SOPHIA: Today on Flip the Switch. Amazon is using wrist-bands that zap employees to provoke efficiency. And Yelp is using an offline tactic to have better insight into their online business. Dropbox is issuing a lot of equity to their executives, which reminds us of our good friends over at Snapchat.
Our main discussion is with PR expert Amanda Windsor. She explains to us the ins and outs of trade-shows and how they can help businesses grow online. Let’s get into it.
01:00 AUSTIN: Welcome to Flip the Switch presented by Power Digital Marketing. This is episode number 26 and Patrick, you know what I’m thinking?
01:05 PATRICK: What are you thinking, Austin?
01:07 AUSTIN: It’s time to make some podcast magic.
01:09 PATRICK: Oh my God. I knew you were going to say something lame. But we do have a good show for you guys nonetheless. WE have some good business news and trends to go through. Lots happening in the digital space. We want to kind of touch on some of that.
And also we are bringing in a PR expert to talk about the power of trade shows and conferences and how that can support your internet marketing strategy. We know there’s a lot that are coming up. Over the course of the next few weeks. And so we want to jump into that and kind of communicate some best practices to you guys. So really excited about that.
But first, let’s jump into some business news and trends.
01:41 AUSTIN: All righty. Thank you very much, Patrick. So first up today we’re talking about Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.
01:45 PATRICK: Surprise, surprise.
01:46 AUSTIN: Of course we are. Yup. And he’s unveiling yet another new product. This one’s a little creepy. Labor tracking wrist-bands. So what they’re going to be doing is putting these on all their labor intensive employees. People that work in the warehouses and start tracking their movements.
I guess the point of this is to cut down on time their spending looking for the wrong product or maybe not doing something they’re supposed to do.
So apparently they’re selling this as, “we’re going to make your lives better at work, because we’re going to direct you in the correct way.” But all I see is a control mechanism.
02:15 PATRICK: Yeah, exactly. When I read this, I got a little bit of a “Black Mirror” vibe. It’s kind of like, at what point is technology going to keep taking over day-to-day aspects of the workplace?
02:22 AUSTIN: Isn’t this an episode in “Black Mirror” the TV show?
02:23 PAT: I think it might actually be. It’s kind of dark for me, so I don’t watch a ton of it.
02:29 AUSTIN: Yeah, we’d have to ask Joseph.
02:30 PAT: So here’s some of the specifics around exactly what we’re doing. So with Amazon, they received patents for an ultra-sonic bracelet that tracks worker’s movements. They pitched it originally as a labor saving service, like you mentioned… And this is all on Bloomberg for those of you that want to look it up after the show. But really the long and short of it is that they get haptic feedback. A little buzz on their wrist. A vibration as they reach for the correct bins. Which reduced unnecessary motion.
So essentially what it’s doing is conditioning their workers to do the correct movements and the most efficient movements non-verbally.
03:04 AUSTIN: This is a mild shock collar, right?
03:06 PAT: Exactly. It’s a mild shock collar for employees.
03:07 AUSTIN: Imagine your dog. You shock your dog, because you don’t want them to go in the street. This is what this is.
I really feel like it…
03:13 PAT: It’s the exact same principle. And, you know, the article is interesting because it ties it back to the whole methodology of scientific management started by Frederick Winslow Taylor. This was like, way back when. But it’s essentially the idea of being able to micro-manage your employees to efficiency. And this takes the manager out of the equation. So instead of a consultant, or some kind of higher up looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do and what not to do, it trains you to make those decisions and understand that for yourself.
03:42 AUSTIN: And his predecessor William Sellers was an engineer who believed that workers and machines can be no different. So he thought that they could interact with one another in an environment where they’re making the same movements and motions and nothing’s out of sync.
03:57 PAT: Yeah, which is a little bit of a Machiavellian way to look at labor and work in general, isn’t it?
04:01 AUSTIN: Right. You’re stripping all of the emotion out of the human being to make sure that they’re acting efficiently. Which as humans, I find that just plain wrong. I know, from an employee standpoint, I don’t want my employer to think of me as a machine. I want them to think of me as a human.
But also from the efficiency standpoint, I get what Amazon is doing because they’re all about their bottom-line and cutting down on margins. So anytime they can spend their employees not going in the right way means that they’re being more profitable as a business.
So I also think from an employee standpoint, this might help just in terms of medical benefits. So long-term.
If you’re staying in labor intensive work job for maybe 5, 10, 15 years–those numbers are really going to add up and take a toll on your body.
