Our business development team often works hand in hand with our intelligence unit to analyze a range of communications pain points that are felt by B2B startups and their marketing teams. To take the pulse appropriately, we garner data across every sales call as to what challenges innovators are facing and attempt to analyze this data across times, seasons, events, and even stages of company development.
One of the most pressing complaints we hear, is that startups see immense value from conference speakerships and panels, yet often have to pay high sponsorship fees to garner them. Sponsorship packages with speaking spots can easily start in the mid thousands and only go up from there for large, credible events. We have placed speakers at hundreds of events globally on an earned basis and with this, have some tips and secrets as to how to save your marketing budget, earn your speakership and successfully pitch event organizers.
If You Build the Asset, They Will Come:
A deep relationship with event organizers will always be the quickest and easiest path to garnering a participant spot on a desired panel, but all great relationships must start somewhere. The fact of the matter is that unless you have deep pockets, you are going to have to pitch. Event pitching is much like pitching the media, with the exception that differing assets are utilized as your ammunition.
Abstracts and Bios: Your first step to garnering B2B speakerships is the creation of diverse and compelling abstracts and bios. Abstracts are your detailed topical and biographical hook for pitching event organizers. Their core is to detail the expertise of the speaker and select an incredibly compelling topic or industry challenge that the speaker will address. All too many startups try to pitch the novelty of their company or product to garner a speakership, but this is a deadly mistake. Events get booked by exceptional topics and exceptional leaders that can address challenges or potential in their industry. A great abstract, coupled with a bio that can showcase industry expertise…is a force to be reckoned with.
Larger brands, whether they be B2B or B2C, are always going to be in demand as speakers and attendees. They draw the biggest crowds, have built-in marketing channels and come with higher levels of credibility than the most well funded of startups. If your team has any integration with a larger brand, whether it is a partner relationship, a client or even one of your own vendors, it can be very simple to present the notion of a conference co-presentation. Dream up a topic with your brand partner, garner their buy-in and approach conferences with a stellar pitch about the session, leading of course, with the brand’s appearance. (Bonus points if you can get your brand partner to co-market the session).
Use Data as a Sales-Point:
Audiences in today’s B2B landscape are compelled by novel data that can be brought to the trade show table and most startups are sitting on mountains of it without realizing it. The rule of thumb is that anything audiences are compelled by, is event-worth material. This means it is time to explore the data you have at your fingertips and figure out a way to interweave it with your event pitch. Whether it is noticing a trend across your buyers, or data generated directly from a platform of your own, the data is the story, not your company. Present an event pitch by highlighting a pressing new trend, issue or potential your data has showcased and you can offer to share it for the first time as a speaker.
Leverage Your PR Firm:
We may be biased, but if your communications agency is not garnering event speakerships for you and utilizing their skills to develop powerful event collateral and pitch their organizer relationships, they should not be involved with B2B publicity. It can take a lot to push your firm to go the extra mile, but great speaking positions lead to great thought leadership and great thought leadership leads to great press. The bottom line, it is in your and your firm’s best interest to pitch events like it was their job. Because it absolutely is.
Or if you want to fast track things…Give us a buzz. We can have you speaking in front of targeted audiences consistently across events, regions and sectors. Heck, we’ll even make sure the media is covering you each and and every time as well.
In today’s tech-infused world, you can’t just settle for a PR ﬁrm that is “specialized in technology”. The phrase amounts to little more than ﬂuff these days. So what do we specialize in? AI, AR/VR, Adtech, Cannatech and Fintech. We’re not just throwing buzzwords around either – we know our stuff. Welcome to PR and content relations reinvented.
To display how we walk the walk, let’s take a moment to show off some samples of work we’ve done to help educate the industry, bring new communications techniques to the forefront, and present a bit of our own leadership across over 220 differing media publications, conferences and lectures.
To Download, Click and Share: Emerging Insider Expertise
Do you even Blockchain bro?
