grocery technology communications strategy

Retail’s Big Opportunity Is Grocery Tech: How Communications Can Support Market Leadership

Grocery continues to be the healthiest, most rapidly changing segment in retail today. Grocery and essential retailing were the bright spots in retail during COVID-19, and that trend is continuing. 

The most dramatic shift, of course, has been the surge in online shopping. Research from our client Mercatus and Incisiv found that online grocery sales will reach $250B by 2025, a 60% increase over pre-pandemic projections. To support this, grocers are investing in e-commerce, fulfillment, omnichannel capabilities and other technologies at an unprecedented rate.

According to Progressive Grocer’s 2020 Annual Report survey, grocery executives view new technology as a key priority, “Tech as a whole is top of mind for most grocers. When survey respondents were asked about the best investment their companies could make to be successful in the next five years, the top response was technology upgrades/new investments.” 

Many of our Ketner Group clients are at the forefront of these changes, with technologies that cover a broad spectrum of grocery retailing: e-commerce, personalized engagement, mobile advertising, shopper data, forecasting and replenishment, omnichannel POS and more.

The rapid changes in grocery represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for technology companies, and a targeted, high-impact communications program can help them make the most of it. 

Here are just a few communications strategies that are increasing engagement—and leads—for our clients.

Content that engages your prospects

With the disappearance of events and in-person prospect meetings, content became an even higher priority for technology companies, as we talked about in our recent KG Connects webinar, and this trend is continuing. 

From blogs to case studies, thought leadership articles and long-form content, content (or owned media) allows companies to build influence and position themselves as an expert resource for prospects and customers. Companies can utilize content in marketing campaigns, sales outreach and social media, further amplifying its impact.

Content is a key pillar of the communications strategy for our long-time client GK Software. Our team runs GK’s blog program in the U.S., and grocery technology is a recurring theme, as demonstrated by this blog on dynamic pricing in grocery. Bylined articles, such as this recent feature in Chain Store Age, are another excellent way to use content for thought leadership.

Media relations that drives leads

Media relations can be a game-changer for grocery technology companies. And while every company aspires to be featured in The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and the like (and we’ve made that happen for many of our clients), executives also pay attention to the retail and grocery trade media.

As Kirsty Goodlett wrote in her recent blog, a single press release helped generate more than a half dozen leads for our client Birdzi. Retailers are always curious to know what technologies other retailers are adopting, so this press release about Birdzi’s engagement with their customer Coborn’s sparked a lot of interest—and demonstrated powerful ROI.

Press releases are just part of a successful media relations program. Our team monitors industry trends and news to keep their finger on the pulse of what journalists need, and we create the right strategies—proactive pitching, rapid-response commentary, interviews, background briefings and more—to ensure our clients are included in the most important industry stories.

Analyst relations that create influence

Given the dizzying pace of technology changes in grocery and essential retail, industry analysts such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, IHL Group, RSR Research and others rely on communication firms to help them stay current on the changing technology landscape. 

Adrienne Newcomb’s how-to blog on analyst relations analyzed the importance of a disciplined, proactive analyst relations program. Analysts are key influencers with large retailers in particular, so time and effort here can make a difference in bringing tech vendors to the attention of analysts, and ultimately retailers. 

I encourage you to check out our latest KG Connects webinar on analyst relations for unique insights from both the analyst and vendor perspective.

Grocery technology vendors must seize the opportunity 

These are just three strategies that are creating success for our grocery tech clients. There is much more we could talk about: original research, digital media, sponsorships, virtual and physical events (live events are beginning to return as more and more people receive COVID vaccines), and more. We’d be glad to talk to you about the communications strategies that are working right now.

The point is, be sure to communicate. You may have a great story to tell, but if you don’t tell it effectively and powerfully, no one will hear it. Grocery technology is arguably one of the biggest opportunities in retail right now, and the right communications program will help create success. 

b2b analyst relations communications strategy

B2B Analyst Relations: The Secret Sauce to Your Communications Program

For some B2B organizations, the risk of becoming an echo chamber when it comes to company strategy is real. This month, during our webinar on analyst relations, we discussed how analysts can provide third-party feedback to help companies create a solid communications plan.