04:42 PAT: Right. It’s the ergonomics of it. It’s training you to make not only the most efficient movements within the warehouse–like shelve stocking that you’re doing. But it’s also teaching you the most ergonomically correct movements. So it’s teaching the way to pair both.
Which actually comes back to the first point you made. People, if they get hurt at work not only are potentially going to open you up to liability. But they’re going to be less able to keep that level of consistency in their job. They may have to take time off more often. They may have inefficiencies in their day-to-day as a result of, let’s say, your shoulder hurts. And your entire job is stocking shelves. It’s going to add up–it’s going to compound. Like you were saying.
So this is also a move that’s directed at that. So they can position it however they want. But all I’m seeing is a company that’s trying to protect their bottom-line.
05:25 AUSTIN: Absolutely. This is a liability play, I think, at the end of the day for these guys. And they can sell it as efficiency but trying to crack down on labor issues seems to also be in this. Jeff Bezos at it again. What else can we say?
05:36 PAT: Yeah, exactly. And the last point that I would make too–I just found it very interesting that this is an approach that a company like Amazon would take. So I understand the efficiency side of it. That’s what Amazon prides itself on. It has good margins, but it’s also super-efficient. It’s got the 1-click for your online. It’s got the 1 day shipping.
And to be able to fulfill those orders at the rate that they have them coming in, you need to be able to have an efficient workforce. That’s helping to supply that demand.
But really, it’s just interesting because it’s a progressive company. You hear about how they’re changing the way of the world in terms of changing the retail landscape. They’re changing the consumer landscape. They’re acquiring people in new and more creative ways.
But then they go back to this principle of scientific management in a way that was brought up in the 1880s and are basically adjusting it to account for modern technology to make it happen.
So I thought that that was a really interesting point. I don’t know. What did you think about all that?
06:29 AUSTIN: Well, I think a lot of this ties into what they’re trying to do in the medical field. So I know that they’re working with other tech giants to come up with some sort of health care system privatized for their employees as well. And I think a lot of this data will really help them make a decision on what type of plans they can put together for their employees.
06:46 PAT: That’s a good point.
06:47 AUSTIN: If they can understand where people are either getting injured…
06:50 PAT: What the literal pain-points are.
06:51 AUSTIN: Right. Literal… Thank you. That’s a great one. And I think that they can really craft a privatized plan that will be very functional and efficient for not only their business but what their employees need.
07:02 PAT: Interested to see the public feedback from this becoming well-known.
Because we also live in a day and age where you can be held accountable in ways that you weren’t by consumers before because of social media and the internet. I don’t think this is going to bode well for their reputation necessarily. But at the end of the day, if they’re protecting their bottom-line as a publicly traded company that is their fiduciary job. They need to do that.
I understand why they’re doing it. I just think that they’re going about it in a questionable way.
07:27 AUSTIN: Yup. Good stuff, Patrick.
All right, let’s transition onto another tech company here. We’re talking about Yelp. They are doing something that’s very interesting.
They’re using offline attribution to tie back into if their ads are performing well. And the way that they are doing this is using the Wi-Fi in the businesses that either they own or that are advertising through Yelp.
07:49 PAT: Yeah, exactly. So early 2017, Yelp bought a company that’s called Turnstile Analytics. They provide free Wi-Fi and email marketing services to local businesses. That’s where Yelp comes in. They help to promote and advertise for local businesses.
So when Yelp acquired them, they were renamed Yelp Wi-Fi, and they recently completed an offline attribution test with a Canadian restaurant chain. And basically what the point of it was was to measure the impact of Yelp ad exposures to offline restaurant visits.
And this is pretty monumental in terms of the world of attribution. This is something that people are always looking to get a closer pulse on in the digital world.
Because let’s say you’re also… So, as an advertiser you have a few things that you could be targeting. You could be doing lead generation–that’s through a website. You can doing purchases directly through the website. Or you can also try to push people to retail stores if say a company distributes primarily through those retail locations.
And for a long, long time, one of the biggest pain-points for those companies and their advertising is that some of the data gets muddied because you can’t attribute one-to-one somebody saw an ad versus whether that impacted their in-store sale.
08:57 AUSTIN: Right. And let’s back this up and think about it. Just straight off the bat, what is online marketing? And what is the purpose of online marketing?
So, a lot of the times, we’re hired as an agency–most of the time, I would say–to sell products online. E-commerce, as that’s called. They want us to promote their product online throughout the internet so that people will go to their website and buy product online.
