Archive for the ‘B2B’ Category

Manchester B2B PR consultancy Metamorphic PR launches

Friday, February 1st, 2013 by Jon Clements

 

Jon Clements - Chartered PR practitioner

Metamorphic PR – a Manchester-based B2B, corporate and marketing communications consultancy has been launched.

In a rare interruption to PR Media Blog’s normal blogging business – and for that I appreciate your patient indulgence – I invite you to visit the brand spanking new website where you’ll find the story behind the launch of Metamorphic PR.

And, keep your eyes peeled from Monday for the first in a special launch series of five, daily blog posts, each tackling a relevant area of activity that could have a bearing on a business’ PR and communications activity.

The first one – going live on Monday morning – tackles the benefits of blogging.

And – just in case you were wondering – PR Media Blog won’t be going away…!

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Suitable skills for PR’s new world

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 by Sophie Mackintosh

Guest blogger, Sophie Mackintosh, explores how the range of jobs she did post-university provided unexpectedly useful skills for when she finally entered the world of agency public relations

My route into PR wasn’t simple. Like most graduates nowadays, I suffered through unpaid internships supplemented by working in a coffee shop, working freelance at night, and temping as a PA. While this was frustrating at the time, now that I’m in my dream job I’m realising that without these experiences I might not have been prepared for the PR world at all.

From what I’ve heard from wiser (older) colleagues and others in the industry, PR is changing enormously. Gone are the days when the main skill required was being able to blag your way through a press release for a technical product you didn’t fully understand, or write shining copy in fifteen minutes flat. Nowadays, in such a huge and rapidly-growing industry, the most valuable skills you can have are flexibility and confidence. With journalists being bombarded with pitches on all sides, making them believe that your client is the one they should be writing about is a daunting task.

The fairly recent addition of social media to the B2B PR landscape means that the traditional PR role now includes coming up with Facebook page content, blog posts, and maybe even infographics to share on Pinterest. It’s a strange mix of the sophisticated and casual; increasingly scientific theories and formulas about ROI and influence sit side by side with contacting journalists through Twitter because they won’t answer your emails. As a result, the industry is becoming more integrated as agencies realise they have to move with the times and come up with more innovative solutions for clients. For some that means incorporating SEO, for others it’s specialising in social media or offering production services. And that means that those working in the industry have to quickly adapt to follow these developments. A PR professional’s role no longer fits into one pigeonhole.

This is where my patchwork, post-graduation career comes in handy. While my English degree is enormously valuable to me – writing is still crucial to PR, especially given that we now find ourselves writing copy for a widening variety of mediums – the commercial world is very different to university. A degree alone wouldn’t have prepared me for the realities of PR, but dealing with stroppy customers and organising the schedules of high-flying bosses became a crash-course in the essential people skills that I eventually used as my PR launch pad. Doing all the jobs I did taught me tenacity, how to turn my hand to anything and, of course, how to take a deep breath and make very important phone calls without dissolving into jelly.

The PR industry is evolving in step with the media and getting increasingly complicated. As such there is no one specific skill that will carry you through – or one specific trajectory to get you where you want to be. But for me, and for a lot of graduates, this can be a bonus. Suddenly all the jobs I’d been doing made sense. They gave me writing and editing experience, flawless organisational skills, and the capacity to placate customers distressed by the foam on their wet lattes, all without breaking a sweat. Whoever thought those skills would come in just as useful – if not more so – than my first-class degree and array of marketing internships?

Sophie Mackintosh works at B2B PR firm TopLine Communications, and you can find her on Twitter on @sophmackintosh

A Manchester agency “biz dev” makeover

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 by Jon Clements

Finding and winning business is the ever-present elephant in the room for those working in the creative agency world. And it comes with no small amount of teeth-gnashing, as agency business development people try to get through closed doors and make an impressive first impression while prising open tightly-knotted purse strings.