Our host Catherine Seeds was joined by Patty McDonald, global solution marketing director at Symphony RetailAI and Steve Rowen, managing partner at Retail Systems Research (RSR).

In her role, Patty ensures Symphony RetailAI, which is a client of Ketner Group’s, addresses the retail supply chain market with the right products, services and communications. At RSR, Steve helps current retailers make more strategic decisions about the role of tech in their enterprise.

Our discussion provided the inside track of what industry analysts are looking for and how to build long-term relationships.

What is the right time for analyst relations?

According to Steve, the sooner the better. Engaging with analysts does not need to be expensive and there’s truly no bad time for a discussion.

analyst relations - marketing strategy

Patty agreed that “the best time is all the time. When you think about building solutions, it’s really important to vet out the tech and the messaging. From a marketing perspective, it’s helpful to run these things by analysts, and have that as the backbone of your overall strategy.”

What are analysts looking for in a briefing?

The best inquiries all quickly summarize the company’s story. “We want to know what problems you’re trying to solve with your tech. That makes for a great conversation,” Steve said. “Don’t show me how the technology works right away; if I want to know, I’ll ask.”

Patty recommended technology companies identify a goal ahead of time. “Even before we have a conversation with an analyst, I want there to be mutual understanding of what I’m looking to get out of the conversation.”

Most importantly, both Steve and Patty emphasized the importance of being honest when it comes to what your technology can do and what you have planned for the future.

How can companies set the stage during a briefing?

“Establish objectives of a briefing early,” Steve said. He identified this as something Ketner Group, or another communications firm, can help with. In the beginning of the call, introduce the attendees, remind everyone what the goals of the discussion are and summarize the objectives.

analyst briefing objectives

For example, “We’d like to learn more about RSR. We’d like to introduce our new product, X. And we’d like to get perspective on how to bring the product to market.” For more tips on briefing best practices, check out these resources from RSR.

How do you nurture relationships with analysts?

When you think about your long-term relationship with an analyst, remember that they can provide another informed voice in the room–and you can never have enough smart people.

analysts marketing messaging

“As you’re getting your marketing materials together, getting perspective on even a word or two in your messaging can be valuable,” said Steve. Patty agreed that advice is helpful, particularly when using analysts as external validation for an internal idea. 

Patty also reminded attendees that analyst relationships go both ways. Recently, she’s had a lot of fun working with analyst firms on their thought leadership. “Personalized Promotions: The Key to Bigger Baskets and More Frequent Trips,” was a joint report put out by Symphony RetailAI and RSR.

Keep the conversation going

Interested in learning more about how to make analyst relations a core part of your communications strategy? We’d love to see how we can help! Contact us to set up a free, thirty-minute consultation.

Stay in touch with Patty and Steve by connecting with them on LinkedIn: Steve Rowen and Patty McDonald.

If you want to catch the full conversation with Catherine, Patty and Steve, feel free to view the webinar on demand. Our next KG Connects event will take place in October. Stay tuned!

kg connects may webinar on demand
2020 media relations lessons

Three Media Relations Lessons From This Past Year: Personalize, Differentiate and Foster

We’re more than a year into the pandemic and the media relations landscape has evolved with the changing times. When COVID-19 outbreaks spiked in the U.S. in March 2020, most newsrooms went into full crisis mode. The stories that the media were interested in covering prior to the pandemic shifted almost overnight.

Journalists immediately pivoted to covering breaking news and ongoing developments to keep their audiences informed, and during the initial weeks of the pandemic there was not much room for reporting on anything else.

Through 2020, the nature of media relations, interviews, newsrooms and reporting changed. We went from regular phone and in-person interviews to having all conversations over Zoom while sitting in our makeshift living room offices and kitchen tables. During this time, it was all about focusing on the basics.

b2b journalists 2021

In the world of journalism and media relations, we’re just beginning to see signs of a potential ‘return to normal’ on the horizon. Journalists, specifically within the B2B space, are now focused on reporting on the future and how businesses and consumers can best prepare.

