brunswick-based Susan Young Media Relations

(www.sueyoungmedia.com),

she spent more than 10 years in radio. "People sent kits, glossy

folders, charts, but I was in radio. They were beautiful, but they

were going in the garbage."

Landing a story in a media outlet gives a company credibility that

ad money only rarely can buy. And the exposure is free. There are

a number of ways to get your company in the news, and it isn’t even

difficult to do so. There are tricks, however, and Young reveals them

when she speaks on "How to Get Free Press: Proven Media Relation

Techniques to Get Your Story Covered" at two upcoming meetings

of the Central Jersey Women’s Network. The first is on Wednesday,

November 7, at 6 p.m. at the Oak House Restaurant in Red Bank, and

the second is on Wednesday, November 14, at 6 p.m. at the Radisson

on Route 1 South at Ridge Road. Cost: $35. Call 908-281-9234.

"Everyone loves a great story," Young says. She is convinced

that every company has many to tell. A graduate of Quinnipiac, she

has been a stringer for ABC news and the Associated Press, a member

of Christie Whitman’s office of radio and television, and a radio

anchor and news director. On the receiving end of the news, she has

observed successful — and not so successful — techniques for

attracting positive media attention.

Young’s clients include non-profits, manufacturers, banks, and

professionals.

Her work for one client, an eye doctor, illustrates some of many

opportunities

for boosting name recognition and increasing business through

judicious

media placement.

"He was on TV this morning with Halloween safety tips," she

reports. When the doctor arrived at his office for his morning

appointments,

he found some excited patients. "`I saw you on TV,’" two

couldn’t

wait to tell him. Young has also had him giving 4th of July tips,

and eye care advice to seniors.

Giving advice, generally speaking, is a much surer route to press

coverage than is sending a generic folder of company info. Other good

tactics include letters to the editor tying current events into the

company’s area of expertise, press conferences, press releases, and

public service announcements. Knowing when to pitch each, and how,

is the key. Here is Young’s advice:

Be clear — and brief. "Busy news people don’t

have time for a three-page handout," says Young. As a newsperson,

her attitude was: "What’s it about? Tell me upfront, in one or

two lines." She didn’t have the time to dig more deeply, or to

re-read obtuse text. Decision makers in news rooms may receive several

hundred letters, faxes, E-mails, and phone calls in a day. Vague,

over-long, or jargon-filled missives often land in the trash.

Find the human angle. "The news is about people,"

Young points out. For every story, the newsperson automatically

wonders

"how does this affect people?" Framing a media pitch with

its effect on people right at the top makes it easier for the

newsperson

to see where it might fit in. For instance, the announcement of a

business expansion may draw more attention if it starts with the

number

of new jobs that will be created. And a breakthrough in dental

technology

will get more press if it leads with statistics on how it will cut

patients’ pain, or time in the chair, or number of cavities.

Tailor the story to each media. In pitches to the media,

one size does not fit all. It’s a lot easier to send the same pamphlet

to everyone, but most often a waste of time and money. For radio,

Young was most receptive to a six-sentence story accompanied by a

sound bite. A magazine with a small staff often is swayed by a promise

of photographs. A television station wants a story with fresh visual

elements.

Study each outlet within a media group. Some magazines

and newspapers cover events and write about them afterwards. Others

largely, or only, write previews of events before they occur. Trying

to pitch the story the other way around, a common occurrence, is

likely

only to annoy an editor.

One television program may have a regular feature highlighting local

high school athletes, while a trade magazine may run photos of

tradesmen

receiving awards in every issue. Study each media outlet, learn the

names of its editors and reporters, and notice regular features. The

more you know about each, the more likely it is that your pitch will

be accepted. Or that you will save time by avoiding sending pitches

to outlets unlikely to have any interest in your story.

Follow up. This is a tough one, Young admits. "There

is a very fine line between being persistent, and being a pest,"

she says. She suggests starting each call to a media outlet by asking

"Is this a good time for you?"

Establish relationships with the press. As in every other

aspect of business, placing stories sometimes comes down, at least

in part, to who you know. Instead of calling a reporter repeatedly

to pitch the same story, try to make his job easier by finding out

the kinds of stories he needs, and supplying them.

