Why You Should Involve Your PR Agency in Content Development

Trust Your PR Agency with Content Development

The Ketner crew is currently hiring two interns, which got me thinking about my career start. With a PR degree in hand and internships under my belt, I assumed I’d join an agency. I pictured spending my days writing press releases and pitching the media. Instead, I landed a role with an in-house marketing team for an engineering firm. But through this, I learned just how fluid the fields of marketing and public relations really are. Or at least should be.

That’s not to say there isn’t a clear delineation between the two. Public relations is traditionally about managing communications between a company and the media, stakeholders or the public. Marketing activities are usually tied to achieving revenue by generating leads through email campaigns, gated landing pages, paid media, and so on.

Ultimately, content is the link between the two. So if you’re asking yourself whether you should you involve your PR agency in content development, I think the answer is yes!

In my past experience, and especially now working in an agency setting, I’ve seen the power of combining PR and marketing forces. Here are a couple of benefits of sharing the content load with your PR agency, followed by an example of Keter Group content in action.

Seamless knowledge sharing through blogs and byline articles

Just as our retail tech clients advocate for unified processes through their holistic solutions, I believe marketing and PR need to shake off the siloed ways of thinking. Share your marketing plans and big-picture goals with PR, no doubt. Breaking down barriers between teams encourages visibility and knowledge sharing. Then go a step further to bring PR in to help with content development in support of that plan.

One example is the corporate blog, where internal experts can comment on interesting industry trends, product capabilities, and more. By having a PR agency collaborate on these posts, they get more direct exposure to a variety of stakeholders outside the marketing department and a more complete understanding of your business.

This gives them the opportunity to really nail the brand voice and messaging as they pitch. Plus, having a lively blog makes it easy to source byline content for media pitching.

While not promotional in nature, byline articles are one way to position company executives as thought leaders in the industry, sharing trends or research and an individual’s unique perspective. Ketner Group pitches and places these 600- to 850-word articles in a variety of trade publications. It’s certainly easier to do so when we’ve had a hand in writing the content in the first place, especially if it’s just repurposing a blog.

A deeper understanding of a given topic with long-form content

Moving beyond bylines, PR-agency-developed content can include e-books, white papers, buyer’s guides, viewpoint papers. This is all content you can leverage through inbound or outbound marketing activities to move prospects through the sales funnel.

Your PR agency should feel like an extension of your marketing team. When you task them with longer-form content projects such as these, you invite them into a much deeper understanding of your solution, service or thought leadership perspective, as if they were in-house all along.

When I’m writing 1,500 to 2,500 words on a topic, my comprehension of that subject has to be exact. Taking on these projects naturally increases the amount of time I spend getting into the weeds. Yes, these projects are more time-intensive. But the conversations, from kickoff calls through the review process, further enrich client relationships and overall mastery of a topic.

The momentum to get in front of your target audience

Take the work we’ve done with our client Symphony RetailAI as an example. Late last year we kicked off a plan to develop a number of viewpoint papers and corresponding buyer’s guides. The viewpoint paper would be a “top of funnel” piece, educating the reader on a topic. A buyer’s guide would then serve as a follow-up, providing a checklist for selecting the right vendor – positioning Symphony RetailAI as the only logical fit.

We developed a viewpoint paper on customer insights and data proficiency in tandem with a buyer’s guide, pointing to their AI-powered personal decision coach, CINDE, as the go-to solution.

Symphony RetailAI, Rule of 17

Seeing content come to life is really exciting. I know Symphony RetailAI enjoys the momentum content has brought to its marketing execution. The Rule of 17 paper received double the target market downloads, compared to last year’s category management campaign. Symphony RetailAI further increased the reach of this whitepaper through sponsored syndication with Progressive Grocer.

Before commissioning your PR agency to take on long-form content projects, map out a larger content strategy. My colleague Aidan wrote a blog that walks you through defining unique content needs. It’s a helpful way to assess where your PR agency can jump in to help.

Amazon Prime Day public relations case study

Capturing Attention Around Prime Day with Our Client Adlucent

Update: since publishing this blog post, Adlucent has garnered additional pickup in seven more publications (plus syndicated publications) including AdWeek.

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon announced that its annual Prime Day would occur July 15 and 16 this year. Also occurring a couple of weeks ago, on the very same day as that announcement, we were psyched to have planned the release for our client Adlucent’s consumer survey and corresponding whitepaper, “Getting the Most out of Amazon Prime Day 2019.” 

