A Better Way to Do PR

I have always had a love/hate relationship with public relations. I have been on both sides of the equation (a bombarded journalist and account manager at a PR firm), so I feel for both sides of the deal. That being said, I can’t help but feel that most PR firms don’t care much about you unless you are a Fortune 500.

LOVE                                                         HATE

Connecting with journalists                 Angry/overworked editors whom wish you were dead

The Perks of Press                                 The assumption that press is a marketing strategy

A great interview                                     Pitching to angry/overworked editors who wish you were dead

A great article                                           Inaccurate quotes or a poorly crafter pitch from your firm

At the company I currently work at, we are working our way through the 3 main PR tactics that can be used for press release creation and distribution:

1.Third party PR firm
2. In-house/relationship building (call your friends who are journalists)
3. Press Release online service membership

We recently spent $3k a month for 3 months with a local PR firm for national coverage which would include one major pitch a month. Well, $9k later and three half-assed pitches and not a single play from the deal. All the press we got during the time we had an agency, came from direct personal relationships through our network to journalists. That being said, personal relationships does not work for volume and you can’t call you friends every month with a new announcement. It has got me exploring, as there must be a better way! Time for tactic 3.

So, I started exploring online to actually look into all the resources I have seen around the web these past few years. Here is what I found. I hope it saves you (my fellow marketers) some time in finding the best PR service options on the web).

For sending out releases:

1. PRWeb (under the Vocas umbrella)

2. Marketwire

3. Free Press Release

4. PRLog

5. PRNewswire (A partner of Vocus)

6. GlobalNewswire

For connecting with journalists:

1. HARO (Hire a Reporter Out)- (under the Vocas umbrella)

2. Reporter Connection

3. Expert Tweet

4. PRNewswire

The ones not included are the ones slow to return calls or do not have pricing listed on their website. Why is pricing always a secret!

For Finding a good publicist that is an actual fit:

1. Airpr (coming soon)

This article by Forbes is where I discovered many of these PR services online.

Learn how to grow your email list, ensure deliverability and increase engagement with this free guide.

Download this new guide to access ten quick ways to start building inbound links using social media.

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The Influence of Android: A Look at the Numbers

Taken from my work for the BNOTIONS blog, where I am currently Director of Marketing

Android OS

“Android OS leads with 64% market share,” announces Tech News Today on August 14th, 2012. A major shift in the past few months towards Android dominance has been led by the wait for iPhone 5, but as well the breadth of new devices using the Android OS. Devices with Android operating systems sold 98,529 units (in thousands) in Q2 of 2012 “with an increase of 20.7 percent points in market share in Q2 2012,” reports Tech2. On the flip side RIM has seen a decrease in OS market share as well as Symbian. Both Bada and Microsoft have seen very slight increases ranging in the 1-2% range from 2011 to 2012.


Chart showing December OS use in 2011.

Chart showing February 2012.

Android OS Drilldown

Stats from Google I/O 2012

Google I/O annnounced some important Milestones for Android last month:

  • Total Android activations have risen from 100 million to 400 million devices.
  • 1 million Android devices are activated every day, about 12 devices a second.
  • Android activations abroad are growing rapidly; in developing markets adoption grew around 500% in the last year.
  • There have been 20 billion app installs across Google Play, the company’s marketplace for games and apps.
  • There are now 600,000 games and apps available on Google Play.
  • A year after launch, in-app billing accounts for 50% of revenue for developers using Google Play.

Why AndroidTO

If the numbers have not convinced you to take a closer look at Android, we hope we can help. The annual AndroidTO conference in being help on October 25th, at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. It prides itself as an event that focuses on educating developers, designers and everyone in between on all things Android. Just a casual Android OS user, there is a world of knowledge and insights for you, you quickly see why the stats above are relevant in today’s mobile ecosystem. There will be 3 tracks this year (Designer, Developer and the Business of Mobile) with some amazing talent lined up to keep us all entertained while providing some invaluable knowledge. Last year AndroidTO attracted over 800 attendees who were thrilled to take part in the largest gathering of its kind in Canada. There were great sessions, tons of new devices to see and play with as well as some great networking opportunities that led to the start of great friendships.

If you are as excited as we are to see what AndroidTO has in store, head on over to www.AndroidTO.com and have a look at some of the speakers and topics we’ve help put together. Keep an eye on the website as we are constantly updating it with new information about speakers and schedule. You can still buy “Early Bird” tickets before September 3rd, through Atendy  – buy tickets.