Pitching stories is a numbers game. Some percentage of your

proposed stories will not find a home. "There are no

guarantees,"

is the way Young puts it. Your company may have come up with a pill

that cures baldness in a single dose with no side effects, but if

it hits the market on a day when Prince Charles elopes with a local

convenience store clerk and Bill Clinton enters a monastery, the story

may not get much play.

Top Of Page
Shoestring Marketing From Business Librarians

You don’t buy the same tool twice. It’s dumb. If some

rookie purchasing agent stepped out and bought three crates of hammers

without taking note of the five crates already cluttering up your

warehouse, you would probably fire the fool, right? So why shell out

thousands on a marketing research plan when you’ve already paid for

most of the data once — through your taxes?

Ah, but how to mine the information? The answer to this and many more

marketing questions will be revealed on Thursday, November 8, at 6:30

p.m. at a dinner seminar, "Market Research for Your Successful

Business Plan," sponsored by the New Jersey Entrepreneurs Forum

and held at McAteers Restaurant, 1714 Easton Avenue in Somerset.

Kenang

Au, business librarian at Rutgers’ John Cotton Dana Library in

Newark, speaks on the wealth of information and expertise available

in his library and other institutions. Cost: $40. Call 908-789-3424.

The odds of your having an in-house marketing professional with the

capabilities of Rutgers’ Au are slim indeed. And if you do, you are

probably not paying him enough. Au grew up in Tara, Malaysia, and

moved to Canada, where he attended the University of Guelph in

Toronto,

studying business management and economics. From those northern

climes,

he headed south to Rutgers where he earned a master’s in library

science

in l986. Since then he has become a tenured business librarian, one

of five on Rutgers campuses who can answer the most amazing questions

right over the phone, while you wait.

"But please don’t phone," says Au, "because the kind of

marketing question you should be asking is not one that can be

answered

over a machine." Instead, Au prefers people with marketing

questions

to come in for an interview, which typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.

For example, if you want to know how to sell figs from Northern Africa

in New Jersey, the answers are out there, but the questions are

legion.

Print and online data hold most of the answers about your competition,

their prices, and what percentages of figs currently are selling into

what outlets, Au explains. Government databases can provide you with

food shipping and import guidelines.

Here is how to make the most of these resources.

Determine your target. "A good private market research

plan for a small business product will cost the entrepreneur

approximately

$2,000 to $5,000," says Au. "We at Rutgers have already spent

tens of thousands on business databases so you won’t have to."

He admits that free searches may not be as exhaustive as the $5,000

effort, but for most needs, the target can be as well delineated.

So, who wants figs in New Jersey? You might search various ethnic

groups, find out which ones use them in their cooking. Then, using

census demographics, you could find out where high concentrations

of these fig lovers live.

Work out distribution. There are more than half a million

businesses in Au’s business listing database. Each is cross-coded

according to zip code, product type, size, age, and a panoply of other

categories. If high concentrations of, say, fig-eating Italians,

Greeks,

and Lebanese live in certain segments of certain counties, it is a

simple matter to cross reference and seek out potential specialty

stores. (Simple for Au, at least, and his five cohorts, a group

averaging

15 years research experience.)

Re-ask the right questions. "One of the biggest flaws

I see," says Au, "is business people getting so focused on

one method of research they refuse to change the approach regardless

of the evidence." Maybe you shouldn’t concentrate on selling figs

to individuals, but should target one of the three chains and 23

specialty

stores that already handle them. Or maybe you can simply end all your

problems by dumping your product at a wholesaler’s door. A good

marketing

plan keeps engendering new questions as it evolves; and it may well

change the avenue of your product flow.

Interestingly, Au insists, "nothing beats human contact.

Statistical marketing is an excellent tool, but too many people do

not take advantage of their trade and professional associations."

You can learn a lot more in the company of the right business veteran

than your computer could ever tell you.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Conference for Fundraisers

Nearly one-third of fundraisers answering a survey sent

to them by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) say

they have experienced financial setbacks that they attribute to the

aftermath of September 11. The AFP is finding that many organizations

are experiencing reductions in charitable giving as the public shifts

its focus to disaster relief related to the attacks.