The coordination of the survey and the resulting pick up is a super example of a well-positioned release and great team work. Since the release, the survey data has been incorporated into 10 articles (two of those top tiers and those not including syndicated publications), has lead to a handful of specific media inquiries and resulted in two industry analyst appointments. Not only has Adlucent given itself a name in Amazon Prime Day marketing. Even better, it has positioned Adlucent as an expert in the space of digital marketing.

What This Pickup Says About Our Client Relationship

As excited I am as a media person to have garnered this attention for our client, I’m even more excited about the way we worked with Adlucent to make this happen. From the very beginning, this report was a great collaboration. We helped develop the survey questions with Adlucent, wrote an outline from the results, passed the content over to Adlucent for final development and then planned together the most interesting story lines to pitch. 

In preparation for our go-live date, we prepared and distributed a media advisory, while Adlucent prepared for advertising and internal promo on their side. Since then, Adlucent has featured the report in their newsletter, followed up with leads who downloaded the survey, and promoted the content further via social media, while we’ve been active coordinating interviews and responding to follow up requests. 

This week, we’ll be keeping our eyes on developing Amazon news to see how we can continue to pitch Adlucent as an expert source in this category.

How This Prime Day Survey Promoted Adlucent As A Thought Leader

Outside of our collaboration, I want to also highlight the uniqueness of this report. The Adlucent consumer survey not only dug into what’s happening with Prime Day on Amazon. It also dug into what consumers are doing when it comes to shopping off Amazon around Prime Day. 

Adlucent found that 72% of consumers will look beyond Amazon to comparison shop on Prime Day in its survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-64. This stat reflects the fact that Prime Day has become a sort of holiday of the back-to-school shopping season. Further, of the survey respondents who planned to go back-to-school shopping, 55% plan to do so on Amazon.

Adlucent used these results to inspire a list of recommendations for how brands can take advantage of the shopping phenomenon. Recommendations included creating lightning deals, promoting shopping on social and preparing your product listings for the extra visitors. But I’ll let you read on in the report itself to get that full list of advice. 

Where We’ve Received Prime Day Pickup

Last but not least, this wouldn’t be a celebration if we didn’t actively highlight the pickup we have received. In addition to our direct requests and interviews with analysts and journalists, we’ve seen pickup in:

Want To Talk About How To Get You Attention?

Interested in talking with us about how we can do some work like this with you? We’d love to! Just reach out. We’ll schedule a time to discuss how we can use media relations to position you as an expert.

How Public Relations Impacts Qualified Leads

This blog post was provided by Charles Dimov, an experienced marketing professional and one of our former clients.

As marketers, we know that communications and public relations are important. They are part of a sound marketing mix. It’s good for the brand and helps drive awareness. But, what is it doing for qualified leads and lead generation? Of course, we all understand that it helps. If someone has heard of your brand from a third party article, they are more willing to interact with you online. Wonderful, but that’s all wishy-washy qualitative stuff! Is there tangible proof that public relations drives qualified leads? As a convert, here is my story that answers this question. Spoiler – the answer is YES, it does.


Startup Struggles


For the past three and a half years, I have led global marketing for a small retail software firm, OrderDynamics. In all regards, the company was a startup with a serious challenge. Four years ago, it was a 40-person firm, spun off from a larger organization. It had no discernible market presence. For the most part, no one in the industry had heard of us. There was no significant brand presence, compared to several goliaths in the industry like IBM, Oracle, and SAP. The flow of inbound leads was sporadic at best. To approximate, we had about 30 inbound raw leads per month.

These were certainly not marketing qualified leads (MQL), nor sales qualified leads (SQL). The inside sales process was completely focused on outbound efforts (events, list calling, followup). To top it off, web traffic dropped 75% in the year following the spinoff. Sales thought of marketing as an unengaged team working on its own. In hindsight, this was by no means a picture of success.


Public Relations & Qualified Leads


Starting with a vision, and marketing strategy (content centric – inbound), we added a communications / PR plan to the marketing mix. With buyer personas in hand, we focused on creating high-quality content, and on an ongoing public relations push. For a fast start, we outsourced this expertise.


Publishing educational, non-promotional content on a consistent basis was part of the plan. Content included white papers, topic briefs, data sheets, brochures, webinars, podcasts and ground-breaking industry research (developed in-house).