What Yelp is doing–what their using Turnstile for–is to prove that people are buying stuff off-line after they’ve seen on online ad. And that in itself is very interesting, because you think, “Well, how can the internet tell me if I tangibly go to a location and buy something?”
Well, this is where the internet comes into play with Wi-Fi. And this is what Turnstile is doing is through their Wi-Fi networks, through the general location–the geographical location of where the Wi-Fi is–they can tell if you saw an ad online, and then went and purchased something at their store.
09:46 PAT: Where there is the Wi-Fi, it connects those dots. And I think that’s the reason why it’s so noteworthy. Take a company like Yelp, I feel like while there’s always been applications for it, it’s super-underutilized because of the fact that you don’t have that track ability. You don’t have that attribution. you can run ads on Yelp all day long, and for a long time, you would only be able to see if they bought something through… let’s say that company that you’re advertising for also has an e-store or something like that.
I mean, this could be monumental just in the way that people decide to allocate their ad dollars.
A lot of people are doing it on Google. Google has rolled out several Betas for different types of attribution modeling. Like using beacons in retail stores that can detect whether or not that person has seen an ad. That helps tie it back.
But there’s a lot of complications with it. Some of the big retailers aren’t going to necessarily be cool with a manufacturer putting a beacon in the middle of their store. And it’s invasive to the user experience in-store.
But this does that without the invasive nature of it. And I think that was a big hang-up. And something that Yelp obviously fixed.
So I think next steps for them, and if things continue to trend the way that we have seen with tech in general. They’re going to start rolling this out and maybe make a proprietary technology out of it that they can license to other companies.
10:58 AUSTIN: And I think the big thing here is they’re helping a lot of small businesses and not just Yelp. So if they can factor in a way where they can sell this as part of their package for small businesses to invest in Yelp advertising. That could really bode well for them really. Driving a lot of revenue. A new revenue stream if you will due to their offline attribution.
So I think that might be the end-game here. Is to work this into a way where… of course, Yelp is using this to gather data and to test it. But how can we roll this out into a product offering that really generates a lot of revenue for us. And another selling point for small businesses to invest with us.
11:31 PAT: That’s what I was going to say too. This is a money game at the end of the day. They want to be able to take credit for sales that they’re helping push in anticipation that advertisers will allocate more of their efforts to their ad network and their ad platform. So that’s direct revenue there.
And then on top of that, there’s the opportunity down the line to potentially license out this technology to companies that want to use it more. And help them integrate it with their processes and then you can collect a monthly, recurring licensing fee for that. So I think it’s a great play by Yelp, and really long time coming.
12:00 AUSTIN: Passive income.
12:01 PAT: Passive income. Awesome.
The last thing that we’re going to drop into here is Dropbox. You like that?
So news came out over the course of the last week… this came out on February 23rd on Bloomberg. Dropbox gave 3 of its executive 190 million dollars in pre-stock options before their IPO. This is a trend that we see across the board with some of these tech giants. You see the people at the very tippy-top taking a huge chunks of change. We saw this with Snapchat. Evan Speigel took 636 million pre-IPO dollars. That’s… this kind of opens up that discussion around how ethical that is.
12:45 AUSTIN: Right. Ethical definitely and we need to look at this historically. So just like a lot of businesses that go public, this has happened before. So the idea that your executives will receive a vested interest in the company via equity is not a new idea. It really drives them and gives them an incentive to do well for the business. They can only execute that stock that they’re allocated if 1) a share prices hit. So these are the incentives that I believe these Dropbox executives have. So they need to hit a new share price. Which means they need to do well for the business.
And 2) if they’re there for a certain amount of time. So 5, 10, 15 years. Whatever that number is. They need to have tenure in the company, right? So it gives a company the ability to give incentive to their executives to drive the business in the correct way. Because that’s why executives are there for. They’re strategizing and driving the entire business.
So from that standpoint, that’s okay. But what we need to think about now is how large is this? So they’re taking a lot of that initial capital that they’re getting from investors like you and me, maybe. Who are excited about Snapchat or Dropbox and want it to do well. They’re taking the money that we thought was going toward business development and putting it in their own pocket.
13:55 PAT: Yeah, exactly. And so that’s kind of why I wanted to bring this up today too. The question becomes how much should that disparity be? Because I totally agree that the top-level executives at some of these companies… especially really innovative tech and software companies. Like a Dropbox or like a Snapchat. I totally agree with the fact that they should be able to line their pockets a little bit because of the fact that they put in so much time, effort and that they already have so much skin in the game.
