Twenty years ago Trade Press Services created a marketplace niche: writing articles and getting them published in trade magazines for clients who recognized the value of increased visibility, credibility and name recognition in their marketplaces. And we did it using a proactive process and performance-based business model. That made us different from PR firms that charged hefty monthly retainers with no guarantee of success. It also separated us from in-house marketing teams that were more focused on exhibiting at industry tradeshows, generating slick marketing brochures, and spending thousands of dollars on direct mail and advertising—the traditional forms of marketing at the time.
At the time (1995), there were more than 20,000 trade magazines in the United States, and most of them were looking for reader-relevant content that was original and hadn’t appeared anywhere else before. To provide the best service possible, we presented good, sound story ideas that focused on what editors wanted: industry trends, problem/solution scenarios, opinion columns, success stories, how-to articles and other industry news.
We were very successful… we’ve produced thousands of articles for clients in more than 600 publications. But as you know, companies can’t rest on their laurels. They need to be cognizant of industry trends and changes in order to remain relevant. The same is true for us.
In the last 20 years, a lot has changed. The Internet has altered the way we do business. It’s expanded our marketplaces and created a demand for 24/7 content. The economy has gone through several recessions with a dot.com boom and bust. Some well-known companies disappeared. Others have merged or been acquired.
Marketing departments have become more lean, and budgets have been slashed. Technology and marketing automation have become the name of the game, with testing, measuring and generating ROI as the essential requirements for even small marketing departments.
Similarly, the publishing industry underwent a transformation. Many publications have gone out of business. Others have discontinued print editions and moved to digital formats. Publishers have had to become more savvy in order to generate visitors, readers and subscribers as well as find alternate streams of revenue.
The Internet has created a demand for 24/7 business marking content
So what does it all mean? Here’s what we’ve learned about the Zen of business marketing:
- Businesses need to continually evolve or risk becoming obsolete.
- Adaptability, creativity, flexibility, collaboration, and innovation are essential elements of thriving corporate cultures.
- Business alliances and partnerships pave the way for growth.
- Focus on the needs and interests of others before trying to sell anything.
- Embrace lifelong learning personally and professionally.
“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” – Mike Volpe
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in or who your target markets are, these principles are universal and provide good food for thought.