We’ve been helping to school marketers across fintech, video, ehealth and adtech better understand how to position novel blockchain endeavors. Check out our research on marketer sentiments and perceptions.
Blockchain and Marketer Perceptions ExchangeWire
It’s the year of the Rooster, get cocky with China’s wealthy
China’s elite can be a tough crowd to roll with. Our day job is to reach them with your message, but in our spare time, we provide insight as to what makes them tick across devices. Say Ni Hao to these insights..
The mobile habits of China’s wealthy– Jing Daily
It amazes us how often communicators rely on tired stories to try and hit the press when they have a stockpile of really amazing data. This data can provide the press with unlimited potential to share your news. We provided Tech.Co some basic reasons why.
Branded Data is the Key for Startup Marketing Tech.co
A hasty look at any solid startup communications plan can give off a basic, if not sophomoric value point to PR investments. While incumbent brands have to worry about everything from crisis campaigns to shareholder messaging. Most startups use PR to get themselves embedded in the minds of their target audiences.
For those that don’t know, there is a secret amongst the craftiest of VCs, advisors and investors: sometimes the goal isn’t to hit critical attention mass, or even provide thought leadership. Sometimes the press is used in far more covert and lucrative ways. Here are the top four hidden secrets from PR professionals for VC’s.
Intimidate Buyers into Acquisitions
This is a phrase used in the world of mergers and acquisitions. If you want a company to buy you, make sure you sell into their client base. This applies to the world of business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer companies. Outside of making a larger organization realize that both your targets might be accretive once together, it’s all about retaining market share and mindshare as top dog in the industry you may be in.
So how does PR work in this sense? PR allows entrants the ability to showcase strength and power without really possessing it via establishing a credible threat. An organization doesn’t need to spend massive branding dollars to feign a run at market share. All they need is a solid PR investment to hit the media in the right ways. If a company can show that they mean business through the media, they will become a potential threat. In the real world, the quickest way to kill a threat is to buy the threat. International innovator, Ticketbis, used this tactic to enter into the U.S. market, and recently got acquired within 10 months for 9 figures, using next to zero marketing investment, also with a less than a 5 figure monthly PR spend.
Keep Competitors Off Your Trail
Houdini could have become the greatest marketer known to man if he was advised to apply himself to the world of commerce and trade. Everyone from large consumer goods brands to small innovators have good reason to throw their competition off before a major release. All PR is not good PR. Especially if it leaks trade secrets, or tips off competitors.
Smart corporate manipulators know how to tip the scales in their favor. By making media relation noise with a straw man endeavor and keeping eyes fixated on the smaller side, an organization can buy their research and development department’s time, privacy and protection from the larger play at hand. By marketing the heck out of a secondary initiative through a feigned leak, brand drive, or light media relations, the real development has bought itself time for entry. Smart publicists know when to keep focus. Smart VC’s often know that the first to enter is usually the largest to exit and advise their communications teams.
Publicize Investors Before Product
It’s no secret that startups will select their VCs and investors based less on dollar amount gained than by actual advisory value of bringing on a certain team. The truth that is less discussed is that the most valuable marketing play is often an investment team. This can change the entire game for a startup. It doesn’t matters if the investment group has zero participation in any facet of the business, because a well-known VC will inspire automatic faith, garner landscape confidence and compel potential customers, vendors, partners and especially other investors to take a long hard glance at the product/service. Think Mark Cuban or Sequoia Capital.
The savvy will use this knowledge to have their PR professionals brand their investors months before the marketplace knows of any potential investment. At the moment a funding round is launched, tying together a product combined with an all-star VC team creates a larger media response and a level of credibility that is nearly unattainable otherwise.
Market A Crisis
The wiliest of investors often rely on emotion based strategy and contrarian undertakings rather than cutting edge technologies and data. While most companies will work endless nights to reduce the nature of a crisis, it is beneficial to keep pushing it further into the public eye to establish a converted hero that can garner far more positive public attention for a company, especially for one that has had mixed reviews.