But help is at hand, as Manchester creative agencies – PR, advertising and digital – were treated to a business development makeover with the help of The Art of New Business initiative last night.

Deftly delivered in two halves, the event split into client-side managers sharing their views on the good, bad and ugly of agency new business approaches, alongside agency-side practitioners showing what had the made the difference in growing their businesses.

On the client-side panel, we had:

And their advice to agencies about how to stand out from the crowd was direct and no-nonsense:

 

  1. Ask more questions!
  2. Tell us what you know about us.
  3. Give examples of  how you can help.
  4. Discover – find out what’s important to us.
  5. Learn about our business – make yourself credible
  6. Come with a relevant opinion about us – we’ll be more likely to listen.
  7. Network and build relationships that can last a lifetime.
  8. Target managers lower down the chain – get in on ground level.
  9. Ask your clients who they can refer you to.
  10. Don’t forget, clients are looking at the market too – what will they find out about you?


And when it came to the topic of agency credentials, Tony Spong grabbed the microphone with the frenzy of a man who would clearly opt for Chinese water torture rather than listen to another mind numbing creds presentation. Dispense with the predictable and focus, is his advice, on “what’s your story?”; be brave, be clear and come quickly to talking about what agency and client can do together.

From the agency side, Adrian Lomas of digital agency, Blueleaf, spoke of having a “clear map and compass” that guides your business and helps inform the right decisions. In Blueleaf’s case, its mantra is “What would the best digital agency in the world do right now?” Chris Marsh of Melbourne Server Hosting showed how building a family culture with staff – and a stimulating working environment – rubbed off onto client relationships, giving them complete peace of mind about the commitment of their supplier. The “creative entrepreneurs” approach taken by Simon Calderbank of Studio North is more about finding the right clients and rejecting the wrong clients than taking on business at any price and finding companies that can relate to the agency’s “DNA, values and aspirations”. Former McCann boss, Brian Child, put it simply: “You will lose every account”; hence the “obsession” anyone running an agency needs to have about new business development.

As Sarah Bradley from event organisers and new business consultancy, Acquire, said:  “With marketing your business, there is no magic bullet – you have to do everything!”

STOP PRESS: Digital Marketing consultant, Mark Kelly, has blogged even more great tips for business development from The Art of New Business event and a Manchester digital event.

 

Jon Clements is an independent Chartered PR consultant based in Manchester

 

 

JonClements

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Where do SEO and PR meet?

Friday, November 4th, 2011 by Jon Clements

SEO, according to marketers questioned for the above research, has the biggest impact on lead generation. But what does that SEO actually constitute and is it made up, either partly or mostly, of PR activity?

It’s not a question that’s ever answered in Webmarketing123’s State of Digital Marketing Report. More of that later. In the meantime, what else does the research tell us?

Clearly, the metrics of success are firmly focused on tangible returns: for marketers across B2B and B2C, it’s far more about generating leads and making sales than anything else. Taking the B2B marketer in particular, the lesser objectives include building brand awareness (15%), generating site traffic (11%) or building online communities (5%). Curiously, the latter is even less important for the B2C community (2.8%). What was once considered a desirable digital outcome, certainly of social media, seems to be have been relegated to an uncommercial own goal.

But when identifying what these marketers consider the most important measure for digital marketing – i.e. sales – our B2B and B2C cousins are surprisingly close (62% and 68% respectively). Bearing in mind the comparatively more protracted and complex journey for B2B buyers, it’s a revelation that those selling B2B are looking for such high sales conversions via digital alone.  While I can see it as a vital part of building reputation, understanding and consideration along the B2B procurement pathway, I’m sceptical about its ability to close the deal.

Which brings me back to SEO and impact.

Achieving a high, organic search engine ranking takes more than one technique – some delivered better by SEO specialists, others by professional generators of compelling and insightful textual content. Yes, I’m talking about PR people. But PR doesn’t get a mention in the report. Does that mean PR has become a subset of SEO and, if so, are SEO specialists qualified to advise clients about and generate material hitherto done by PR people?