Through these initiatives, we established an ideal platform for a blogging strategy, using SEO to catch the interest of ideal buyers.


Good content gave us a chance to drive press releases, provide media quotes, submit non-paid bylines to industry publications, offer guest posts, and even interview on podcasts. These third-party public relations efforts started driving an influx in inbound raw leads. On the marketing funnel, raw leads converted to qualified leads with a growing number of prospective customers.


Turnaround


After ramping up our PR efforts, page views grew from less than 6,000 per month to peaks just shy of 18,000 per month. More importantly, the marketing department grew inbound leads to as high as 400 per month. Over three years, more than 240 third-party industry publications referenced OrderDynamics. This in just over three years. Twelve of these were quotes in Forbes magazine, with one full unpaid article written about our research in the publication.


Certainly, the sales team was engaged, and excited. Consistent, high-quality content marketing – supported by a strong SEO blogging strategy, and solid ongoing PR – completely turned around the business. Sales and marketing were now working together to fill the sales funnel. Additionally, sales reps saw and appreciated the clear benefit of marketing’s contributions.


Proof in the Qualified Leads


You may wonder, did PR really provide sales-ready qualified leads? I wanted to know this answer too. So, we closely watched our inbounds in the stages in the sales process, in sales calls, and through our qualification process. Over the past two years, from close to 300 qualified leads analyzed, most were attributed to SEO (organic search), at 36%. We found the next largest category to be the ‘Direct’ sourced qualified leads, the people who directly typed in our website address, at 33%. However, as a small firm starting with an almost completely unknown brand, these sources must be largely attributed to our public relations efforts.


If there is any doubt in your mind – public relations does work! And there are results to prove it. For instance, solid public relations execution drove 33% of our sales accepted leads (SAL – qualified leads).

Don’t skimp on this part of your budget. Work with a professional, communications-savvy and well-networked team like Ketner Group Communications. They are experts at gaining media coverage for your company, which in turn drives leads. Our work together helped me completely turn around our marketing efforts and business. All in all, investing in good public relations management just makes good business sense!

NRF 2019

Ketner Group Takes on the NRF Big Show 2019

In retail, we know that the holiday madness doesn’t end once the ball drops in Times Square. Even those of you who identify with “A December to Remember” more than “Ford Truck Month” – and are still reconciling the fact that no one in your family loves you enough to shell out a year’s salary on a front-wheel-drive convertible parked in a snowy driveway – know it’s time to take one more deep breath from the bottom of your newly built Saint Nick belly and get ready for NRF 2019 in New York.

Although Austin isn’t exactly the North Pole, we’ve been hard at work the past few months getting everything ready to knock it out of the park for a major mid-winter event. And this year, building on years of experience our team’s had at the event and given that our agency experienced pretty incredible growth in 2018, we’re collaborating with our largest cohort of retail technology innovators to date – representing 18 clients in total. Therefore, we’ve coordinated meetings with media and analysts, promoted their presence via social media, overseen email campaigns and used every other conceivable medium to get us ready to take on the Big Apple with the enthusiasm of Buddy the Elf.

What’s In Store

We’re excited to feel the energy in the expo hall as we move another year away from the doomsday ramblings about the ‘retail apocalypse’. We’ve seen firsthand how innovative retailers partnering with innovative vendors have established a bulwark against Amazon’s encroachment. We’ve seen how enigmatic executives have rallied an industry in need of optimism and vision to become a catalyst for even greater change. We’re excited to hear stories of recent successes and learn about what the future holds for the industry and for the everyday consumer.

Although NRF stands firm as the last hurrah before we can officially call the holiday season quits, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be excited about having more time than anyone else experiencing The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Meet Us at NRF!

So, if you’ll be at NRF and would like to meet us to learn about our agency, our services or our clients – or would like to meet with any of them – please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can find us at [email protected] or feel free to find us helping our clients at their booths, including:

  • Columbus Consulting – Booth #3083
  • DisplayData – Booth #1910
  • DynamicAction
  • Elo – Booth #3655 (with partner and Ketner Group client, Shoptelligence)
  • GK Software – Booth #3267
  • GroupBy
  • Kibo – Booth #4419
  • Mercatus – Booth $4560
  • Mirakl – Booth #206
  • NGC Software – Booth #4523
  • Opterus – Booth #4911
  • OrderDynamics – Booth #240
  • PlumSlice – Booth #1200
  • Shopgate – Booth #551
  • Symphony RetailAI – Booth #3036
  • Theatro – Booth #1517
  • Zynstra – Booth #230

Retail Innovation Lounge Returns to Austin on March 10

As SXSW approaches, Austin is preparing to descend into ten days of madness brought on by the four main pillars of SXSW: Interactive, Film, Music and Traffic. Amongst the hundreds of sessions happening next week, a stand-out event in retail will take place on Saturday, March 10, as some of retail’s greatest minds and thought leaders converge at the 2018 Retail Innovation Lounge.

