PR Niblets

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Tease

It seems like more and more companies want to keep us guessing - whether it’s Apple’s on-again/off-again product releases or GoDaddy’s sexual innuendo-filled ads that force us to the website to “see more” of Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels (um…no thanks!).

Most recently, JC Penney has joined the party by running TV spots of shoppers screaming at sales they’ve missed and being bombarded by coupons and flyers (  The commercial ends with the tagline, “Enough.Is.Enough.” and teases February 1, 2012 along with a link to JC Penney’s Facebook page.  So, can we assume the company is getting rid of all its couponing?  Is it just a ploy to get people to check out their Facebook page? 

After chatting with a colleague about the commercial (which admittedly is pretty funny), he told me about an article that said JC Penney is getting rid of all promotional sales in their stores. Overall, I think this campaign could be a win for the company – the tease is generating some buzz for both the campaign and the brand…all in anticipation of the “big announcement and full details!”

In the PR, marketing and media world, the “tease” can be both advantageous and disadvantageous to a company or news story.  Think of all the times a news anchor teases us to stay tuned after the commercial for the latest household cleaning product that can KILL US!  The anchor comes back and the news is so far out that we snicker to ourselves and become a little more jaded each time it happens.  As marketers and publicists put more “tease” into their copywriting and campaign elements, are we switching our audiences off by overusing this tactic?

With the Super Bowl (of advertising) less than a week away, let’s see how many brands turn to tease tactics.  I have a feeling that our information overloaded generation will be seeing a lot more of this across mediums (i.e. from TV to Twitter) as companies are doing everything they can to draw us in and keep us coming back.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Top 10 Secrets to Great Analyst Relations" by Judith M. Rothrock

Industry analyst relations are a critical component of most technology companies' external marketing campaigns. Ignore the analysts and you prospectively lose important third party endorsements, inclusion in RFIs and RFPs, citations in the media and more.

In this guest blog, Judith M. Rothrock, president of JRocket Marketing, an analyst relations and outsourced chief marketing officer organization, offers 20+ years of street smarts on how to effectively engage in analyst relations. JRocket Marketing and Feintuch Communications are strategic partners; Mr. Feintuch has known and worked with Ms. Rothrock in a variety of capacities for nearly 30 years.

Recently I was asked by an industry colleague how JRocket Marketing is able to get even small vendors attention by the technology analyst firms….when the IT market is dominated by billion-dollar behemoths. Here is the JRocket Marketing Tip Sheet:

1. Homework: Know the analyst; pull their bio, note prior companies, schools, etc. Connect the dots and build the relationship off of his or her background. For example, knowing that Mint Jutras principal Cindy Jutras is a math and science whiz from Boston University … is going to at least get her to take your call if your brother/sister/aunt/uncle went there and/or you have a penchant for engineering!

2. Competitive P.I.: Super sleuth how your targeted analysts report on your competitors; what they like and don’t like, and get a good grasp of where the biases are going to be. A little private investigating goes a long way towards exploiting opportunities and avoiding pitfalls. For example, if you are in the enterprise solutions space and want to speak about “agility,” you need to know what UNIT4 has said on the topic

3. Packaging: Spin works. Net clever messages work. Complex acronyms and boring R&D speak (unless you are talking to an architecture analyst) will put your target analysts to sleep. Be sticky read

4. Powerpoint Simplicity: 50 page powerpoints scream one (or both) of these messages: I’m not sure what’s most important about my company/differentiation; I haven’t done this before so I am going to dump it all on you to figure out. Tight net presentations of 20 slides and one hour are perfect for getting key points across to analysts who are overloaded with sometimes 25+ vendor briefings per week. Skip the highly complex slides that deliver TMI. SYSPRO U.S.’s ‘Einstein Theory’ received more traction than 60 page powerpoints previously given on the same/similar products.

5. I.V. Drips not Overloads: Analysts are often booked hourly (like lawyers) and three hour (unbillable) meetings and ongoing non-urgent information is going to peg you as a time waster to be avoided. Twice yearly face to face meetings, augmented by 2 additional WebEx’s on launches, acquisitions or other hot topics are plenty for a smaller (non-Microsoft) sized company …but share your key press releases via linked emails and/or twitter. JRocket Marketing’s Grape Escape is a great example of how to showcase your messaging annually and draw big analyst crowds.

6. Hot Topics: Stay abreast of the industry – what’s hot, what’s not, what’s game changing. They package your messaging to pick up on these trends because that’s what the analysts will be writing about. Check out Gartner’s Top 10 Technology Trends for 2012

7. Travel Tie-Ins: Get the target analysts travel schedule and dovetail it to ANY locales, happenings or home bases of you or your key executives. Build in a lunch, dinner or airport coffee time to build the face-time relationship. Social media is GREAT, but relationships bond across a meal table.

8. Newbie Knowledge: New analysts (often from the vendor or press community) are feeling their way and grateful for any data you can share about their new assignment. Help them, and they help you! Send a welcome letter, start a file about any personal information they choose to share (spouse, kids/ages, hobbies)…and don’t forget the flowers if they have an illness or major accident because they will never forget YOU for it! Recommendations: for women analysts, nothing says it like a personalized “analyst of the year” Vermont teddy bear or Pro Flowers plant and Mrs. Fields cookie combo … I’ve built 20 year relationships from just doing the “right thing” as we New Yorkers say (and it makes YOU feel great to do it!).

9. Scoops: If your company is the first to do something – bring in your most important analyst under NDA and get them a pre-briefing prior to launch. Some firms will allow a press quote, but even for the larger ones (Gartner, Forrester, or IDC an advance briefing will put them in a position to take a reporter’s call to provide color on the topic.

10. Respect (Both Ways): This is the most challenging tightwire act of analyst relations. Not all analysts treat smaller vendors with the same respect they give “the big boys” and there are quite a few egos. On the flip side, there are dozens of wonderful analysts out there who you can cultivate career-long friendships with. I’ve found that (contrary to what’s staffed at most PR agencies) that AR people who have deep, experienced knowledge of their market, their products and their competitors’ actions get the best shake from analysts. I’ve also found that there are some analysts that, regardless of how earthshaking your IT breakthrough is, will never believe that a small company announcement trumps even mundane news from the giants. Read Brian Sommer’s grid on the types of analysts for a good comedic look at the various analyst “types” in the market;siu-container.

Visit for more information or follow Judith Rothrock on twitter @JRocketMarket.