As far as marketing let me throw my $.02 out there. I had heard of the Zanconato bikes over 'across the hall' and they always looked nice, but kinda like all the others. But something about one or two of them kinda caught my eye. Paint and design and proportions. I was very close to pulling the trigger on a De Rosa Neo Primato. But the Zanks looked kinda similar in concept - modern, lugged steel racebike.
So I started poking around on the internet a bit and checked out the website. But it wasn't the website that drew me in. It was Mike's blog, with all the high-def pics and pics of the finished bikes. Those all looked really, really nice, especially the pics of the circular cutters and flux and all that.
So in my case, it was the blog, which may or may not have been a 'marketing tool' per se, but it did its job on me. After poking around on it and talking to Mike I sent a check to get the process started.