The event, taking place at Max’s Wine Dive in downtown Austin, will bring together leading retail and brand executives and technology innovators for a day of keynotes, panels and networking. Sponsors of this year’s Retail Innovation Lounge include: Strings, Hershey Innovation, goPuff, Softvision Digital Innovation, and IDL Worldwide.

What is the Retail Innovation Lounge? 

Retail Innovation Lounge in Dallas, TX (2016)

The Retail Innovation Lounge is a global, by-invite-only executive leadership series for retail innovators, brands, investors and operating professionals focused on the future of retail in a private, peer-based environment. It was founded by Anne Marie Stephen, the founder of kwolia, a strategic advisory for emerging technologies applied in retail connecting the physical and digital worlds.

Saturday’s event will bring out the best within the retail innovation ecosystem to pitch their ideas, solutions and products to leading industry investors, media outlets and partners.

What to Expect at the Lounge

The Retail Innovation Lounge will feature a meet and greet with B. Bonin Bough, the marketing executive behind global campaigns including the first ever 3D printed food product, a customizable, real-time printed Oreo at SXSW 2014, and a chat with Jay Samit, serial disruptor and best-selling author of “Disrupt You.” As well, we are excited to announce that Edward Balassanian, founder of our newest client Strings, will give a fireside chat with Anne Marie about the exciting changes he sees for the social media landscape.

Attendees will also get a sneak peek at a new VR experience from Hershey and goPuff in a unique immersive activation, as well as a Podcast Studio with Mouth Media Network and multiple live tech and solution demonstrations throughout the day. Session themes will cover blockchain, social media, cryptocurrency, storytelling and experience creation, innovation in enterprise and brand environments and more.

Retail Innovation Lounge will also be giving out swag, hosting exclusive experiences including book signings, an evening social mixer, a future of retail documentary taping, and more. Click here to see the full line-up of speakers and technology activations.

The Best and Brightest Minds in Retail

Featured speakers for the event include:

  • Bonin Bough – Host, CNBC Cleveland Hustles
  • Jay Samit – Best-selling author of “Disrupt You” and an Independent Vice Chair for Deloitte
  • Veronica McGregor – News and Social Media Manager, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
  • Dennis McGrath – VP Innovation, Tryer Center, Starbucks

Additionally, industry disruptors from the following organizations will be on hand to share their expertise:

  • Kroger Innovation
  • Lowe’s Labs Innovation (former)
  • Lab1886 USA, Mercedes-Benz Corporate Incubator
  • Softvision Digital Innovation
  • Strings Media Inc.
  • The Hershey Company Insights and Retail Evolution
  • Moet Hennessy Innovation
  • Store No. 8 (Innovation Hub, Walmart)
  • Walmart Digital Acceleration
  • Plug and Play – Silicon Valley Accelerator
  • Treehouse (Eco-friendly home upgrade company)
  • Carnegie Mellon Entertainment and Tech Center
  • Mammoth Film Festival, Founders

Interested in Attending?

The invite-only event will take place at Max’s Wine Dive at 207 San Jacinto Blvd from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. If you’re interested in attending, RSVP here and use access code “KGRIL”.

Our team will be posting content to the String app, so be sure to follow along here on your mobile device for live coverage of the event and post your own moments while you join us. We hope to see you there!

Client Spotlight: Luke Starbuck, VP of Marketing, Linc Global

Luke Starbuck, VP of Marketing, Linc Global

A Ketner Q&A

Luke built his first ecommerce website in 1997 and has more recently focused on bringing software that improves customer experience and drives revenue to ecommerce retailers for the past 5 years. He has led product, development and customer service teams and brings his experience in print advertising and media to digital and offline marketing and growth. At Linc, his primary goal is to connect retailers with the knowledge and tools that drive stronger customer relationships and transform one time purchasers into lifetime shoppers.

KG: What are the best things about being an employee at Linc? 

