Promoting your product on a budget

Occasionally I see a product promotion that strikes me as genius.  And this was one of those times.  In the local Cincinnati supermarket beer aisle there was a glaring hole of white shelving where beer cases should be.  And in place of the beer were signs telling shoppers that a new product was coming soon.  Just weeks away was the oldest brewery in America… Yuenling.

This beer has been popular with Ohioans and many others across the country but it has never been available for sale before.  We always enjoyed it when we were in Pittsburg, Philadelphia and many other east coast cities but it could not be sold in the midwest.  So on many of my four hour drives to Pittsburg I would bring home a case to use as gifts.  I can remember an employee of mine years ago who had family in Philadelphia brought cases of it back to me as a gift along with a t-shirt from the factory.   That’s how special this beer was.  And let’s face it… it’s good beer… but this is just beer.  A bottle of refreshment you consume in about 20 minutes.  And then it’s gone (unless you have a case).  Yet consumers loved the brand.  Cherished the heritage as the oldest American brewery and spread the word of this brand to other beer lovers.

The folks at Yeunling (or their agency) are pretty smart.  For years they used the marketing tactic of scarcity to drive demand.  This exclusive product that had to be “black market” smuggled into neighboring states.  They let their advocates and fans spread the word for them without the need for a national marketing budget.

And now they were using this low cost promotion to announce their wider distribution of their long sought after product.  A blank grocery shelf with a sign reading “Yeunling Lager – Available October 31st”.   In two weeks I can get my hands on this widely lauded brand without having to drive eight hours round trip.  I predict that after they load up these empty shelves with Yeunling they will soon have another empty spot in this aisle.  The stock boy had better be ready with another pallet of product in the back room.

And all they’ve done is used a $5 sign to drive awareness and demand.  It goes to show that in a time of a down economy there are creative ways to promote your product.  Yes, they have it easy because they have an existing brand with demand.   So perhaps they are just smart not to spend thousands of dollars on promotion and keep that marketing budget for other necessites like making more product!   But even a new or less known brand can be creative and use low cost guerilla marketing methods to drive awareness.  Consulting with an agency such as ourselves can open up the doors to many ways to promote online, digitally or using social media to let advocates tell your story for you.

So I raise a toast to you and your brand.  May the coming year bring you more sales and profit.  May your company be able to hire new employees and help turn this country’s economy around and make us the economy of envy that we’ve lost over the past decades.  Governments can not turn around a down economy, legislators can’t do it.  Businesses and consumers are the only force that can make that change.  So put on your marketing thinking caps and create something that people want, need or desire.

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