By Bob Gold, Founder, President & CEO, Bob Gold & Associates
In today’s data-driven tech world, it appears the priority is all about the speed of innovation and how we move data safely, effectively, efficiently and securely. But if no one knows about your solution, how will they purchase and use it?
For those of you who wish to grow in this broad-based IT market, and can strategically plan, there is simply no more cost- effective investment than PR to help establish an organization and its innovations in the very noisy marketplace in which we all compete.
In such a world of amazing tech innovation, if we don’t control the story of what we do and what we make, the story will control us. Think about the FAKE NEWS ripping through our social media every day.
Today we communicate in a virtual three-dimensional level of game-like complexity — we do more and more on mobile, while managing larger and larger databases of friends and associates on multiple platforms, while multitasking in simultaneous discussions. In other words, it’s noisy out there! Worse still, we usually can’t remember the source of information we share.
How noisy is it, you may ask?
By some counts, the number of marketing technology solutions has doubled since 2015 and will soon surpass 4,000.
Today’s executives are overwhelmed by the amount of technology choices and confused by vendor claims that their platform can do it all. Before investing in more technology, they want to optimize what they already own.
This brings us back to the role of PR in technology. Technology can’t speak for itself. If we want folks to adapt and use our innovations, they must be educated about the benefits they bring.
The process of storytelling requires a specialized PR discipline to break beyond the noise buzzing with clichés: “We have an end-to-end solution” (isn’t that what you get when you mix salt with water and stir?); “We are Best-of-Class” (which rarely comes with a degree or grade point average); or one of my favorites–the promise to be able to monetize technology investments.
Security – Everybody is hacking everyone else – if it can be made, it can be broken. How can you tell the market, with specificity, that your security system addresses this issue?
Lack of Policies – Exploding quantities of data zapped into hidden clouds, without access and use policies means we have a big problem. Big Data and real-time analytics are super sexy in 2017, (thanks Alexa!) and for an on-demand world where all content is supposed to be available anytime, this will be big! How will you take advantage of this building trend?
Content Protection – This takes us to a world where everything is on-demand and connected. How will “autonomous everything” work? In a world facing more confusion than certainty, there is an “opportunity ahead” street sign in your path to address this overwhelming and often confusing situation.
So following are some key dos, don’ts and cautions. Caveat emptor – reader beware! There is no one-size-fits-all for every situation, but there are some general rules of thumb that when followed will generate success:
1) START WITH A CLEAR MESSAGE: PR is all about your core message, positioned as a story with a beginning, middle and end – that’s just good construction. Good storytelling starts with a clear message.
2) DO SAY WHAT ELSE MAKES YOUR COMPANY DIFFERENT Can you answer these questions about your company and about your product?
What are the three core messages about your company?
- You might think about your founders and executive leadership
- Are you the most complete (Gulp! I’m gonna say it) solution? Serving which market areas?
- What problems do you solve for today? Are you visionary and future proof?
3) DO VALIDATE YOUR STORY WITH NUMBERS: What are the most profound messages about your product/service?
Can you describe your product more succinctly than, “it’s non-disruptive to install?” State your big customer benefit-for example is it 50% better than anything else on the market? Does it consume 50% less bandwidth?
Or think about describing your product validated by numbers and in measurable scope.
This brings us back to PR. All connections start with sharing good stories. Breaking through isn’t as simple as sending an email to a reporter, calling a friend or telling one colleague who has 2,000 followers on Twitter. It takes diligence and the ability to find new ways to tell your story over and over again.
The case for storytelling has never been more powerful. Your space has never been more competitive and the noise about other companies’ tech options is deafening.
PR is the secret sauce that re-interprets the science in human and business benefits that can drive change. Sure, one-on-one word of mouth is powerful, but for businesses, nothing beats engaging, resonant, pervasive, quotable stories, as presented by your experienced PR professional. And PR will beat any other investment as the most cost effective tool in your sales and marketing arsenal.