My issue with this becomes… you know, when you take a look at the people that are getting these stock options. They already have based salaries around the $400,000 mark. They already have cash bonuses that typically target around $260,000 a year. It’s not that these guys aren’t being paid yet. They already have a vested interest in the company because it provides them that level of stability.
So on top of that? To pile on a few hundred million dollars… or 190 million dollars in this case, of extra cash, I don’t think is probably the best look for them. And you have to understand too, when you become an IPO–when you’re a publicly traded company–that is public information. And you have to understand how that’s going to damage potentially the perception by the public and shareholders. But also of your own internal team.
And that is the bigger concern. The infrastructure that helped them get to that valuation, needs to feel supported and empowered. And if you see something like this comes out, I as an employee might think to myself, “What is that? How is that fair?”
15:19 AUSTIN: And to put this into perspective–they just filed for their IPO just this past week. So what that means is that in about a year, it’ll be public. They can now be traded on the NASDAQ. So they’re a year away from investors actually being able to put money into the company.
Which means the first piece of news that we heard about their IPO is negative. It’s about the executives keeping a large amount of money for themselves. That does not make me want to invest in them, and it’s already… I can’t do it yet. So I’m gonna automatically be turned off. I may forget about it. I may think, “Dropbox–I don’t like the direction. Because of the strategy of the executive.”
So not a great PR move right off the bat, and could really predict maybe a lower price-point for their initial public offering when they do open next year.
16:06 PAT: See, I agree with that to an extent. I think that it is going to cause some shareholder concern or potential shareholder/investor concern. But I think that the fact that it’s valued so high is really it’s saving grace here.
It was valued at 10 billion dollars in its 2014 funding round. It could be one of the biggest US corporate software companies to list domestically in any of the last 5 to 6 years.
I think that there’s that level of it too. People are going to understand that it is a valuable company despite the happenings that are going on with upper-level management. The interest will still be there.
But I think that the bigger concern for them should be the employee infrastructure and the general dynamic and culture of the company. Because like we talked about, some of this should be based on tenure. And I agree with that. If you’ve been there since the beginning and you’ve helped grow the company and scale it to what it is in a substantial way, you should be compensated accordingly.
Looking at this, though–Meg Whitman–former CEO of HP or Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Company I think is the holding company. She joined their board in September of last year, and still received stock worth 908 thousand dollars.
17:08 AUSTIN: Yeah, that’s a deal breaker right there.
17:09 PAT: Exactly. So that’s something that as an employee I would care about. And the only reason we bring this up is not to bash these companies for corporate greed or things like that. I’m all for lining your pockets if you deserve it. But you have to account for the fact that, like we were talking about before, people can hold you accountable in ways that they couldn’t before.
17:27 ASUTNI: And let’s think about this too. This kind of reminds me of… in 2008-2009 we did go through an economic crash. And some may forget, but others may not. But what we did see during that time frame was a lot of information came out about executives lining their pockets with capital. And I think for a lot of people that are investors, that maybe a sort of scar or a remembrance factor that what happened in 2009–executives lining their pockets–you may remember that when you think of Dropbox keeping that money for themselves.
18:00 PAT: Bad feelings.
18:01 AISTIN: So I think there’s a bit of correlation. Of course, I can’t prove this through data. But just as a theory, you don’t want to be associated with something that was so detrimental to the US public.
18:08 PAT: Yeah. I totally agree. I mean, there’s that side of it. And again, there’s just that initial knowledge and that initial happening came out during that time frame. So people have been hyper-sensitive to that ever since. And openly questioning the fact that employees make so much substantially less than their executives. That’s what prompted a lot of the minimum wage discussions. The salary bottom floor discussions for different verticals.
So it all kind of ties together. It’s not necessarily a bad move by Dropbox yet, but I’m going to be really interested to see how it affects not only potential shareholder interests, but the employee infrastructure and culture of the company as well.
18:46 ASTIN: All righty. So main discussion today. We have a very special guest that’s going to be talking with us about trade shows and conferences that are coming up. We want to discuss a little bit about how those can play into an internet marketing strategy and what that can do for a brand.
So with us today is PR and outreach manager here at Power Digital, Amanda Windsor. Thanks for being on the show.
19:05 AMANDA: Hey guys, thanks for having me.
19:07 PAT: Jumping right into things a little bit, I know that trade shows and PR go hand-in-hand. I know that brands have reached out to us on multiple occasions to have representation at different events. We actually had a CPG company–they do kids toys–that we both work on the account for. And Amanda actually joined them out at New York Toy Fair as somebody that was helping coordinate different meetings with potential influencers. And things like that.