Luke: Having the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology in the retail space is a unique opportunity. There are few companies who really understand retail, and who are pushing the limits of what technology can make possible. Being part of Linc gives us all a chance to not only know the future, but also define it.

KG: Why did Linc decide to engage with a PR firm? 

Luke: Linc decided PR was an important part of entering the market because our philosophy, mission and software operates under a new paradigm. We’re not just doing something better, we’re doing things differently. So education and awareness is key to our success in bringing this to the market.

KG: Why did you select Ketner Group?

Luke: The folks at Ketner Group were responsive from the get-go, and demonstrated clear understanding of the market we’re targeting. Both very important to us. Furthermore, they showed that they are focused on results, very detail-oriented and are as relentless as we are. They were a great fit for us.

KG: Ketner Group and Linc have been working together for almost a year. What’s been the most successful results of your engagement with Ketner Group?

Luke: We’ve been very pleased to be able to join the conversation in top tier retail media, with commentary and feature articles in the target publications we were having difficulty reaching previously. The biggest success for us has been constant and continuous coverage in our target publications, with some particular great results with a report we released, and also a press release about a new customer, both of which drove significant interest.

KG: What peer advice would you give to a fellow Tech Vendor looking to develop a PR strategy? 

Luke: Really consider the value before you get started. If you are targeting mastheads just for the optics, its likely you won’t see ROI. Think carefully about where your target customers are, and what you hope to get out of a PR investment. Then focus on and define goals and measurements that reflect the return you hope to get. Finally, communicate with your agency or PR lead so that they are on the same page, and then work hard every week, together.

REVTECH Focuses on Retail Reinvention

One of my most rewarding experiences in 2017 is Ketner Group’s involvement with REVTECH, a Dallas-based venture accelerator and seed fund that works with early-stage retail and restaurant technology companies. Ketner Group became a REVTECH sponsor in 2016, I signed on as a mentor, and it’s been full-speed ahead ever since. We just completed our first year with REVTECH, and it’s been eventful, to say the least.

REVTECH hosted three Tech Trends events in Dallas, opened a 13,000 sq.ft. co-working space, announced its largest fund to date this year, participated in numerous retail industry events and grew exponentially in industry recognition. Ketner Group helped several REVTECH portfolio companies with PR launches, and we’ve worked to earn recognition for REVTECH as one of retail’s premiere growth accelerators.

David Matthews, REVTECH’s managing partner and a veteran retail tech investor, is an evangelist for retail technology role, and he’s become a good friend to Ketner Group. We share a similar passion for retail technology and a firmly held belief that technology is vital to retail’s continuing transformation. REVTECH’s portfolio companies are doing groundbreaking work in AI, machine learning, robotics, IoT, voice and other technologies that are helping retailers break away from the pack.

Last week REVTECH announced the winner of its first REVTECH Entrepreneur of the Year award. Carly Nance and Rachel Bentley were honored for co-founding The Citizenry, a socially conscious, ethical home décor retailer that sells goods from artisans around the world, donating 10% of their profits back to the artisans’ communities. In addition to its online business and brick-and-mortar showroom, The Citizenry launched a pop-up show in New York last week just in time for holiday shopping. It’s a great example of the kind of fresh retail concept that can thrive in today’s fast-changing retail world and a worthy recipient of REVTECH’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

As we enter the final count-down for holiday 2017, retail sales are up, along with consumer confidence, and Cyber Monday set a record with $6.6B in sales, the largest online shopping day in history. The industry has reason to be upbeat about 2018, and organizations like REVTECH will play a big role in ensuring a bright future for the retail industry.

Client Spotlight: Austin-Based Shopgate Relies on PR To Tell Its Story the Right Way to the Right Channels

Ketner Group loves telling our clients’ stories – it’s what we (said in our best Ursula the Sea Witch voice) LIVVVVE for. Not only that, we always strive to develop client relationships that are based on complete trust sprinkled with a little bit of fun – a true partnership.

Soon after the Ketner Group started working with Shopgate almost a year ago, the account team (which includes yours truly) knew right away this agency-client partnership was going to be a gem! In just over nine months, the Ketner Group account team and the amazing Shopgate marketing team have developed a finely-tuned PR engine. Together, we have increased Shopgate’s presence and thought-leadership in the otherwise crowded space of mobile shopping platforms, secured some high-value media placements and of course, have had a lot of fun along the way!

