“When should we start doing public relations?” is a question that we hear often at Ignite. The answer is not simple. But, here are a few things to review while making your decision.Read More
Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way.
Filtering by Tag: Marketing
Evaluating things that have gone awry is definitely worthwhile, but what can companies do to really shine with good PR? Corporate philanthropy is one activity that stands out and several businesses, both tech and non-tech, have done a great job over the last year with their approach to corporate giving.Read More
In today’s age of transparency and real-time communication, why do so many small businesses still shy away from social media?Read More
Should startups & established companies invest in Marketing & PR amidst the ongoing recession? Which camp do you fall under? What about your competitors?Read More
Social media has become a defacto communication channel, compelling tech startups, small businesses and large companies to supplement their marketing and public relations efforts by forging ahead to discover how to harness social media to integrate it with their existing web 1.0 efforts.Read More
It's important for Marketing to communicate with their public relations teams about marketing activities that they are planning to participate in as early as possible.Read More
Building consumer-generated word-of-mouth is a great way for companies to enhance their overall PR efforts. We recently applauded Amazon for its smart PR move around its push for more crowdsourcing of user-generated product reviews. Amazon’s efforts paid off; the online retailer reported that the 2008 holiday season was its best ever. Nielsen Online reports more than 80% of online shoppers read consumer reviews, validating their use as an important research tool for online consumers. Whether researching online as a consumer or business user, positive customer testimonials will go a long way. Young tech startups that are looking to generate positive conversations around their own product or service need to bear in mind that it’s ultimately determined by the users’ experience. Get that right and meet the needs of your targeted audience and, then as Amazon is learning, leveraging consumer-generated reviews as part of your online marketing efforts could reap additional viral PR and growth for your product or service.
The future of tech tradeshows is suddenly in the spotlight. Apple announced it was pulling out of Macworld after January’s event, but Apple wasn’t the only one to pull the plug on plans to exhibit: Adobe, Google and Belkin also followed suit. CES, one of the industry’s largest, is experiencing a dip in registered exhibitors as well. The reality is that tech conventions and tradeshows are costly Marketing endeavors. While established companies have more financial resources to afford tech events, tech startups need to be much more judicious with their spending and marketing dollars—particularly during the ongoing economic recession. To weather the economic storm, new Web 2.0 tools and services are serving as an affordable option for tech startups and larger companies; (online video, podcasts, screencasts, blogging, micro-blogging, social networks, etc.) to use for launching new companies and their product/services. One of our clients, for instance, has chosen to cut back on tradeshows and sponsorships, preferring to apply a branded webinar as one ongoing tool to get in front of a more targeted audience. This example lends weight to Robert Scoble’s argument that social media tools are impacting tradeshows.
However, while not an absolute requirement, tech conventions and events can help maximize the marketing and PR efforts behind the launch of a company, new product, service, or a big announcement, because it provides a venue for the company’s spokespeople to meet face-to-face with select reporters, bloggers, and analysts to articulate their story, show off their product or service, and begin building relationships with select opinion leaders. Additionally, tech events provide an opportunity for company executives to meet in-person with prospective customers and investors as well as network with potential partners. For the companies that do decide to invest in exhibiting at one of the bigger shows (i.e.: CES, GSMA, CTIA Wireless, etc.), they also need to plan months in advance and execute flawlessly in order to maximize their ability to rise above the noise. So how should you assess the value in tradeshows? Many of our clients are re-examining the audience fit, attendee interest and ROI. Is the audience qualified and interested in the technologies and solutions being offered?
Tech tradeshows are not dying and should remain on the table for companies to consider as part of their overall Marketing plan. However, just like anything these days, companies have to be highly selective in how they are investing their marketing dollars for every tech tradeshow they are considering exhibiting at or sponsoring. Tradeshow organizers would be wise to consider narrowing the scope of their event in order to attract a more highly targeted audience and appeal to tech companies that must pick and choose carefully for the foreseeable future.
For any startup looking to gain a strong foothold in the market, customer traction is the name of the game. All too often though, many Web 2.0 startups focus instead on pushing a product or service to market that they built without involving beta customers beforehand.
Innovative ideas need to incorporate early user feedback and testing and that shouldn’t mean just before the product or service is “baked.” Working with beta customers should start at the onset in order to really understand what customers’ needs are and reiterating the product or service to win their nod of approval. Since early stage, tech startups have such limited resources, the startups early version of their product/service should focus on solving the most critical customer pain points: the product/service has to be “a must have” and not — “a nice to have.” This can be best achieved by focusing on beta customers — early and often. Happy customers will become referenceable customers and your biggest champions. In their words, they can best articulate why the product/service solved their problems and why it was of value. Other prospective customers will self-select by identifiying with the same problem/pain points and move to seek out the solution.
Being on the PR side of things, we still see far too many Web 2.0 companies, as well as established companies, not involving their customers soon enough or often enough before they roll out some “beta” offering (or even worse launch a new product). From the PR side, the best advice we can offer is not to push out new whiz bang features early and often but instead to work closely with customers, early and often, in order to build that better mousetrap.