Really my biggest question and where I want to jump off from is what value does that kind of trade show representation bring to a brand? And why is it important to have somebody that has the experience there to run it for them?
19:46 AMANDA: Yeah, so super-good question. I think like with all things it depends on your client’s goals. And also the industry that they operate within.
So, for example, with New York Toy Fair and that one being a bit more buyer and seller and kind of acquiring customers-centric.
20:02 PAT: Right, like trying to meet with potential buyers for retailers, and things like that?
20:06 AMANDA: Yeah, exactly. So it was really crucial for the brand to have a PR presence there, to solidify to these potential buyers that their brand is on the cutting edge and that basically they’re creating products that are going to fly off the shelves.
20:21 AUSTIN: And are all the top brands doing this, or would you say that the competition’s pretty fierce there? Or what’s the outlook look like on the floor?
20:27 AMANDA”: Yeah. So for Toy Fair, it was very competitive. And all the big brands had a presence. I think it was definitely a missed opportunity for those that didn’t have a presence. And it’s something that I honestly can’t stress enough… I know a lot of people think it’s a super-traditional tactic. And it is cause you’re essentially boots on the ground, but there’s a lot to be said for still making those face-to-face connections not only with the press, but also with potential customers. Both from the PR side of things, but also how it benefits the entire digital marketing eco-system as well.
20:58 PAT: Okay, so let’s elaborate on that a little bit. Because I know that before we started doing a little bit more media relations and PR-centric strategies, I had always kind of thought that digital was in this sphere over here, PR is in this one over here. And the 2 can kind of be friendly, but not mingle too much.
And you’re kind of telling me that that’s not the case. What benefit on the digital side does PR/media relations–especially with trade shows and conferences–have?
21:26 AMANDA: Yeah. Awesome. This is one of my favorite questions because I think as a whole this is one of the biggest misconceptions with PR.
The point proven typically you have a PR agency and then you’ll have a totally separate digital marketing agency. That’s why Power Digital I think is so unique and so ahead of the curve in the sense that we have it all together.
PR if properly executed essentially serves as kind of the 6th man to all other marketing channels. So it benefits your SEO initiative. It helps to boost your content marketing strategies and initiatives. It helps to supply unique content for your paid social strategy. Your social community. So you don’t have potentially fatigue on the content that you have.
PPC with unique review extensions. It… as you can tell…
22:13 AUSTIN: Goes on and on…
22:15 PAT: Absolutely. There’s a lot of applications there.
22:16 AUSTIN: Just to drive into that a little bit for… I can specifically to SEO and what that does. So a lot of the stuff that you see coming through your website would be branded search campaigns. So that’ll be directly landing on your homepage. And you’ll see a lot of traffic uptick when you have offline public relations go very well. So something like this can be huge for your traffic to the homepage. And really helping people to understand your brand, look up your brand to want to know more about your brand. And then landing on your website.
So a lot of that too… social channels as well. Thais may not be as well known, but social signals are a part of SEO rankings as well. So if you can facilitate traffic going to social channels…drumming up conversation about your brand on social channels. Whether this be a PR trade-show or just customers interacting with the brand. That can have a really big effect on the type of traffic you’re getting and the type of rankings you’re getting.
So these tangible aspects–these trade-shows–are extremely important for getting real people, real users, on the internet looking up your brand.
23:15 AMANDA: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think too from PR you have to… kind of your entire digital marketing focus… it can’t just be… you can’t just be doing paid ads. And expecting that to drive your entire strategy. You can’t just be doing SEO. It’s kind of all this together. That ecosystem working together is what makes the dream work there.
And so PR being that brand introduction–it’s a critical first touch point along the customer’s journey. And so without that you have a harder time driving some of the prospects or cold traffic and driving them into warm and then hot to finally convert with you.
So it’s just a great way to keep the funnel super-full. And really relevant as well.
23:53 PAT: Yeah, that’s an interesting point that you bring up there. So something that we always have to brainstorm around on the advertising side is how we can best introduce qualified traffic to the website and the brand. And a lot of times you have to spend a good amount of money to do that. Knowing full-well that you’re not going to see a return on it. Because it’s the first touchpoint. You’re educating people about the brand. You’re trying to get the right people to the website that can then populate say retargeting pools and then eventually dynamic product ads to go to a purchase.
