Today I’m talking with Tracy Wemett, Co-Founder & President of BroadPR. Tracy has been in the forefront of the high tech industry for over 20 years. As the President and co-founder of BroadPR, she is the visionary leader that manages an enthusiastic team covering the public relations needs of enterprise, consumer, OEM and channels organizations.
GP – What can you tell me about Broad PR that makes it different from “traditional” large PR firms?
TW - BroadPR has been servicing start-ups, grown-ups and other unique organizations for over a decade. We have focused primarily on high tech and those industries that reach high tech, but what’s most interesting to us is the story. Is it unique and compelling, and is it a story we believe in?
GP - Can you tell me something about the role of the PR agency as you see it at Broad PR, and has this changed in the last few years?
TW - Like other disciplines, public relations has transformed over the last few years. And so has the traditional “PR Agency”. We predicted this when we started our firm back in 2001. Organizations couldn’t maintain the extreme level of spending that was going on, especially to vendors and consultants. The recession was just starting, too, and of course 9/11 happened. It all became a perfect storm of change that has taken almost a decade to come through. What a great time to start a firm! So many talented people were let go from companies that had overspent and underserved their constituencies, their shareholders. And talented marketers and PR professionals wanted more than a paycheck. They wanted to enjoy what they did [again], and they wanted a quality of life that home and remote offices could bring. These changes also affected the overall role of the agency – positively. Over a decade ago we focused on organizations that understood PR could not be done properly in a vacuum. It had to be a part of the overall marketing mix, and now, most agencies realize this – not just the boutique firms like ours. From small to large and even to the individual consultant, public relations has expanded beyond simply writing a press release and sending it over the wire. The public relations professional, agency or otherwise, is an integral part of the marketing team, sometimes even the business team.
GP -What challenges do smaller, growing companies face in “getting the word out”, and what activities do you undertake to help them in these areas?
TW - Good question! Due to the phenomenal growth of social media and well-connected networks, smaller companies have a better chance than previously to get their message “out”. Having said that, they still need to get the right message to the right people. Otherwise, it’s just chatter. It’s landing that cover story on a publication that a million people read, but not a single one of them purchase or influence the purchase of your product or service. For smaller organizations the goals are broader, and the need is more urgent. Often they look to PR to put them “on the map” or jumpstart a funding round or reach that partner that might catapult them into success. But with good PR it’s all about relationships – relationship building, thought leadership and consistent messaging. So start with relationships. The first thing a company can do is tell their story – to themselves. And then to others. We start by understanding the story, evaluating its merit, testing the message and finalizing who would best be able to receive (and spread) it.
GP - Can you talk a bit about where the role of PR fits into the spectrum of lead generation and marketing activities, in general?
TW -Public relations is that awareness piece. Ideally, it puts an organization in front of the right people – influencers, decision makers, purchasers, existing customers and prospects – all through key journalists, bloggers, publications, venues and analysts.
GP – What’s the ”special sauce” that makes you company and its services different?
TW - The special sauce is really that. It’s a sauce that has more than one ingredient. The key to how we’ve been successful and how we help our clients to become successful is working with organizations (and people) we like and believe in – it comes back to the story. Is it a good one, do we buy it and do we want to buy into it? If so, we’re on board, and we give that proverbial 110%. We only take on a handful of clients at once. It keeps us small. And focused. We are literally part of our client’s team, attending weekly (and daily) meetings, answering questions 24/7 and being available for counsel at a moment’s notice. It’s like being an employee but we have the freedom to give candid and third-party advice. I think every team needs that – a mix of internal and external information – so you’re not blindsided by tunnel vision.
GP -What gets you up in the morning? What are the big “meaty” challenges you love to tackle?
TW - Oh!! A fine cup of tea. That gets me up. Oh, since I like it strong, it keeps me up! And what keeps me going are the challenges. Helping to tell a story, a good story, and doing all of the things that make it an even better one. The coolest thing of all is when you get that bit of coverage or that business referral that helped a client go over the top. Seeing them succeed because of something we’ve done. That’s satisfying. Even better is when their success helps others. That goes beyond satisfaction into pure joy. The kind that sticks with you. Like the scent of an ocean or a good book. Yeah, a good book. Which brings us back to the story. If it’s a good one, and we play a part in telling it and having it get told again [and again], that makes it all worthwhile.
GP - Thanks, Tracy!!
As longtime readers of this blog know, one of my favorite go-to sources for authoritative information is MarketingSherpa.com. In the MarketingSherpa Mobile Marketing Benchmark Report, they asked 283 marketers about their top business objectives for mobile marketing in the next 12 months. These are their answers.
There’s absolutely no surprise in the top answer- increasing sales conversion and revenue – the goal of ALL marketing, at least EFFECTIVE marketing, anyway – my own key focus in my blog and in my work.
You can get the entire report here.
Thanks, Marketing Sherpa!
I have already given due praise to the really great efforts in storytelling by Symantec and perennial favorite Disney. Today I’d like to give a nod to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for sharing their simple and inspiring story with the world.
As many long-term readers of this blog know, I am all about telling a great story, especially in the “business theatre” of trade shows, or in the theatrical world onstage. Well, last night, the power of a great story was shown in the Tony Awards™ gathered by the musical, “Once”. It’s a simple story about a man and woman who fall in love but have a bittersweet parting. That’s all. Yet, that simple story in movie form has led to over a dozen awards, including an Academy Award, the aforementioned Broadway musical, and before either of these, the story was told in songs written by those who lived the story – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
Telling a simple story – and telling it simply – is a skill I have been working on my whole career, onstage and off. Often, the bigger and showier campaign, website, seminar, training event – or, as in this case, musical show – garners the praise and reviews, while the simple art of telling the story suffers. But, for Once, the little guy wins. And that’s a great thing.