Jenna Hannon | Director of Marketing | @JennaHannon

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Social Media Evolution Beyond Broadcasting

Taken from my work on the BNOTIONS blog, where I currently work as Director of Marketing.

“In this day and age, I can’t imagine a company not using Facebook for marketing,” says a Facebook software engineer as we wait for our flight in the Dominican Republic airport. From one bias to another, a Facebook software engineer to a Facebook Preferred Marketing developer, the statement is surprisingly not so outlandish among the world’s marketers. It seems we live in a world of marketing where digital and social are the most accessible, yet powerful tools for every sized business. Even in Dominican Republic, a developing country, social media is used among businesses to market and offer promotions (the topic that initiated our conversation). With more marketing presence emerging through digital means, how do you navigate through the grey matter and join the chatter?

Just because social marketing is accessible does not mean it is one dimensional. Yes, you are in high competition for a mass audience surrounded by lots of noise, but broadcasting is not your only tool. Here is how we suggest navigating Facebook as a business for marketing:

1. Market Research

How else would you get to know your customer? For companies with no budget for formal market research, Facebook can be a great tool for getting to know your  prospective customers for the initial creation of a target market. Who is following the brand? What are there interests? Do they rationally relate to the product service or offering? If not, you may be starting off with the wrong messaging. If they do, get to know them better and find out specific needs through direct conversation.

For BNOTIONS, Facebook gives us a good idea of our community. We can see who are interacting with the brand and how they relate to our client list. Are we interacting with our target segment? In Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm (the technology marketing bible), he walks us through the marketing cycle from early adopter, to visionary, to mainstream markets, to the last majority in the high tech world. It is important to keep a pulse on which segment you have the eyes and ears of as this will clearly direct your marketing efforts. Facebook can give you a nice peek at individuals in your market to see which segment you are currently interacting with. For us, we interact on Facebook with the early adopters who often lead us to visionaries (or the decision makers in large companies for technology adoption). Although, most visionaries have a right-hand man…which most often happens to be an early adopter. Word-of-mouth has to start somewhere and it is better if it is reinforced, so you want to make sure you have the attention of the early adopters before you start planning for the visionaries. Facebook is a great place to confirm this segment for strategic marketing.

2. Feedback and Iteration

Once you have developed a core target market and established your segment that will define your influencers and decision makers, you want to make sure you are listening. Facebook is a free beta testing tool! No need for focus groups, ask your Facebook network. Ask questions and opinions about your industry. Follow up on comments and messages. Facebook is a crowdsourcing tool with a mass network. People are very open to expressing opinions and ideas on Facebook, so do not be afraid to tap into that.

3. CRM

Personally, I think of Facebook as my personal roladex. All my friends in one place and easy to get a hold of. As a business, there are multiple ways you can turn Facebook into a CRM of influencers and prospects.

At BNOTIONS, we build a lot of Facebook apps that help develop specific ‘lists’ for clients. For example, if you are doing a specific promotion for a coupon through a Facebook app, the list of people who interacted for the coupon have shown obvious ‘intent’ or interest. Back to our market research, it gives you an idea if your market is accurate to your prediction, but more importantly, a very clear view of potential customers; who they are and what they like. By creating an app, you can segment your Facebook audience down through specific actions such as downloading coupons, reviewing products, or interacting in other specific ways. We recently did a campaign through Ogilvy and Mather for Scrubbing Bubbles through a Facebook app where users could download a coupon to try the product, review and share with friends. After the campaign, we were able to look at the users of the app and notice qualities, demographics, and other market information.

Reposted from my work on the BNOTIONS blog, where I currently work as Director of Marketing.

4. The Hype Machine

This is the obvious one. Facebook is an amazing broadcast tool. But make sure not to get stuck on the obvious, as we have come to expect more than information from brands; but rather a relationship.

Also, don’t discount Facebook as an amazing traffic referral tool. If you are interacting correctly, you will likely find Facebook in your top 5 sources for referral traffic (the first step in the lead conversation cycle!). Facebook is a great tool for driving traffic to your website that has already interacted with a ‘touch point’ (meaning will likely know your brand before hitting your landing page). We can’t guarantee this will improve your bounce rate, although in many cases this first interaction can certainly guarantee more targeted traffic (along with SEO and SEM).

Here at BNOTIONS, we’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on many Facebook applications on both mobile and desktop over the years. We value our social knowledge and take pride in helping brands connect with their core audience by developing apps that not only promote engagement but clearly define what make them special. We’ve worked on some amazing Facebook projects such as Scotiabank’s “the Richness Project” and Samsung Canada’s “Pursue your Passions“.

