Product Publicity Plus Targeted Advertising Vault Unknown Product Over Entrenched Competitor

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Company on track for 600% sales growth, 15% market penetration after two years of product publicity.

Like many successful small business entrepreneurs, Eric Rosenthal was determined not to stand still. As President of Magnet Paints, a paint manufacturer specializing in premium refinish and industrial maintenance coatings, Rosenthal had enjoyed some success in the industrial market. Yet sales growth was far slower than he knew it could be, especially for a paint-over-rust, underbody-coating product called Chassis Saver, sold primarily to maintain commercial auto fleets.

To expand his business to a new level, Rosenthal vigorously searched for new markets. He found what he was looking for in the vast automotive hobby, collector, and restoration market, with hundreds of publications serving potentially millions of car enthusiasts. Unfortunately, a competitive paint-over-rust product already dominated the marketplace and was firmly entrenched in the public’s mind. To succeed, Magnet Paints would have to beat the category-killing giant at its own game on a limited budget, starting with zero market visibility, and no distributors. Rosenthal was undeterred.

“The problem was: how could we cost effectively convince consumers and distributors to try our product when our competitor had a virtual lock on the marketplace?,” explains Rosenthal. “With no name in the market, we had to go head-to-head with the established brand.”

Initially, Rosenthal tried some direct marketing without much success. As for distributors, Rosenthal says, “With no name in the market and no one yet asking for Chassis Saver, we found it hard to approach distributors to sell our product.’”

A firm believer in advertising, Rosenthal also placed ads in a few restoration market publications with some success. However, the marketplace was simply too big and too diverse to make real inroads using spot ads.

“To make headway against an established market leader, we needed to reach large numbers of potential customers over and over with our message it,” continues Rosenthal.

Opportunity presented itself when Rosenthal read about a firm that specialized only in product publicity called Power PR (http://www.powerpr.com). Founded in 1991, Power PR is a performance-based public relations firm that specializes in gaining product marketing and publicity for consumer, industrial, and high-tech clients

“I had heard of typical full-service PR agencies, but the concept of performance-based product publicity really struck a chord with me,” says Rosenthal.

The writers at Power PR immediately wrote a press release and then spent hundreds of hours actually getting the articles placed in prestigious trade publications. Over the past two years, Magnet Paints has enjoyed an average of eight published stories a month due to their efforts.

“At one point, we appeared in so many stories that we couldn’t believe what was going on,” says Rosenthal. “We knew we had a winner because the phones wouldn’t stop ringing.”

Sales for Chassis Saver rose 100 percent during the first year of product publicity, followed by another 200 percent in the next six months, says Rosenthal. At this rate, the product is on track for 600 percent growth over two years. Furthermore, Magnet Paints’ share of the paint-over-rust market has zoomed from zero to about 15 percent.

Starting from zero distributors just two years ago, Magnet Paints now has over 100 distributors listed on its website with more calling Rosenthal. “With product publicity, we’ve stimulated consumer end use, and now distributors want us because their own customers do,” says Rosenthal.

“The secret to gaining marketshare from an entrenched business competitor,” concludes Rosenthal, “is to get your carefully crafted and positioned message to large numbers of the right people. That’s what product publicity does.”

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Heather Metcalfe
POWER PR
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