The lines are blurred and, what seems increasingly apparent, is the need that SEO and PR people have to collaborate; after all, if gaining a high search engine ranking has the biggest impact on a client’s lead generation, the tools to do it are not necessarily the province of one discipline alone.

Update: since posting the above, I found this excellent post by Lance Concannon on the SEO/PR dilemma and how it needs to be worked out for everyone’s benefit.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Is SEO finally crowned king for marketers?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by Jon Clements

Where are online marketers spending their digital cash to maximum customer effect right now?

This interesting, US-focused infographic – just produced by Californian marketing company, Webmarketing123 – paints a picture of B2B and B2C online marketers’ current digital strategies.

Any surprises?

There’s a report that goes with it too; we’ll take a look and give you our view later.

 

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

What does Google’s +1 button mean for brands?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by Jenny Mason

 

Google has got social, with the release of a button to allow its new +1 function to be added to websites.

Since its launch in March, +1 has let those signed into their Google profile endorse search results and share their recommendations with their social networks. Now, users will be able to recommend content directly from websites with the +1 button.

Google is billing +1 as a tool to help it provide more relevant results to its users. From a consumer viewpoint, its benefits are clear – but what does its launch mean for brands?

With +1 playing a role in determining organic rankings and users only likely to +1 something they feel is worth recommending, its launch will serve as a reminder to companies of the importance of maintaining a regular stream of engaging and relevant content on their websites.

The +1 button will also be a welcome addition to the measurement toolbox, serving as an up-to-the-minute barometer of a brand’s online reputation.

The function is, of course, not without its limitations. A user’s public Google profile is not always synonymous with its true social network and, as stressed on Social Media B2B, this is particularly the case for companies trying to communicate with a B2B audience. For these brands, the launch of other sharing buttons – such as LinkedIn’s last November – may have been a more significant development.

With +1 seen as a direct competitor to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, it will be interesting to see which social networks users begin to favour when sharing content. +1 may offer a similar functionality to that of its rivals but, with its impact on search, it has the potential to be even more powerful.

About Jenny Mason

Jenny joined Staniforth in August 2007 and is now an Account Manager in the B2B team.

Online charging starts on local newspapers

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 by Mark Perry

A quiet revolution started this week in the small Yorkshire town of Whitby.

The Whitby Gazette became one of three newspapers from the Johnson Press stable to start charging for content. Readers of the Gazette as well as Northumberland Gazette and Southern Reporter now have to pay £5 for a three-month subscription – or 40p a week.

While it has been Rupert Murdoch and his News International titles that have caught the headlines about when they will charge for access, it is regional newspaper publisher Johnson that has taken the first bold step.

What is interesting is that this move covers local rather than the national and international content that Murdoch’s titles provides.

Johnson’s chief executive John Fry said that he felt that local newspapers offered a “unique” service for which readers may be prepared to pay.

According to HoldtheFrontpage it has seen an internal memo circulated by senior managers in one Johnson division that says “Customers are used to paying for content in-paper and we are simply transferring this thinking online.”

Is this all a bit of reverse psychology with the ultimate aim to drive people back to buying newspapers? Michael Woolf writing in Vanity Fair last month hinted that Murdoch’s aim in charging for content is to drive people back to buying newspapers. Certainly an interesting thought from a newspaperman through and through.

The issue of charging form content also surfaced at the recent Society of Editors’ conference where the editor of the Newquest title the Worcester News, Kevin Ward felt that local newspapers had: “more opportunity to charge for the web” than their national counterparts. He added:  “What we produce is niche. Nobody else sits in our courts every day. Nobody else scrutinises our public bodies.

One thing that is for sure is that newspaper groups will be watching the latest move from Johnson Press with interest.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Cut the BullTwit

Friday, June 19th, 2009 by Phil Jones

What Are the Business Benefits?

