Usually, I like to dispense advice from the standpoint of having been in the media for 20 years, but this week’s advice is more in the land of common sense.
When you go to the store and you can’t find the exact product you’re looking for, what do you do? Do you just go home empty-handed? Or do you ask a manager? Most of the time, I ask a store or assistant manager if they carry the product, or if they can order it. And, most of the time retailers want to work with customers, so they’ll find a way to get what you want. After all, if they can service your needs, hopefully you’ll keep coming back.
Whether you know it or not, when you ask for something special, you are participating in a phenomenon one of my clients called, “reverse distribution.” Your request triggers a call to a manufacturer or distributor, specifically to get that product for you. On the other end, there is a business that is now going to fill an order they would not have received, had it not been for you asking for that specific product.
Now, reverse the roles. YOU’RE the business getting the unexpected order. That order is golden, because it’s gravy. It’s like finding money you didn’t know you had. Now wouldn’t it be great if you could get more customers asking retailers for what you manufacture?
You can actually make that happen. Public relations campaigns are frequently the spark that fires up reverse distribution, because effective media exposure educates consumers about your product, which motivates them to go into the store and ask for it by name.
To explain how this works, I love sharing this story from one of our clients, Stephen Grubb, President of SoyNut Butter Company. It really illustrates this concept extremely well. He said:
“The media exposure you got for us resulted in kind of a reverse distribution process. In other words, instead of waiting for stores to carry our product, this publicity campaign created such demand that stores are calling us to order our products – just to satisfy their customers!”
I loved getting this feedback!
But, another reason to consider a publicity campaign for your products is because it can help open doors with store buyers. Retailers will be far more likely to order your products if they know you’re planning a publicity campaign that will drive consumers into their stores.