Some marketers go new ways to get good coverage and product mention. I talked to one.
By Ryan Skinner (email)
It felt like a minor event - the first press release from a company hoping for coverage in this blog ticked in about a month ago. I didn't write about his technology, but was intrigued by the man and the marketer. Here's someone who's thinking different, trying new things. So I asked him about it.
"Actually, I'm a firm believer in face-to-face meetings. Advertisements either in print or web just don't bring in sales. They may help a bit, but you need to visit, talk and discuss," says Daniel Kane, Co-founder and Vice-President at Propulsion Dynamics.
"I told one guy selling me ads in a print magazine: 'I've experienced a poor return on investment from advertisements'. The seller answered: 'Ads aren't about return or sales. When you buy a half-page ad, you get credibility, not sales'. I don't see that logic."
Kane has bought ads, but he's spent more on travel. After a tough schedule visiting 30 shipowners all over the world, he won over two shipowners, who tried Propulsion Dynamics' unique product. Those early references led to a boom in interest.
"I've got a background in electronics, where buyers say only: 'Is this more efficient? Will I be able to beat the competition? Then let's do it.' In shipping, they're obsessed with references. But there are some innovators, even if it's tough going," said Kane.
If Kane's such a big believer in face-to-face hook-ups, though, why does he reach out to me for coverage? Why has he been active in LinkedIn and other discussion forums?
"I stumbled over this little 10-point guide to online marketing made by ShipServ. I'd completely ignored much of this. I started on LinkedIn, and took it from there. This doesn't cost me anything, and I gain," said Kane.
He has free listings of Propulsion Dynamics on web-sites here and there, including shipsuperintendent.com, best-maritime.info and marineenergymanagement.com. One of his best ideas, he says, was to link to related technology stories and white papers at Propulsion Dynamics' web-site. This has drawn in considerable traffic, on searches for some key phrases to his business.
Kane's buzzed into discussion groups at LinkedIn and Sustainable Shipping with his technology and story. Now he fields requests from unknown companies eager to invest in his technology. "It's a constant balance - how you use your time," said Kane. "I don't have any particular strategy, but when I see people talking about my business I feel I should be there and get involved."
[Note: Propulsion Dynamics' news didn't get covered here, but it did get picked up by many outlets in the trade press, including the front page of The Digital Ship. You can see that story, here.]