Our CEO and founder Jeff Ketner started going to NRF about twenty years ago. It’s always been the event for building relationships in the retail tech industry. But this year, like last year, was different. His latest video discusses the shift in the landscape and how tech companies can respond. Prefer to read than watch a video? We’ve included a transcript of his discussion below.
The show goes on for retail tech companies
Hi, I’m Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO of Ketner Group. NRF may have gone haywire, but every marketer knows that the show must go on. And that’s what we’re talking about today.
As a retail technology PR agency, we’ve attended more than 20 NRF Big Shows. Before COVID, there was always a buzz of excitement. Our clients were there, we managed countless press and analyst briefings, and it was an annual celebration of all things retail.
This year was different. With Omicron raging, NRF attendance was off by as much as 2/3. Most of our clients stayed home. We did, too. It felt strange. On the other hand, retail is back. It’s healthy, and that’s good news.
Retail sales in November and December grew more than 14% compared to 2020–far exceeding the most optimistic expectations. Retailers overcame huge challenges last year dealing with inflation, supply chain disruptions and the continuing impact of COVID.
Much of the success retailers have found can be attributed to their technology investments. Which begs the question, without NRF, how can retailers find their next big tech initiatives?
For technology vendors, strategic marketing and communications is more important than ever. One important way to get the word out is through media and analyst relations.
Give media and analysts news they can use
In the past, retail tech companies looked to NRF as a opportunity to make an impact through media relations. Ketner Group has managed hundreds of 1:1 meetings over the years.
Those in-person press meetings at NRF didn’t happen. However, the media still needs to hear about your new products, customer wins and trends you’re seeing in the industry. And there’s no better time than now. Retailers are finalizing their IT priorities for the year, and they’re looking to retail and business media as key resources to help guide decisions.
A retail technology-focused PR agency like Ketner Group can help you break through the noise and get your story out to the media that matter most. With a great story and the right agency support, the resulting media coverage can help get the attention of prospective customers.
It’s the same with industry analysts. They rely on PR firms to help them stay current on the changing technology landscape. Analysts are key influencers with retailers; time and effort here can make a difference in bringing tech vendors to the attention of analysts.
If you write it, the leads will come
What about all the sales leads you didn’t get this year?
For many retail tech companies, NRF has always been the #1 source of leads for the year. That’s something that’s hard to replace, so now is the time to double down on new, creative content initiatives to develop and nurture leads.
Thought-provoking content is important. You own it, and you control the message. It gives you the opportunity to engage readers with your viewpoint on some of the biggest issues they’re facing. Your content can include press releases, bylined articles, case studies, blogs and LinkedIn articles, as well as long-form content such as bylines and white papers.
Content marketing is essential for engaging retailers as they research technology vendors. It can help replace some of the leads you would have received at industry events, and it’s a critical part of your marketing strategy.
The great technology reset
With or without NRF, marketers have lots of opportunities to help their companies make an impact in 2022. According to our friend Greg Buzek of IHL Group, retail is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation technology reset; you can’t afford to miss out.
This represents a huge opportunity for technology vendors—and a specialized retail technology PR firm like Ketner Group can make a difference. We’ve focused on retail technology PR for over 20 years. Our understanding of the industry makes us experts in retail tech marketing, and we’ve developed invaluable relationships with key retail tech influencers – both media and analysts.
2022 will be an exciting year in retail and technology. And with proactive PR and creative content in your marketing playbook, your company can play a big part in it.
Thanks for listening. We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to connect with us.