The best analogies come from a careful study of film, television and entertainers. As a population, we rarely fall for Dudley-do-right at first glance. Instead we like the rough around-the-edges, anti-hero who garners redemption by doing the right thing in the end. We’re enamored by the convert, by the one who sees the error in their ways. From the Grinch to Severus Snape, we clap for them at the end and reflect upon their true colors.
In public relations, this often means finding the right crisis, marketing it the right way, and establishing a turn-around hero who not just cleans up their act, but changes the nature of their organization for the better. This can often be a Hail Mary play to some of the most successful exits in history. It’s about taking something not lackluster, building up the crises and building up the redemption from it.
The initial coin offering (ICO) space is exploding with opportunities, as cryptocurrency becomes poised to permanently disrupt traditional systems of the financial world. A quick scan of the latest headlines pertaining to ICOs reveals just how much finance is flowing in, as millions of dollars are quickly raised by startups planning to revolutionize entire industries with blockchain technology.
Unfortunately, where there is lots of capital, there are plenty of scammers trying to purloin their share. And the faster a sector grows, the easier it becomes for them to do so, as purveyors of fraud quickly learn how to take advantage of newcomers’ knowledge gaps. In the cryptocurrency marketing world, a fool and his bitcoin are soon parted.
- Social Media Influencer scams
A quick search can yield a plethora of individuals offering social media promotion via their “thousands and thousands” of crypto followers. While the thought of this instant exposure and validation may sound attractive, the truth is that it’s usually nothing more than a con-game without any real benefit to a marketer. This is because their offer of multiple tweets, and re-tweets are to the very fake followers they paid $30 for.
To ensure you’re not paying to attract bots and zombie accounts try using an account auditing service like twitteraudit or FollowerCheck. (Note: make sure to check when the audit report was created) If their followers are more than 30% fake, you are throwing money away.
- Pay to Play Press Releases and Article Submission
There are plenty of sites out there that offer paid press releases and articles that may seemingly enhance an ICO’s profile. They try to appear legitimate and industry-focused, but in general, the sites where your content will appear tend to have very little or no traffic, making them a tremendous waste of your promotional resources. In the entire industry perhaps twelve niche sites exist that have the right kind of traffic. The rest do not. End point.
Before you agree to invest in any sort of paid tactics of this nature, do your homework. Even checking the Alexa rankings of the sites where the release/article will go live is a great measure to protect yourself. Anything that is not ranked in the top 150,000 sites is not worth your time or marketing money. And never…ever… buy banner Ads from anyone, unless you take a time machine to 2004.
- Pay to Play Articles in Major Publications
You should always be sure to avoid cash for contributor coverage schemes (Pay for play articles) as an absolute rule of thumb. Not only are these usually a scam that won’t result in anything of value, but they can also lead to legal issues. If a writer/consultant/agency promises to get an article about your ICO published on a well-known site by paying the journalist, kindly decline and seek out organic PR instead.
4. Scam Agencies
Be wary of marketing and public relations firms that state they have represented dozens upon dozens of ICOs. First of all, the development of this space is still relatively new, so the veracity of that claim is unlikely. But even if it is true, given the intense amount of time and resources it takes to properly engage a campaign to promote an initial coin offering, that calls the quality of these efforts into question. Equal due diligence should be given to agencies that claim only focus on crypto. Most of the time, they are just as new to marketing as you are and don’t have the years and years of expertise far more qualified firms would.
If you really want to be sure you’re hiring an effective marketing organization, be sure to dig into the experiences they claim to have. It’s possible that much of what they have done involves one-off engagements rather than strategic partnerships with proven results. And when it comes to the intricacies of promoting an ICO, you’re most certainly going to want the latter.