Check out our recent Q&A with Amanda Laviana, Shopgate’s marketing communications manager:

KG: What are the best things about being an employee at Shopgate?

SG: I most enjoy the autonomy and flexibility of working in a company (and field) that’s ever-evolving. Particularly, I enjoy the efficiency of working on a lean team, where accountability and versatility are the most valued characteristics of every team member.

KG: Why did Shopgate decide to engage with a PR firm? What challenges were you facing prior to deciding to hire an agency?

SG: We knew we had a great story to tell, along with a great product to promote, but were having trouble effectively relaying it to the right channels. With a small team already overwhelmed with the everyday upkeep of a full marketing calendar and strategy, PR was falling to the back burner, and we identified our lack of a strategy there as a major roadblock. We’d produced so much great content, and had so many exciting announcements, features and changes that we knew would be relevant to our industry peers and prospects, yet we hadn’t properly amplified any of it. We needed a dedicated team devoted to this endeavor, and knew using an agency would give us everything we needed.

KG: Why did you select Ketner Group?

SG: We selected Ketner Group after meeting a few members of the team at industry events, and after understanding their expertise and experience in our particular field and region. After meeting the rest of the team and understanding their proposed strategy, we knew we’d make an excellent team. They really understood our needs, goals and roadblocks.

KG: Ketner Group and Shopgate have been working together for almost a year. What have been the most successful results through your engagement with Ketner Group?

SG: During our tenure of working with Ketner, we’ve been so impressed with the results we’ve seen. We’ve secured coverage in virtually all of the publications we had on our “goals” list. This has included Inc., App Developer Magazine, Mobile Marketer, Internet Retailer, The Next Web and a slew of others, including many relevant local publications key to our employer branding efforts. Our brand, product, clients and leadership team have been featured in interviews, commentaries, podcasts and articles across so many channels. We really can’t overstate how valuable the coverage has been in building brand awareness and reaching new audiences.

KG: What peer advice would you give to a fellow tech vendor looking to develop a PR strategy? 

SG: Utilize the experts! Doing it alone can be appealing in the beginning, but the opportunities you miss by not having a team dedicated to promoting your story through earned media are invaluable. Whether you utilize an agency or not, a successful PR strategy depends heavily on your proactivity. Being involved with and on top of every opportunity – and finding your own opportunities – will make all the difference in the amount of coverage you yield, as well as the relevant relationships you’re able to forge.

What to Expect at Shop.org 2017

Image: Shop.org, NRF

The Ketner Group team is gearing up for the busiest time of year for our retail clients, and we’re kicking things off with Shop.org, Sept. 25-27, in Los Angeles.

This year, Shop.org is focused on bringing fresh content to attendees with keynotes from Tyra Banks and Kobe Bryant and a number of new opportunities to network and engage with industry peers. In addition, Shop.org has partnered with Fast Company to provide a unique series of sessions focused on innovation. We’re excited to see all of the changes at Shop.org this year!

KG Clients at Shop.org

A number of Ketner Group clients will be attending and exhibiting at Shop.org this year. These clients include:

Columbus Consulting

Founded in 2001, Columbus Consulting comprises of a team of highly experienced specialists in retail systems and processes. Through a combination of pragmatism, innovation and years of experience, they deliver services ranging from strategic insight to tactical project delivery. Their experience stems from holding executive responsibility in retail, and from successfully managing some of the most challenging projects in the industry. At Shop.org, Columbus Consulting will be available to discuss the benefits of unified commerce and the need for retailers to have a single view of real-time inventory as they head into the holiday sales season.

DynamicAction, Booth #1519

DynamicAction is the most advanced analytics solution specifically built for eCommerce, store and omnichannel retail merchandising teams. Connecting and analyzing millions of data points from every part of the retail organization, DynamicAction uses more than 600 proprietary algorithms to pinpoint margin-eating disconnects in the business, prescribe precise actions and accurately rank those actions by financial impact. During Shop.org, DynamicAction will be previewing the data for their upcoming Retail Index benchmark report as well as discussing how retailers can arm themselves with an Amazon Plan for the holidays.

GroupBy Inc., Booth #639

GroupBy Inc. recently acquired Edgecase, becoming the first data-driven e-commerce platform available for e-retailers. The acquisition merges the eCommerce search and merchandising provider with a data-driven product intelligence platform to create the most comprehensive cross-channel digital commerce solution to-date. At the show, GroupBy will be sharing new customer projects and deployments.

