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Money in “Them Thar Hills”

Imagine a bottle of A-1 Steak Sauce and a bottle of Heinz Ketchup in every open teller window in all 103 branches of PNC Bank in the Pittsburgh metro. I thought, “This must be some sort of promotion for Sunday’s big game with the hometown heroes. Wow! Somebody in the PNC marketing department just generated a ton of new revenue via product placement!”

So I asked the teller what this is about and she handed me a flyer – obviously on gold paper with black print – that says…

Is Your Retirement at Steak? It’s Not Too Late to Ketchup!

Well, I was partially right. This is a promotion, but it has nothing to do with A-1 or Heinz except making a visual connection to a bank service. And no, it did not generate any revenue for PNC. The bank bought every single bottle from Giant Eagle grocery stores.

Next stop, the dentist (by the way, no cavities, good hygiene). On the way out the door the dentist gave me a Colgate toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, and dental floss. I asked him if Colgate provided those products gratis or perhaps paid him to give them to patients. “No,” he said. “I bought them from Colgate at a discounted price.”

When I told him about the product placement concept his eyes just about popped out of his head. Good thing they didn’t – he would have needed to see an ophthalmologist!

So here I am, talking about three products and a retailer. Think of it as word-of-mouth marketing. And who benefits? Kraft Foods (A-1), Heinz, Colgate, and Giant Eagle. Why? The first three companies got their product marketed and generated revenue from their marketing agent. The last company generated revenue just because they are conveniently located and sell the first two products.

Thinking about doing some marketing and generating some revenue? If so, you might want to turn these models upside down! Just shake the first two before opening and squeeze the third from the bottom.

How many radio stations have you seen give “clients” value-added exposure on websites, promotions, “free” spots, etc.?

I know from personal experience that many radio stations…and particularly the sales departments…have little or no experience generating new streams of revenue and market exposure. In the case of sales peeps, they are so consumed trying to hit increasing budgets that they have no time to learn how to achieve them without simply selling spots.

When it comes to marketing, budgets are getting tighter and tighter. This should be a great example of a way to externally marketing a station and getting paid to do it rather than paying to do it. But it needs to be properly designed and executed so it doesn’t just look like an advertisement tied to a station marketing campaign…aka billboards, bumper stickers, etc.

Here’s a great example. Years ago I consulted a station whose promotion director had an idea to contact companies asking for sample sized products to give away. Things that come to mind are dental floss (like what you’d get from the dentist) and chewing gum (like what you’d use for Halloween). The station would then print some kind of clever message, usually about the morning show, on the back of the package and use them for hand-outs at remotes, promotions, etc. Now imagine doing the same thing, but getting the product supplier to not only give you the product, but pay you to take it.

Bottom line…there’s money in them thar hills that can increase a station’s marketing efforts without making them look commercialized and generate new revenue!

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