The initial coin offering marketing world can seem like the wild, wild west in terms of unethical parties willing to go lawless to take advantage of all the money waiting to be made. By entering this space with your eyes wide open, while paying close attention to what’s really being offered, you can ensure you’re promoting your offer the right way with the right people.
This post first appeared in The Next Web, written by our CEO, Zach.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are a fascinating new beast within the startup world. These novel fundraising vehicles are part tech, part finance, and while offering huge profits, also invite a great deal of potential fraud. In their nascent stage, some quick-fire fortunes will likely lead to significant legal problems when it comes to marketing, public relations and promotion.
Investor Relations (IR) professionals have been watching the landscape activity with bemusement as they have seen this all before. Anyone who worked in small or microcap investment marketing during the early days of the digital boom remembers the arrests of naive advertisers entering the space. They also know a worldwide criminal element is endemic to the capital markets. “Pump and Dumps” were not just conducted by some sketchy Florida-based brokerages. Instead, they were often orchestrated by organized criminal groups ranging from gun runners to drug cartels as an easy method to obtain quick cash and launder money. Unfortunately, those same folks are already involved in the ICO atmosphere. These are just some of the challenges that face those entering the brave new world of cryptocurrency.
1. Prepare for Red Tape and Regulations
The days of ICO public relations agencies easily entering and operating within the ICO space are over. Recent SEC statements about initial coin offerings signify there will be greater regulatory and legal issues for those looking to promote this sector. Of these, the biggest concern may be that marketers have little idea whether any given ICO can or will be considered a securities offering.
Precedent indicates ICO advertising will be subject to a set of rules similar to those which govern stock promotion. While this article in no way intends to offer legal advice, the suggestion can be made that marketers across the board should familiarize themselves with the legalities of securities marketing worldwide. Laws of this nature can be intense, ruling over everything from the language of marketing to the techniques utilized as well as the general setup of companies and their third-party help.
At the very least, ICO marketers should study the information that exists on IR legislation with specific attention paid to blue sky laws, securities promotion laws (SEC rule 17b) and broker/dealer laws. Because the reality is that an initial coin offering may be subject to them all. If you’re marketing it incorrectly, this can result in both civil and criminal charges…and no campaign is worth that……….
Want to read the rest? Visit the article on TheNextWeb
Given the competitive nature of the technology startup landscape, the creation of noteworthy marketing may seem an insurmountable task. It’s not enough to have good content, because your rivals do too. Virtually everyone has built a social media presence touting their products. And it isn’t about using simple search engine optimization tools to boost your online efforts, as these can be accessed by anyone with a beginner’s guide to SEO.
The proliferation of advertising platforms means more methods to promote your organization but also more clutter to break through. That makes it necessary to find unique ways to distinguish yourself from the pack. Herein lies the beauty of branded data. It can be used to tell a story about your startup and its capabilities in a credible way that not only makes it shareable but also indefinitely usable.
If your brand isn’t leveraging its own data as a means of self-promotion, here are three reasons it should be:
Elevates Your Communications
If you struggle with finding reasons to talk about your startup that will matter to the press, then branded data is your solution. It allows anyone from tech producers to cloud innovators to create media-worthy stories that tap into human interest. Securing such coverage is just a matter of determining what data you have available and then utilizing it to create insightful narratives about consumer and business trends.
In its Big Data Executive Survey, NewVantage Partners found that 95 percent of respondents had taken on a collection and analysis program over the last five years. This means that nearly every organization is currently capable of amassing facts and figures that allow for limitless opportunities to garner press. While most tech companies will stick to releases about their latest product update or executive hire, branded data is far more newsworthy material that journalists will actually care to write about.
——-Read the rest of this article by our team at https://tech.co/branded-data-future-startup-marketing-2017-07
As a marketing and communications firm, we’ll be honest, we utilize most of our energy and creative focus on our clients across adtech, fintech, travel and emerging media. We don’t rest until the press, analysts, investors, partners, and entire industry believes in their product or service as much as we do. This means that we often do not get the time to focus on getting attention ourselves. BUT…we also believe you shouldn’t use a penniless financial planner nor a communications firm without a bit of acclaim.