Linc, Booth #541, 1800

Linc’s customer care automation platform powers the digital experiences that strengthen the relationships between brands and shoppers, transforming one-time purchasers into lifetime customers. Brands, retailers and CPGs leverage Linc to provide their customers with exceptional tracking, return and exchange experiences, and create new revenue channels via personalized upsells, cross-sells, sampling and product re-ordering. At their booth, Linc will be providing a preview on its upcoming platform features and discussing how TechStyle Fashion Group is working with Linc to maximize its customer care efforts.

Mirakl, Booth #1205

Mirakl gives retailers and brands a fast path to increase customer value by launching an online marketplace. The Mirakl Marketplace Platform automates the hard things: seller onboarding, product data management, service quality control, and order distribution; on an API-based solution that’s modular and easy to integrate. Over 130 customers operating marketplaces in 40 countries trust Mirakl’s proven expertise and technology, including Hewlett Packard Electronics, Best Buy Canada, Carrefour, Darty, Galeries Lafayette and Halfords.

Shopgate, Booth #319

Shopgate‘s leading SaaS platform enables online retailers to easily create, maintain and optimize native apps and mobile websites for the iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets. Shopgate uses cutting-edge marketing features such as one-click payments, mobile coupons and advanced push notifications to help merchants connect with consumers on the go. During Shop.org, Shopgate will feature a new customer win as well as discuss newly added features to its platform.

We’re happy to help you arrange a meeting with any of these clients during the show.

Retail Innovation Lounge at Shop.org

Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege to work with Anne Marie Stephen from kwolia and help support the Retail Innovation Lounge at various industry events. This year, NRF and kwolia are partnering to bring the Retail Innovation Lounge to the Shop.org show floor, Sept. 26-27.

The partnership provides a unique “lounge and learn” experience at the retail industry’s most important event for digital commerce. A dedicated stage in the Retail Innovation Lounge features curated content and programming with exclusive, inspiring content focused on today’s most successful retail strategies and concepts.

The Retail Innovation Lounge also includes lounge areas for networking and relaxation, games, a happy hour bar and demo space for sponsors. More information and a detailed agenda can be found, here.

If you plan on attending Shop.org this year, feel free to reach out to us to schedule a meeting or find us in the Retail Innovation Lounge. We’d love to see you there!

A Ketner Q&A with David Matthews, Managing Director at REVTECH

What is REVTECH and why did you start it?
REVTECH is a seed fund and accelerator program for leading retail tech startups.  I believe that Dallas is a logical hub for retail tech innovation given the number of national retailers headquartered here, most of whom are struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing retail model.  I started REVTECH because most of my most interesting deal flow (as a VC in Dallas for the past 17 years) has been in this sector.

What technology trends do you see most impacting the field?
The tools today’s consumer has at their fingertips bring selection, comparison and convenience never before seen in human history.  Retailers with legacy systems and processes simply can’t keep up.

How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?
I stay current on trends by monitoring the activities of the coastal VC’s and accelerators – especially those that focus on retail tech. I also evaluate the driving forces of M&A activity in the industry.

What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?
Best advice I’ve been given is to surround myself with people smarter than me – not a high bar!

How did you get involved in the industry?
My involvement in retail began as a low-wage employee in my youth; it accelerated when I landed JCPenney as a major customer (in my past life as an entrepreneur) when they moved from New York to Dallas.

What are three things we wouldn’t guess to be true about you?
1) I’m personally a low-tech guy, only high-tech with my investments. 2) I’m a drummer (not a singer!). 3) I’m a Buckeye!

What do you think is the biggest change occurring in the retail industry?
The consumer’s growing ability to fill needs effortlessly and to focus their shopping efforts on the wants and unknown needs.

What do you do for fun?
Walk the dog, hang out with my wife and kids and occasionally disappear to my cabin in the mountains.

About David Matthews
David is the managing director and founder of REVTECH. David founded REVTECH in 2011 as a seed capital fund and accelerator program focused on technology innovation for the retail industry. He has over 25 years of experience in building and developing companies and investing in software startups. REVTECH has funded 30 companies to date, half of which were able to attract seed funding of $250k or more, and four that have achieved $1 million in revenue annually. David has also helped these startups create over 200 new jobs. His most successful endeavors include selling Green Mountain Energy to NRG and selling Fiber Systems International to Amphenol. Matthews was raised in Oklahoma City and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio State University in 1986.