Posts Tagged ‘NYtimes.com’


When Marketing Tactics Mean Missed Media Mentions

Monday, December 9th, 2013

When Marketing Tactics Mean Missed Media Mentions Beijing Air Purifiers Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasThe toxic air in Beijing and other cities in China is an environmental and public health disaster, but it’s an enormous opportunity for air purifier providers – Beijing alone has an estimated population of 20.6 million people. The US Embassy in Beijing recently placed a massive order for “more than a couple thousand” but “under five thousand” air purifiers. They ordered from the US provider of Blueair, a Swedish company, but the article also mentioned Blueair’s competitor, IQAir.

I lived in China for four years, and for almost a year before becoming a magazine editor, I managed the Beijing branch of a China-based company with exclusive dealer rights to an American air purifier brand. The most notable thing in the New York Times article: The brand I sold wasn’t even mentioned, and they’ve been in China for years. What happened?

I learned a lot about marketing from watching what happened at this provider. Here are a few things I noticed when I was there that caused the brand to miss out on what could have been a very valuable media mention.

Disregarding market differences. The dealer I worked for is headquartered in Shanghai, but expanded to Beijing when I arrived at the company. Their advertising and marketing efforts had modest success in Shanghai, and it was decided that Beijing would employ the same strategy and tactics as Shanghai.

Both Blueair and IQAir enjoyed far stronger brand recognition in Beijing than they did in Shanghai. Our retailer didn’t need to advertise and market aggressively in Shanghai, so declined to do so in Beijing. As a result, even years after I left the company, there still wasn’t widespread brand recognition.

Lesson: Be willing to go through a trial-and-error process when targeting a new market or segment, and adjust your strategy to the actual market.

Marketing with tunnel vision. The company relied on print ads in one magazine and attending international school fairs. Unlike the Shanghai market, the Beijing target market has more niches and is geographically more spread out, and between the ads and the fairs, we reached a very small slice of the target market and saw little return on those tactics. We concentrated more on that small return than on long-term growth.

Lesson: Continually assess ROI from all your efforts, and diversify marketing strategies; you can’t expect different  results from doing the same thing. Don’t mistake making progress for getting results.

Not engaging the most influential media outlets. In Beijing, there are maybe half a dozen English-language magazines competing for the expat market, so advertising in these magazines is the best way to build recognition in the international community. Our brand spent almost all the marketing budget advertising in first one, then another, of the least-read of these publications.

The head office wouldn’t even talk to sales reps from the most-read publications in Beijing. They not only lost eyeballs on what could have been valuable advertising, but they also shut off any form of communication, meaning they couldn’t become experts or resources by providing comments or information in articles.

Whenever the big magazines wrote about air quality or air purifiers (which was fairly frequently, since it’s a prominent problem), our competitors, IQAir and Blueair, were mentioned and experts from their company quoted. The brand I worked for was never mentioned, which is exactly what happened in this New York Times article.

Lesson: Advertising doesn’t equal coverage, but don’t shut your organization off by refusing all calls. You can’t become a resource if you won’t talk to anyone. And if you’re going to advertise at all, make sure that outlet fits your strategic goals as well as your budget.

All The News That’s Fit To…Tweet? Re-writing the New York Times Motto

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Valerie Simon

Monday morning, as I sat down on the train headed to the Bulldog Reporter 2010 Media Relations Summit, I had trouble getting past the front page of The New York Times. No, it wasn’t the story about “online bullies” or the “G20 agreement to halve budget deficits,” but a part of its masthead: “All the news that’s fit to print.”  

I am bothered by the fact that the motto remains tied to a particular format, when in fact The New York Times Digital ranked 13th on the newly released comScore report of top 50 web properties. I enjoy reading The New York Times online via my BlackBerry, following @nytimes on Twitter and receiving its RSS feeds in my reader. I listen to NYtimes.com podcasts and watch NY Times videos. The various formats and channels each offer a unique purpose and different advantage in storytelling.

When I arrived at the conference I paid particular attention to how other media organizations were evolving. During the first roundtable I moderated, Glenn Coleman, managing director, Crain’s New York Business, discussed the different methods of outreach and subscription types available to readers. Alongside the original print edition, there is a digital edition, several premium specialized newsletters, as well as free email alerts consisting of daily, weekly, industry and company email alerts delivering the day’s breaking business news.

Likewise, at my second roundtable, Joe Ciarallo, editor of PRNewser and manager of PR initiatives for mediabistro.com, noted that the MediaBistro community receives content and information from a wide array of platforms. In addition to its original blog, MediaBistro reaches its audience using targeted blogs such as PR Newser, TV Newser, and Agency Spy, premium content, and opportunities for members,  live events and an active social media presence.

So what is the new standard of newsworthiness – the new goal of media organizations striving to be that essential trusted source of news?  During the conference Rand Morrison, executive producer, CBS News Sunday Morning, wisely remarked that, “Long is shorter than it used to be.” Perhaps an updated motto for The New York Times would be “All the news that’s fit to tweet.” But seriously, the motto should no longer focus on one particular format, but rather on consumption, discussion, or sharing. I’ll put it to you, the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas community. What do you think would be a more appropriate motto for today’s New York Times?