But what we have seen already, and kind of the trend that I’m hearing is that PR can take the place of some of that. If executed on properly.
I kind of want to dive into that though. What does proper trade-show strategy look like? Especially cause I talked to you a lot about New York Toy Fair, and there was a lot of planning that went into it. A lot of prep work. And really a lot that I think the client wouldn’t have been able to necessarily handle on their own. So it’s beneficial that we had you there as the expert.
So I kind of want to impart some wisdom on our listeners and say, “Here’s a few things that if you have a PR representative with you at a trade show, here’s the prep that you need to make sure that they’re doing ahead of time to set themselves up for success.
25:04 AMANDA: Yeah, I think I’ll probably break that down into a pre-, during, and post- kind of strategy.
Pre-, ideally you need to get out ahead of things, so I would say at least 2 months or a month and a half before you need to be having these conversations with your… the client that you’re working with. And start to drill down on what their focus for the trade-show is going to be. So what are they…? What are their product initiatives? Are they going to have any announcements? Essentially trying to identify what their newsworthy initiatives are.
25:32 PAT: Yeah, and trying to figure out too… do you correlate that at all with what they’re trying to get out of it?
25:36 AMANDA: Exactly.
25:38 PAT: And do you help them nail that down, typically? Or is that something that they come to you with?
25:40 AMANDA: A bit of both. Oftentimes to… so for example, I was also at CES earlier in the year. Which different space from Toy Fair. Super consumer-centric in the tech space. But obviously that show–there’s a lot of noise around that. So we helped a lot with the booth ideation and how essentially we can stand out from that noise. To attract our target consumer and customer. And also get the press attention that we were looking for.
26:02 AUSTIN: And who’s the type of people you’re talking to at these trade-shows? Who’s typically coming up to your booth?
26:07 AMANDA: Again, that’s dependent on the show. With CES being the consumer electronic show. At Toy Fair that was only open to industry professionals and the media. So it changes… it’s a case by case basis. But that also tailors as well what your goals are and what your objectives are that you’ve set with the client.
26:28 PAT: Okay, and we kind of started to leak a little bit into the during phase bit. So is there any more prep work ahead of time that needs to take place?
26:34 AMANDA: Yeah, so once you drill down on what those newsworthy initiatives are and essentially what the goals are for the business, then you figure out how your PR can support that. So essentially you will then work on your press releases to support that. The press releases should be issued about 2 weeks to a week and a half prior to the actual show date.
You need to request the attending media. Start getting those pitches out to the media to secure booth appointments–essentially where you get people to come by to learn more about your products, you’re offering….
27:05 PAT: Have you found any detriment to sending out those press kits too far ahead of time? Do you need that recency effect?
27:10 AMANDA: It’s a bit of both. So that’s where the 2 week to week and a half timeframe is typically idea. Because you can typically secure some pre-show write ups just based of the news of maybe you’re a company that’s rolling out an entirely new functionality. Say you’re B to B and now you’re customers will able to have a whole new functionality at their fingertips.
It could be… example is a toy company launching an entire new line to your toy brand. Just depends on what it is. But they’ll write up based off of what the press release says, but then they’ll still come by and have an appointment to see it for themselves. Have a demo hands on, in-person. And then they’ll write up again, post-. So you basically kind of get 2 birds, 1 stone.
27:48 AUSTIN: And thinking a lot about the media side of this and the relationship aspect. Do you typically have the relationships with the media before you go to these shows? Are you cold emailing or cold reaching out? Or how does it work to make sure that you’re facilitating the press releases and they’re being seen.
28:02 AMANDA: Yes, it’s a bit of both. And actually with the press releases… press releases are kind of an interesting topic. They’re a bit of a formality. It’s good though to have that a matter of record if someone is just quickly searching for you. Obviously you know, on the SEO side it’s good to take up some real estate with your branded search stuff.
So that’s the value that press releases serve. And it just kind of a piece of marketing collateral that you can share once you have an editor on the hook. Typically, it’s just your click pitches. And these are really informal, like, “Hey, are you going to be at Toy Fair? I’m going to be there. Would love to show what’s going on with my toys.” And teasing out a couple high-level things to them.
It’s obviously… in a perfect world you would love to have the more relationships you have as a PR pro, the better-off and more successful you’re going to be. But cold emails and things do work as well. You just have to make sure that you do your due diligence and do your follow-ups and that you’re pitching the appropriate people.