…asks Phil Jones, Sales and Marketing Director of technology brand Brother, in the second of two guest posts on PR Media Blog.

twitter-laptop.png

Here’s the $100 million question.  I’ve put the key stuff down as bullet-points so you can work through it quickly:

For your business

1. Transparency. It’s a great way to build authenticity for your brand. Do you have brand values that you want to shine through? Then build a personality on Twitter. But don’t do it if you’ve nothing interesting to say. If you’re a small business, build trust with potential purchasers of your product and look for people in your locality using the search tool.

2. Traffic with no jams. It’s a great way to build traffic to your official website or blog. A well worded Tweet can entice people to click through to your website as part of your overall traffic-building strategy. But don’t cheat people or bend the truth or they won’t click on your link again; make it interesting. My blog traffic increased threefold after I started Twittering and readership has expanded to more than 20 countries, so it works.

3. Treasure and measure. Give something unique to your followers. Many of the well known global brands are already offering unique offers or pre-launches to their Twitter followers. This gives incredible ROI measurement when using unique codes.

4. Join the conversation. It’s a great way to understand what others are saying about your product or brand, and for people to share positive experiences with others. Buyer remorse is rife; the more support and reinforcement available, the better.

5. Shareware. I’m making this point twice (see below). The whole point of these platforms is to acquire and spread knowledge; if you build your brand/company reputation through a loyal following of people, they will help you spread your word.

For you in business

1. Grow up. You can increase your own personal learning and growth. There are some awesome and really clever people on Twitter who share their daily insights. Some of their Tweets are really thought-provoking. It’s free mind food.

2. Stay in touch.You can keep up with your key customers and contacts. A great reason to interrupt someone with something totally personalised: “I saw that you were… how interesting. Did you know?” You can see where people are and what they’re up to. Could you both be in the same place at the same time for an impromptu get together (called a Tweetup)?

3. I’m free. I’ve seen some really good consultants offer “free consulting” in their downtime between meetings. You can take advantage of this or give tasters of your goods or services to others. This is brilliant for smaller businesses – free advice.

4. Feed me. Ask questions of your followers to get instant feedback. Got a problem? You only need ask; people will give advice. Want to see some early feedback on a new product or service? Ask and people will reply. The community is building.

5. Shareware. The more you give, the more you will receive and the more your personal reputation will grow.

Phil Jones is Vice-President of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Sales & Marketing Director of technology brand Brother.  He writes a daily blog at http://thecorporatebubble.blogspot.com/ and can be found on Twitter @Philjones40. 

Will Twitter Do the Business?

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by Phil Jones

The first of two guest posts from Phil Jones, Sales and Marketing Director of technology brand Brother.

phil-jones-twitter.png

It’s super, it’s shiny and the “twalk” of the town.  So, is Twitter just another social networking tool being hyped up by the media luvvies as a way to earn fee income in a flat market?  Or is this a new tool that business should be paying proper attention to?  If we’re to believe it, untold riches, overwhelming customer demand and speaking engagements are only 140 characters away, so should we drop everything and rush at Twitter as our economic saviour?

Show me the money….

If that’s your basic expectation – time in = money out – may I nudge you to read Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae or The Soul of the New Consumer by David Lewis to understand where the world is at now in terms of buyer behaviour.  It’s not about the traditional business model of instant cash, it’s about engaging in the big conversation that’s going on out there amongst your customers, then using that conversation or credibility to draw people towards your business.

Fad or Twend?

Interestingly many businesspeople I meet are simply put off by the name Twitter, arguing that it sounds silly and unserious.  The issue isn’t necessarily about Twitter; Twitter is merely the platform that allows people to “connect” up, discuss, make new contacts, share instantaneously, join tribes and interest groups, learn and push forward their contact base, in a very dynamic way.  This is a macro trend, not a fad.  The fad might be Twitter as the micro-blogging platform, in the same way that myspace was overshadowed by Facebook.  Someone else might come up with something new.  What about a business-only version called Bitter (laughs out loud)?  Google won’t  stand by for long; they’ll either acquire Twitter or do it themselves, and Twitter will dissolve into the background as the pioneer who didn’t keep up.

