Shoestring advertising budget stretches a long way

After almost 30 years, our Eureka products (of scrabble sets, word factory, chess sets, Kinder kits, and other game boards) have been around and growing even with a shoe-string advertising budget.

I have been asked how we did it, when we never put out expensive print ads or TV/radio commercials.

Niche marketing is the answer.  Early on, we never went for the shotgun approach to selling.  We carefully identified who to sell to.  And this is the A-B households, educated, urban, upwardly mobile.  This is why our outlets are malls, specialized stores, gift shops, sporting goods stores, the National Book store chain. And also why our products are export-quality, sturdy, DOH compliant.   Indirectly, we do advertise through our distributors like SM and NBS which would include our products in their major advertising campaigns in print.  For a fee, of course.  Still, what we spend does not exceed our shoe string advertising budget and definitely much lower than what we would have incurred if we advertised directly.

The only time we used print media directly was many many years ago when my wife Aida bought a classified ad in a broadsheet, inviting people to sell our products.  The P300-ad was a stroke of genius; through it we began to build a network of individual dealers and sellers.

To hit it big with the niche market we identified, we had to do:

1.  Attractive packaging: At the store shelves, the buyers do not see the intrinsic value of the product you are selling — it is hidden.  Thus, the package you use should do justice to what is inside.  Eureka products boast of world-class packaging, featuring classy designs and sturdy materials. The package must, of course, include all your contact numbers so that interested parties can readily reach you.  For example, our chess sets packaged in shoulder bags are a big hit among chess players.

2.  Continuous product development: Almost every year, we have made it a point to introduce a new product.  But most importantly, our existing products are constantly innovated.  For example, our Kinder Kit will soon innovate, in anticipation of the K-12 curriculum.  We will soon produce variants of this educational game for young kids to target various levels — from entry up to grade 6 or grade 7.

3.  Product redefinition – This is also part of innovation.  We used to call our products “educational toys and games.”  Not anymore.  We have redefined Eureka products to include leisure games that are purely relaxing, easy to play, convenient, transportable.

4.  Branding – This is very important but is unfortunately neglected by most local manufacturers.  Early on, we have built up our ‘Eureka’ brand so that today, our products are now being sought out by sales outlets. For example, we were approached by Hobbs who thought that our products are imported.  When they found out Eureka products are Philippine-made, they ordered from us just the same.  Today, our products are just about the only local ones sold by the shop.

But perhaps the most important advertising advice anyone can give you is to LET YOUR PRODUCT WORK FOR YOU. It should be one that gives your customers value for their money. The most elaborate advertising campaign will backlash on you if your product turns out to be below what you have hyped it to be.

Contributed by:

Chito Madrono

President, 13 PM Enterprises