So that’s the pre- and obviously also during the pre-, you wanna create your full media kits. You wanna media train your spokes-people so they know the dos and don’ts when they’re talking to the press. They’re fully prepped…
29:06 PAT: Right. Messaging, talking points, USPs to hit on. Basically, it’s like a sales script except for…
29:10 AMANDA: Exactly. So they’re just totally prepped and ready to go. Also too because there’s going to be some industry publications that are more in the know on what you’re product is. There’s going to be more consumer focused publications that want your message per se for a marketing land. Versus Huffington Post’s going to be totally different. So just ensuring that people know what those talking points are.
And so that’s all the pre-.
And then during the show, obviously you facilitate the briefings you’ve locked in to make sure that your spokes-people don’t go rogue and go off script. You have to make sure they kinda keep it together.
29:43 PAT: Right. So there’s a lot of management that takes place during the show. And I know that’s something that you and I had talked about at length. And I think the misconception that even I had when I was learning about the process. Was that all the work was front-loaded, and you were essentially just there to make sure that everything goes smoothly. But that’s not really how it went down.
30:01 AMANDA: No, yeah. The during part that’s truly when the real hustle begins. So you obviously have the booth appointments and want people to stop by. but there’s so many people that are just walking the show floor that you essentially do a little bit of stalking and scouring… obviously, as non-creepy as you can be, but whenever you see that blue on the bottom of the badge that says “press,” you think of any way to just start a conversation with them. And ask if they want to learn about your company, they wanna learn about the products that you’re launching.
Obviously, playing dumb now and then doesn’t hurt you. But once you get them in there you just kind of pitch them the way you would any other editor. And that gives another value as well… you’re establishing new relationships with editors. You’re showing your client as well that that’s basically something that they wouldn’t have been able to do on their own had you not been there.
And then also in having to pitch these editors, I–each time–feel like I learn about our clients and their product lines and their offering way more than I ever had up to that point. To where I feel like I can do these pitches in my sleep.
31:09 AUSTIN: Yeah, it’s just incredible to think about how much you’re on the fly. Of course, there’s the set-up but then… just like a lot of human interactions that we have… you never know what’s going to go down until you’re there.
What would you consider to be a win or great day for you after putting this all together and executing?
31:26 AMANDA: Yeah, so there’s a handful of things. Especially now with social media a lot of people on the fly Tweeting, Instagramming… whatever it is. Stopping by your booth. A lot of people too–because super-timely content from these shows comes out really fast. So end of day recaps like must-see’s from day 1, day 2 being included in those recaps are major.
Also with trade shows, there’s the major opportunity for broadcast placements, which typically can be a bit more tricky. Especially if your client isn’t based in one of the major media markets. To where you can get them that national TV exposure, just with the camera crews that are circulating.
32:04 PAT: Right.
32:06 AMANDA: And securing placements there is another big win for a day or for a show.
32:09 PAT: And a broadcast placement in this case would be like if you’re able to meet with somebody from “Good Morning America” or like, “The Today Show.” Something like that. And getting that national coverage. How much… cause I know that 1 piece that we talk about sometimes with PR/ media relations isn’t necessarily that national coverage. It’s a little bit of that niche coverage. You wanna be in trade publications or things like that.
What benefit have you identified for brands that get that national coverage? Do you find as food of engagement with those types of placements or pieces of secured coverage?
32:40 AMANDA: So it might be a little contradictory, but for the digital placements ad online placements I would say that trade typically performs better. I know our catch phrase that we like to say is, “Find the New York Times of your audience.” Cause those ones will perform… obviously the audience is hyper-engaged and relevant. They care about the content. So we see those ones perform the best through Google Analytics.
On the broadcast side of things, when you get a placement with a “Good Morning America,” “Today Show” for example… so you might see a quick little spike, but the best part is the brand credibility that it lends when the other channels repurpose those clips.
So say now paid social, they incorporate parts of that clip into some of their ad campaigns. It’s qualifying us immediately with a brand or a company that the consumer is always going to recognize.
33:31 AUSTIN: Yeah. So we’ve talked about the consumer side of this and how big of a win it is for the brand in connecting with your audience. Let’s talk about the flip side with the client here, and their relationship. I can imagine they’re quite thrilled with you after all the work you’ve done and everything you’ve put into this. What’s kind of the takeaway from a client perspective and what are they saying to you after this is all happening?
33:51 AMANDA: Yeah. So it… I mean, we at Power Digital especially and I’m sure most agencies you like to say that you’re an extension of your client’s team. But this is where you actually get to be that embodiment. You’re not even an extension–you practically are their team. And so you just deepen the existing relationships.