And congrats on the Tony!
I just got back from my annual vacation trek to sunny Florida, and Walt Disney World. As always, I am blown away by the level of commitment of all the cast to providing a consistently great “user experience”. One part of the overall approach to achieving this, of course, is through many Marketing activities and programs. Readers of this blog will note that I have always had a focus on Integrated Marketing, particularly in the physical event Realm…er…Kingdom..I mean, AREA. Sorry – I may have spent too much time in the Magic Kingdom.
I saw an interesting article on the topic of Integrated Marketing in Bloomberg Business Week today. I think this excerpt sums it up well:
Integration is not simply slapping a common tagline onto all your ads, using a single color palette, or force-fitting a message that’s suited for one medium into another (great television commercials rarely translate well to outdoor billboards, which in turn are very different from online banners).
Integration means communicating a consistent identity from message to message, and medium to medium, and (more importantly) delivering consistently on that identity. It requires not only the identification of a powerful, unifying strategy and compelling voice for your brand, but the discipline to roll it into every aspect of your organization—from advertising to sales, customer service to customer relationship management programs (and beyond).
You can read the compete article here.
This past Friday, April 5th I attended a really interesting and useful Online ROI Summit that was hosted by TechTarget. As with every TechTarget event I have ever attended, this one was well-run, with plenty of detailed information available for the attendees. I was especially pleased to see that Marketing Automation vendor Marketo (who I was familiar with from my Brainshark days) was one of the sponsors of the event. There were 4 breakout sessions, and a few expert panels, one of which included my ExaGrid colleague, Danielle Pryor. She was a panelist at the Understanding and Improving Demand Generation for More Sales Opportunities through Activity Intelligence™
panel hosted by Justin Hoskins, Senior Director of Product Innovation and Architecture at Tech Target. You can read her bio, along with those of the other presenters and panelists here and get the presentations for the event here.
I’d like to share my experience attending the “Better Backup for All” event in Boston, MA on Friday, February 10 2012. The event was held in a large, 16-screen movie there complex, with registration scheduled from 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM. I am a vocal fan of the entire integrated campaign, including the iconic WWII-style graphics, but I have to say I was less than pleased with the event execution itself.
As I usually do with any type of event, I arrived early and scoped out the place to see how the preparations look, how nice the signage is, and so forth. I arrived at the the venue at 8:30 (30 minutes before the start of the event registration), and was SHOCKED to see that no signage was in-place. In fact, the name of the venue was DIFFERENT than the one on the email invitation/registration receipt. Luckily, the address was correctly listed.
The only human being around was a man on a ladder out front who was engaged in changing the light bulbs in the overhead canopy in front of the main entrance. He was able to confirm that this WAS, in fact, the right place. He took pity on me and asked a colleague to let me in to the lobby to wait due to the fact it was in the teens and windy outside.
Hurry Up and Wait
Now, by this time it was about 8:40 AM (20 minutes until the start of registration). Still, no one around except one of the concession staff. My question to him about if “this was the right place for the Symantec event” led to some evident confusion on his part as to whether I was part of the Symantec event staff, or an attendee because he led me upstairs to the theater where the registration would be taking place. After several minutes or so hanging around watching the registration table being set up, the event staff noticed me, realized I was a “civilian” and booted me back down into the lobby to wait. Now it was a few minutes before 9:00 AM.
A few other attendees had filtered in slowly over the next 30 minutes or so, until there were quite a few of us waiting for the signal to head upstairs by 9:35. After a false start given by the venue staff to head up (followed immediately by a very testy reminder to wait downstairs by another venue staff member), we were allowed to queue up for registration at around 9:40 AM.
Then the event began, and Sean Regan, Sr.Director Product Marketing at Symantec began his slide presentation. Sean is a personable, engaging presenter and the material looked stunning on the big screen. I may have to hold our next corporate event at a theater! The door prizes, the content, the thoughtful provision of snacks all more than made up for the snafus of the registration.
I had a great time, learned a lot, and felt that it was a good use of my time. I recommend attending one of these events while Symantec is till holding them if you are involved in backups and want to hear about the latest NetBackup and Backup Exec features.
Symantec is one of the largest players in the Backup Software space, and now is establishing a beachhead in the appliance world with their NetBackup 5xxx series. As part of their growth initiative, Symantec has announced a new initiative across all their Backup products called “Better Backups for All”. The integrated campaign has many layers, including physical events, online webinars, videos and compelling messaging with iconic graphics such as the one featured here.
This past Friday, I attended a live event that was part of their layered strategy. I was impressed with the online registration process, which was pretty smooth and easy and had some great email reminders, a calendar add feature, etc.
So, that’s it for the bones of the campaign. In a few upcoming posts I’ll detail my experience with the event itself. (SPOILER ALERT – It’s not all positive).
Info-Tech is ranked as the Leading Research Firm in the IT & Telecom Research, Reports and Services Market. They recently evaluated six competitors in the disk-based backup market, including Data Domain, Dell, FalconStor, HP, Quantum and ExaGrid.
ExaGrid once again was rated as a “Champion” in the “Leading Vendor” category in their latest version of this report, “Vendor Landscape: Disk Backup”. According to the report, Champions are vendors that “… offer excellent value. They have a strong market presence and are usually the trend setters for the industry. “
According to the report, “ExaGrid is a champion in disk backup due to the combination of its architecture and business strategy. The youngest company in the landscape, ExaGrid has differentiated itself with a unique product offering that brings a scalable storage node clustering (or grid) approach to the backup tier.” Info-Tech also noted that, “ExaGrid has differentiated itself through easy non-disruptive scalability and cost-effective options.”
Click here to download a copy of the full Info-Tech Vendor Landscape.