Jenna Hannon | Director of Marketing | @JennaHannon

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Technology in Emerging Markets: Why We Should Care

A post I wrote for mobile, web and Facebook development shop, BNOTIONS, in which I am the Director of Marketing.

We often think of the developed world as the catalyst for technological innovation, as it is an expected daily part of our lives. We wake up and check our email, we read the newspaper online, we make coffee in an automatic coffee maker and microwave our donut. We go to the gym filled with exercise machines, on to the Starbucks where we pay by mobile smart phones, then to work where we sit at our desk in front of a computer surrounded by monitors, keyboards, smart phones, tablets, and every other mainstream device that we take for granted. But what if you were to suddenly move to an emerging country? A BRIC country or perhaps one of the ‘Next 11′ (also coined by Jim O’Neill). How would your interaction with technology change? And, would you feel like you were surrounded by less innovation?

In our developed world bubble, we are surrounded by the notion that technological innovation is our fine oiled machine. But, as the world is quickly changing, we are seeing a major uprising in technological innovation from within developing countries, that is now emerging in developed countries. ‘Reverse Innovation‘ is the term created by Vijay Govindarajan, and the title of his latest book explaining the ‘phenomenon.’ “The Future is Far From Home: Innovating for emerging markets, rather than simply exporting, can unlock a world of opportunities for multinationals,” reads the title of the first chapter. In the book, Govindarajan reminds us that emerging countries are not the technology landscape of our developed worlds from the past, but rather their own innovation hubs. Emerging countries are completely different technological landscapes with differing demographics, needs and cultures; yet still in this same day and age (yes, 2012).

It is an innovation insight that perks up our ears, as we, as technologists, often look to solve developed world needs; as they seem like the most guaranteed ROI. Although, the world is shifting, according to economic turbulence, but mainly through demographics. Emerging countries are expected to have the largest population of young adults, with India leading in the age demographic of 20-30 year olds by 2050 (Harry S. Dent). This is the age demographic that has historically led to the most innovation in economies and technological advancement, states Harry S. Dent Jr., an economist in his best selling book, The Great Depression Ahead. The book shows an optimist outlook for emerging countries in South America and many of the ‘Next 11′ based on youth demographics for technological change.

“By 2020 [global corporation], Unilver expects developing markets to account for 70% of total sales, with about two-thirds of that coming from growth in the overall size of those markets and the other third from an increase in Unilever’s share of those expanding markets,” reads this week’s Economist in an article titled, ‘Fighting for the next billion shoppers.’ Global corporations have been capitalizing on emerging markets for many decades, further understanding the need for specific innovation and advancement for this huge population, yet this concept has recently come to mainstream awareness and fruition. The Economist article, outlines the race between Proctor & Gamble’s emerging market expansion and Unilver’s lead in developing markets in showing the corporate fight to capture the emerging world demographic, which proves a larger pool of buyers with much different needs then the developed world. As Harry S. Dent Jr. convinces us of a large demographical pool for emerging markets, Unilever validates it with real world examples of innovation and market segmentation with successful development from within emerging markets.

Although, going back to Govindarajan’s concept of reverse innovation (innovation specific to emerging markets that later becomes useful in developed countries), it is these major global corporations like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, that have seen this opportunity and acted accordingly; but it does not mean there is not room for smaller companies, as well as global corporations. Govindarajan points out companies like the Tata car manufacturer, Imecho (a Chinese smart device developed before mainstream smart phone adoption in the US), the Logitech 2.4-GHz mouse priced at &19.99, and Mahindra & Mahindra’s tractors, to show a diverse bunch of companies looking at emerging markets for innovation inspiration.

From the perspective of technology that we work with here at BNOTIONS, mobile applications and mobile innovation is definitely something we think about as far as emerging markets. KPCB released a report earlier this year showing that mobile traffic in India has effectively replaced desktop internet traffic, which furthers our hypothesis that the applications we are building in-house (and even for clients) will need to keep emerging market needs within the strategy. In fact, a current project (a social game) that we are building is something we intend to test in differing international markets as we keep an eye on the global mobile landscape. This is not to say that BNOTIONS is positioning within emerging markets or even that we build for clients in emerging markets, but rather that we believe the economic development and innovation in other markets is certainly something to take note of, as we move forward.

A little food for thought really, as the world keeps evolving and innovating, it seems silly to forget about the others.


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© Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved Jenna Hannon