Because I feel like I was essentially on their payroll or working with them. And it’s just great. Essentially they become co-workers, and it’s not necessarily this client/agency relationship. It’s a more team mentality.
So that’s awesome obviously too. You’re just spending so much time together. You’re doing dinners, all these different things. They are getting to see also your work ethic day-in and day-out. It builds trust and that rapport with the client, because as they start to see, “Oh wow. You actually know what you’re talking about when you’re pitching my products. You know the industries we operate in. You know the way to tease out X, Y and Z for down the line. How to forecast. You’re starting to identify what our business goals are.”
It just puts any concerns that they might have to rest. I would also say that from the agency side–for myself–it’s an invaluable time to truly get a holistic understanding and appreciation of your client’s business and their business model. I think from almost like a text book side of it or like a classroom side, you would say that you understand… “Oh, they’re lea gen focused. This is the lifetime value of a customer.”
We have those metrics. But to actually see it in action, and to see the dynamic between retailers, buyers, sellers. What goes into the selling cycle? How it could just be the mood this day, or even the competitive dynamic of…
35:32 PAT: That’s what I was going to say. I imagine if I were to ever go to one of these things that’d be the thing that impresses upon me the most, because as an advertiser, all I ever really see in the way of competition is a data point. I see that I have 30% competition in this market for these keywords and this targeting criteria. I know who’s bidding against my keywords.
But I don’t understand their business, their selling point as well… and I can do that research on the back end and really make sure that I have that honed in, but that’s not going to lend the same level of expertise and experience that having someone like Amanda on the floor, with our client, identifying the competition and actively trying to out-perform them. She’s gleaning information we would have realistically not had.
36:13 AUSTIN: And it helps us do our job better.
36:17 AMANDA: Absolutely.
36:18 AUSTIN: We feel like we have a great connection with our client and these things that are so impressively difficult to explain because you’re having a human interaction instead of maybe over the phone. Or you’re just looking at a data point like Patrick’s talking about. That could change the relationship and the way that we put in maximum effort. In a way, where it becomes a little bit more of an attachment.
So that’s an exciting thing too where if you have the ability to do that with your client it can really open the door to another level of the relationship.
36:47PAT: And talking about PR not even just as a service offering, but as a strategic partnership is the biggest thing. Because you need to understand the pain-points of the client, the selling points. The messaging guidelines. The brand. The product. The margins. The competitive landscape. The buyers, the sellers. You’re really getting that holistic view of everything and it seems like if you do your homework ahead of time, you’re set up for that success when you’re hustling on the floor when you’re there.
You know, coming back to kind of that beginning, middle and end to kind of wrap things up here–what would you say after that experience specifically was the one big takeaway that you had.
37:23 AMANDA: That’s a great question. I would say that the one big takeaway now is I have a lot of work on my plate with these insights that I’ve gleaned to share them with the rest of the team. With this information that I have, to impart it upon my fellow team members as well. So we can all take the way that we service this account to the next level.
I think also too it’s a huge competitive differentiator for us in the sense that now the client will see us not as kind of like a commodity or a line item thing, but we are driving their strategy. And we are truly ingrained in what they’re trying to do. And we almost know their business better than they do. So I guess that’s the end-goal, and now it’s just insuring that with all this… I’m kind of riding this high coming out of the trade show. But not just resting on my laurels, and actually getting some stuff done.
38:16 AUSTIN: Wow. I think I’m ready to hire you after all that.
38:18 PAT: Yeah, I was going to say, that’s a pretty convincing pitch. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for coming on the show today and speaking with us. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate you taking the time.
38:25 AMANDA: Awesome. Thanks.
38:30 PAT: All right, everybody. That just about wraps up today’s episode. Thank you again so much for joining us for episode 26 of Flip the Switch podcast presented by Power Digital Marketing. We’ll be back again next week with an interview.
We have an interviewee coming in to talk to us about funnel marketing and the consumer journey. So we’re excited to share that with you.
But until that time, feel free to hit us up on our social handles, again that’s @flipswitchcast for both Twitter and Instagram. This has been Pat Kriedler, Austin Mahaffy, John Saunders, Joe Hollerup with Amanda Windsor signing off.
SOPHIA: Today on Flip the Switch. Amazon is using wrist-bands that zap employees to provoke efficiency. And Yelp is using an offline tactic to have better insight into their online business. Dropbox is issuing a lot of equity to their executives, which reminds us of our good friends over at Snapchat.