Add to this a spate of high-profile corporate lay-offs, announcements

that year-end bonuses will not come near last year’s level, and the

still-unfolding anthrax attacks, and there is reason to worry that

many charities will come up short in their important year-end

fundraising

efforts.

These obstacles to giving will be on everyone’s minds as the New

Jersey

chapter of AFP holds its annual conference on philanthropy on

Thursday,

November 8, at 8:15 a.m. at the Hanover Marriott in Whippany. Cost:

$250. Call 609-585-6871.

The first session, at 8:15 a.m., "The Effects of the New Jersey

Business Climate on Philanthropy," is headed by Joan

Verplanck,

president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and by J. Michael

Schweder, president of AT&T New Jersey.

At 11 a.m. Ron Brown, director of planned giving at Princeton

University, will join a panel on "Getting Your Share of Major

and Planned Gifts." At 2 p.m. Steven Rusk, management

supervisor

at Russ Reid Company, speaks on "Tales from the Direct Response

Fundraising Laboratory." At 3:30 p.m. Charity Poth,

executive

director of SuitAbility, will be part of a panel on "Filling in

When the Government Moves Out."

In addition to these sessions, attendees have a choice of a number

of concurrent seminars throughout the day.

Top Of Page
Networking: New Tack for GetContactX

With dotcoms and technology stocks faltering, few would

be surprised that to learn that — barely more than a year after

it opened on Princeton Pike — the Global Electronic Technology

ContactX Association has moved to be closer to the home of its

founder.

Steven E.C. Sroczynski has moved the organization to Pottstown,

halfway between Valley Forge and Reading, Pennsylvania, and within

four months he will move it again, this time to Orlando, Florida.

Sroczynski promised that GetContactX would be the "largest global

community for professionals and organizations in the technology and

other industries, a dynamic middle ground between traditional

professional

venues — filling the market void between community event and

large-scale

industry events." At that time there were plans to go nationwide

with events and seminars plus a website with customized news delivery

and the opportunity to post member news releases.

The website shows that the busy schedule of New Jersey-based events

has taken a temporary hiatus (one is scheduled for November), but

the free newsletter delivery continues, and Sroczynski promises the

events will soon be in full swing. This time, though, going along

with his goal to go nationwide, the same event will be produced at

different locations, and area licensees of GetContactx will do the

producing.

For instance, a seminar from Register.com, one of the larger domain

registration companies, will be staged in six locations from

Massachusetts

to Virginia; in New Jersey it will be at the Newark Airport Marriott

on Tuesday, November 13, at 8 a.m., and will cover complex domain

portfolios and custom registration portals (CRPs). It is free. Call

Dave Antrim at 610-718-9810.

This ambitious for-profit organization parallels many of the

activities

of the larger New Jersey Technology Council, a five-year-old nonprofit

group based in Mt. Laurel. But GetContactX was founded to help

companies

make sales contacts, rather than to directly serve technology

companies,

and the cultures of the two groups are very different. "There

are certainly members on the business development side, but we are

also seeing growth from non tech companies — Mercedes Benz, BMW,

Aventis, and Cendant — that use technology in their own

businesses,"

Sroczynski says.

Sroczynski claims several licensees to collect memberships and stage

events in New Jersey and is announcing one in Hawaii. Of the move

to Orlando, he says, "that particular city is the most visited

by international visitors. Since we are global, that gives us a chance

to see prospective clients without their making an extra trip."

Sanguine about the move and the reduction in staff from the peak of

seven people to three, he points out that then he was setting up the

infrastructure for the organization. The income comes from

memberships.

One small retailer in Princeton paid $350 last October, but listed

fees were $499 for a nine-person company up to $1,899 for 200 people.

Go to the website to look for members by geography and it starts out

by asking you to pick a continent. Searching by geography or industry

is available on the website, and it does has an alphabetical list

of members that show distribution, upon quick perusal, of from New

York to Pennsylvania and Virginia. Princeton area members include

Carrier Hotels, DBS, Document Depot, Paula Gould Consulting, the

Middlesex

Chamber, and Gil Gordon, the telecommuting consultant.