In accordance with this view, we wanted to take a moment to show off some light work we’ve done to help educate the industry, bring new communications techniques to the forefront and present a bit of our own leadership. Below, find our stats and a bit of our own acclaim.
-We’ve launched over 25 startups, eight of those we ran the course with and took through either 8 or 9 figure exits, many of the the rest are growing with us still.
-We’ve assisted over 16 fortune 500 brands.
-We’ve been featured in journalist driven press articles on 119 differing occasions.
-We’ve contributed over 175 bylines to industry and mass market publications.
-We can count eight differing award wins over history across the company and team.
-14 Keynote speakerships delivered.
-23 Panel sessions participated in.
Some Featured Research:
Augmented Reality: www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhumphrey/2016/09/26/pokemon-go-user-survey-marketing-via-augmented-reality-will-be-complex
Blockchain Marketers: https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2017/07/06/blockchain-can-revolutionise-marketing-us-leads-europe-smart-home-development/
China’s Digital Affluent: https://jingdaily.com/chinese-rich-mobile-boosts-individualism/
Ad Fraud : https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/258668/6-billion-lost-to-fraudulent-ad-spend.html
Some General Press
Ad Fraud: https://www.inc.com/bill-carmody/problematic-programmatic-media-buying.html
The Reinvention of PR: https://tech.co/startups-reinventing-ancient-industries-2016-05
Digital Video: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/jan/17/three-factors-scupper-online-video-advertising
Startup Advice: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296677
Recruiting Thoughts: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/07/12/6-employers-weigh-in-on-benefits-and-drawbacks-boomerang-employees.html
Some Thought Leadership Bylines:
General PR: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269920
Advice for Startups: https://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2016/08/22/is-telecommuting-killing-your-startup/#.tnw_jNX1gH0t
Branded Data: http://www.prnewsonline.com/earning-branded-content
Native Advertising: https://nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/blog/use-native-advertising-amplify-content/
In 2016, winding your way around the World Wide Web feels less like surfing the Internet and more like an acid trip. Once a place where marketers felt comfortable presenting carefully curated content has become an assault of seemingly random sights and sounds driven to virality by the curious enjoyment of consumers. Sure the typical tales of the Kardashians, their romances and their stolen jewelry will likely remain a part of the mainstream media’s messaging, but it’s far more aberrant posts which are rising to the top of trending stories, where they find more staying power than can be bought with millions of brand dollars.
“Content Shock,” or the theory that a person can only consume so much content, is no longer just a scary hypothetical addition to the marketer’s lexicon. It has been with us for quite some time and grows increasingly apparent to those who pay attention to what goes viral. People have become so inundated with communications, be they push marketing or branded content, native or social, that linear ideas and images no longer hold the same magic they did less than a decade ago. These three trends showcase the psychology of social virality in a world where content marketers are dead and “differentiation agents” will have to take their place to ensure impactful messaging moving forward:
- Cat Breading: The Birth of Non-Linear Marketing
There are few forces more powerful to marketers than that of novelty and intrigue. Neurobiologists have even found a region of the midbrain referred to as its “novelty center” which responds to unique stimuli by activating the release of dopamine. But despite their best efforts, many advertisers are unable to inspire these emotions in consumers even while heavily investing in creative pieces designed to break the mold. That’s because even their most original offerings are no match for a picture of a cat with a piece of bread around its head.
What began as a Tumblr post in 2011 and became the subject of a South Park episode in 2012 is still available as a Snapchat filter option in 2016, without any sort of branded promotional dollars behind it. Why? Because bread cats are non-linear, if not downright absurd, and for that reason they demand attention and inspire loyalty. Their novelty is intriguing to a population tired of being bombarded by far more purposeful content provided by advertisers. To really be heard, modern marketers need to take a step back from deliberate attempts at established variation, instead looking towards ideas that use confusion to their own advantage by inspiring the strange delight of consumers.