How does business get a “Twicket” to the party?

To the uninitiated, it can seem like there’s a big party going on that you haven’t been invited to.  However, before you rush to put your party outfit on, stop and think a minute.  Is this a party you need to be at?  Is it one you’re going to enjoy?  Are you going to go and leave early?  Are the people there your kind of people?  Are you going to turn up and then not talk to anyone?  If so, might be best not to go.  Right now, I’ve held off from a brand perspective but went with it from a personal perspective to learn it inside out.  Now I have, expect something soon.

The thing is, it is worth going if you fully understand that the world is changing as people continue to divide and divide again into interest groups, seeking like minds in an increasingly hostile and lonely society.  Web 2.0 genuinely has changed the world as we know it.  The big conversation is going on all around us in the ether, like a scene from The Matrix.  Twitter offers a way of tapping into that dynamic conversation in real time.

I would advise any business to register, create a profile and start listening.  In the early days, you don’t need to do so much talking.  After signing up, do this:

  • Type the names of people you know (customers, contacts or staff) into the “Find people” search function at the top of the screen. When you find someone you know, follow them.
  • Type your company name into the search box and see if any conversations are being had about your company or brand. Do the same for your competitors.
  • Sit back and watch it for a couple of weeks before you jump in and start Tweeting yourself. See the tone, the style, the content of what people say in your “Twittersphere”.  Authenticity is everything; people won’t want to interact with a marketing machine or automated service.

Phil Jones is Vice-President of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Sales & Marketing Director of technology brand Brother.  He writes a daily blog at http://thecorporatebubble.blogspot.com/ and can be found on Twitter @Philjones40.The second post on this subject will appear on PR Media Blog tomorrow, Friday 19th June. 

Lawyer Uses Blogosphere To Start A Debate On The Prospects For Tech Start-Ups

Monday, February 16th, 2009 by Mark Hanson

 

A bit of indulgence from me here. One of my clients is a corporate lawyer, advising the tech community, both investors and companies looking for funding. His name is Richard Eaton and he works for Orrick.

He’s started a discussion on the Long Room, the FT’s discussion forum for City-types, re the prospects for tech companies seeking investment to start-up or continue in 2009.

The Long Room is a closed forum i.e. you have to be a member to contribute, so I thought I’d post here to offer an open forum for the new media community to view and/or comment.

RIP Good Times – VC is dead, long live VC

It seems that Sequoia’s words of warning last autumn are staring to be echoed over here:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b6426bf0-f87d-11dd-aae8-000077b07658.html

But does it matter if some of the less successful companies go to the wall now?  We keep being told that failed companies are a badge of honour for entrepreneurs, so now is the time for many to earn their merit badges.  The technology, if it is good, and, crucially, if it is capable of making a profit, will not die, but lots of it will be recycled.  The entrepreneurs will start again. 

The fact is that there are three key elements to the success of any growth company: the technology, the management and the market – what is the point in having technology so bleeding edge cool that is incapable of making money, or is backed by management that would not have looked out of place running a bank?  But companies with good technology, that have good management that is capable of adapting to a changing world will survive: Google was born out of the dot.com crash.  Ten years later it is a mature company.  In this country, Autonomy continues to be one  of the most attractive stocks in the FTSE100, because it has the basics in spades. 

What does this mean for VC funding?  Well without doubt, the market for funding is extremely poor.  Poorer than any of us can remember.  Expect to see VCs pull in their horns, drip feed money to their best companies, merge their ok companies and cut loose the rest.  Yes there will be new funding, but on terms, and at the rates, that hark back to 2002.  In ten years time, the best run companies with the best money making technology will be bigger and stronger.  Will £1bn of government money help?  To secure people’s jobs, it might do.  To build great technology companies, I wouldn’t bet on it.