Members receive discounted admission for seminars and networking

events

plus access to the free newsletter for posting press releases and

white papers. One area member said he gained a couple of clients from

the networking. Another was disappointed at how few of the events

were in Central Jersey. "Though the premise wasn’t bad," she

says, "he was never clear on what he was delivering."

Sroczynski claims nearly 9,000 newsletter subscribers and a

click-through

rate — to read a press release or learn about an event — of

one from every five recipients, "a pretty impressive number,"

he says, and that the "staying time" of 12 minutes has

remained

the same.

About 160 people per month sign up for the newsletter through the

website or because it was forwarded to them. He attributes his low

"unsubscribe" rate of three tenths of one percent to a

telemarketing

program last summer, when he and his staff (including two temps) made

1,500 calls to track down bad E-mail addresses.

So Sroczynski remains his always-optimistic self. Prospective clients

want to take advantage of both venues, he says, the bricks and mortar

meetings and the electronic newsletter. "We are offering what

they want at a price point they want, and the market is working."

"We have lived through the tech industry downtown, the general

economic downturn, and the events of September 11," he says.

"The

tech industry has not yet begun to show the depth of the hurt."

That means sales departments are going to be hungry: "I am getting

more unsolicited requests to do business."

— Barbara Fox

GetContactx, 247 High Street, Pottstown PA 19464.

Steve Sroczynski, president. 610-718-9810; fax, 610-718-9811. Home

page: www.getcontactx.com

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

<D>Chili’s Grill & Bar on Route 1 South participated

in the "Dine For America" program on October 11, a nationwide

effort to raise money for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

The owner of Chili’s, Quality Dining Inc., is donating $10,000 and

will be collecting donations at its 74 restaurants.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has created

a $1 million fund to pay help pay for health benefits for New Jersey

families and members of its New York health plans who lost a husband,

wife, or parent in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Assistance through the fund is available to New Jersey spouses and

children, regardless of their insurer, and to members of Horizon’s

New York insurance plans who lost a family member. The fund will pay

for extended health coverage, including replacement insurance or the

increased cost for continuation of existing coverage. Call

800-224-1234.

Members of the Cultural Events Team at Bristol-Myers

Squibb,

Plainsboro, joined students from the Cambridge School in Pennington

in gleaning apples at Terhune Orchards. Farmers Against Hunger

will distribute the apples.

Farmers Against Hunger is a hunger relief program started by local

farmers through the New Jersey Agricultural Society to make use of

excess fruits and vegetables that can not be sold at market. The

produce

is distributed to churches, food banks, and senior citizen centers.

This year, Farmers Against Hunger will collect 1 million pounds of

food.

Gleaning, a practice that goes back to Biblical times, is now usually

done after mechanized reapers go through fields gathering up crops.

Gleaners gather up the produce that is too small, or too oddly shaped,

for the machines to pick.

To help kick off Check-Out Hunger 2001, employees from area

Fleet Bank branches volunteered at the warehouse of the Mercer

Street Friends Food Cooperative during two days in October.

Check-Out Hunger is a joint campaign of food retailers, Fleet Bank,

community volunteers, and the state’s food banks to raise funds for

hunger relief.

The Princeton Forrestal Village office of Reed Smith

fielded

a team of attorneys, staff, family members, and friends to participate

in the Eighth Annual Komen New Jersey Race for the Cure. Included

on the team are breast cancer survivors Christine Manuelli, a staff

member, and June Bilenky, a friend of Reed Smith staff members, who

celebrated her 10-year, cancer-free anniversary.

Top Of Page
The Family that Votes Together

The Ford Foundation is sponsoring a Take Your Kids to

Vote/New Jersey project aimed at upping participation in electoral

contests. The foundation finds voter turnout in the United States

among the lowest of any democracy, with younger adults especially

unlikely to cast a ballot.

Walking into a polling place holding on to a parent’s hand makes a

lasting impression on children, according to the foundation, making

it more likely that they will take up the voting habit as adults.

The foundation urges all parents to have their children join them

on November 6 as they cast their votes.


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