- Boaty McBoatface: The Power of Crowdsourced Humor
Super Bowl ads still drive a relatively engaged audience at scale due to carefully scripted, humor-based creative formats with celebrity power baked in at an opportune time. But these expensive marketing efforts can pale in comparison to the amount of earned media that can be garnered by a crowdsourced non-advertisement. Consider the Internet frenzy created in May when a British government agency decided to let netizens decide the name of a $287 million research vessel.
Quicker than virtually any brand-driven call to action could inspire, hundreds of thousands of voters flocked to support the moniker “Boaty McBoatface” and organic virality was instantly achieved, with the naming convention still showing up in nominations for more recent, similar contests. The force at work driving the popularity of this concept is its open-ended, unscripted opportunity for humor. When audiences are allowed to determine the direction the content takes rather than having it forced upon them, they respond. The lesson to marketers here is a deep one. The Internet doesn’t just want freedom of expression. It wants control over the direction the conversation takes. It wants to decide, rather than be told, what is funny and brands may benefit from incredible viral potential by letting it making such choices.
- Buzzfeed Basics: The Switch from Bigger Pictures to Smaller Ones
The media has changed in far greater ways than just a shift to digital content. This evolution is reflected not only in how stories are being shared but also by what is being talked about. Today’s most widely circulated news/entertainment websites now offer many narratives driven by random people in unusual situations, with articles like “A Raccoon Stole This Guy’s Phone and The Hilarious Chase Was Caught On Video” enabling Buzzfeed to become the most popular viral site month after month. That so many highly read stories are now quick-fire tales of circumstances with absolutely no relevance outside of an entertaining diversion demonstrates how popular content is becoming reflective of the self-involved generation which is consuming it. To combat this gap between what audiences want and what brands are able to offer, marketers need to realize they will lose relevance if they rely on pushing their clients’ established storylines, instead engaging the media with unique assets more appealing to journalists’ current desire to cover the little things.
Certainly, creating unique content remains an important aspect of a communications strategy, but unless consumers’ needs for authentic virality drivers are taken into account, all of the marketing dollars in the world are no match for the psychology which leads consumers to crave non-linear randomness in what messages they find worthwhile.
Let’s be honest, everyone has heard of Facebook… Even my dog knows about Facebook! If you don’t, then you should know that my dog is cooler than you. Today Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and has been around since 2004. That’s a long stinking time! FB grows more each week and there is literally always something new being pushed out into this weird social sphere, and I know it is hard to keep up.
For personal use, it’s a great way to connect with new people, stay in touch with old friends, co-workers and family. But what I prefer to use it for is…BUSINESS. Surprise, Surprise. EVERY BUSINESS and or COMPANY SHOULD HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE. For starters, it is free exposure for your company but you can also choose to pay to promote it within this giant platform. Potential clients/customers are able to like or rate your page in a way that somewhat resembles a Yelp profile.
It also gives you access to all your analytics so you track every click, like, and other activity on your FB page. Not only have I used FB for heavy-duty businesses but also for SMBs like local restaurants. It doesn’t matter how big or small the business is, if you keep up with the page and put actual effort into it then you will get your brand’s name out there. Nothing ticks me off more than people complaining that their posts or their page doesn’t have enough likes. Well, maybe it’s because you aren’t committed to the page. How can you expect a random person to like a page that has no effort put into it? BE SMART PEOPLE. This is why companies have social media moderators. They have one or two specific people whose job is to make the FB along with all other social pages absolutely amazing and cohesive to direct traffic to each page. You must utilize free social media and anyone who says they don’t have time is a freaking liar. With social media available right on your phone no one should be excused and it only take a few minutes a day.
Now go get your likes people!