As tumultuous as this past year was, it also presented some key lessons about the media landscape that should not be ignored.

Lesson one: personalizing the connection

While 2020 took many things away from us, it also created an opportunity to make new connections with key media targets.

As we all found ourselves stuck to the confines of our homes, we also found that we had more time to start conversations. However, to land these interviews with journalists, personalization became more crucial than ever.

For example, Cision’s  2021 Global State of the Media Report revealed that “1 in 4 journalists receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance.”

You would not reach out to a prospect customer with irrelevant information would you? In that same vein, journalists need a personalized approach, especially in today’s environment during which newsrooms are lean and mean–and journalists have more being demanded of them every day.

targeted media pitching

Even before COVID, newsrooms were stretched thin. Throughout 2019 and 2020, many publications unfortunately had to cut their staff and journalists. This required those left in the newsroom to be extremely resourceful with their time.

This past year showed the importance of ensuring each pitch was targeted and provided value to each journalist from the get-go. While journalists have been more willing and available to speak with more story resources, these conversations need to provide value to the journalist to help them do their job.


Lesson two: providing relevance and differentiation

Besides being personalized, sources also need to come to the table with relevant and differentiated points of view. It’s about identifying how you can best answer the journalist’s questions and provide responses that other publications have not fully answered.

In preparing for interviews, we recommend our clients analyze the following questions in order to bring value to the journalist:

  • What is the breaking news?
  • What does this news mean and why should the journalist’s audience care?
  • What does this news mean for your customers and your industry?
  • What is one key thing that (your customer or industry watchers) should consider or think about as they are digesting this news?
  • How can you or your company provide further analysis and a point of view for this news?

Keep in mind that if you have unique data that can really highlight what’s going on in the industry or point to outliers or differentiators, that’s always very interesting and helpful for journalists.

Lesson three: treating journalists as you treat your best customers

Being able to position yourself as a helpful resource is certainly a great way to develop a relationship over time. It’s about keeping in mind the various ways you can bring something that the journalist needs to every interaction with them.

journalists are like customers

A key lesson here, especially during this past year, is to always treat journalists like you would treat your best customers. They’re every bit as important to the company as your customer relationships. And, just like your best customers, you want to make sure you are helping answer their questions, identifying new ways to think about things and helping them do their job.

After 2020? Personalize, differentiate and foster.

2020 was challenging, there’s no question about it. However, the past year also put an emphasis on the journalist/ source relationship and presented key lessons to succeed within this environment. It all boils down to added value.

Journalists are pressed for time more than ever before and need valuable resources to help them write the most accurate and engaging article. As a source, you can help them by personalizing your approach, providing value through differentiation, and fostering a long-term relationship.

Interested in doing more with your media relations strategy in 2021? We’d love to see how we can help jump-start your activities and support you for the long-haul. Let’s chat.

birdzi ketner group case study

Birdzi + Ketner Group: How a Press Release Generated Leads

We’ve been lucky to work with our client Birdzi on and off for more than five years. Most recently, in the fall of last year, we kicked off a monthly PR engagement to help them increase brand awareness and build on our previous media relations successes.

So far, one of our most successful campaigns was distributing a press release detailing Birdzi’s engagement with their customer Coborn’s. The release helped generate more than half a dozen leads, and solidified Birdzi as a leader in customer intelligence and strategic marketing personalization.

Birdzi, founded in 2010, offers a customer intelligence platform to grocers and is led by Shekar Raman, CEO and co-founder. Gary Hawkins is a strategic advisor.

gary hawkins ketner group testimonial

“I first met Jeff Ketner more than five years ago and became familiar with Ketner Group Communications and their services at that time. I’ve been in grocery my whole life, so working with Ketner Group, which has such a deep history in retail technology, has been a really positive experience,” said Hawkins.

“It’s always fun to talk shop with Ketner Group and it’s a great pleasure to work together, whether as a client or collaboratively on industry projects–like when I appeared on a KG Connects webinar as a guest speaker.”

We couldn’t agree more! In fact, just this week our CEO Jeff Ketner and president Catherine Seeds loved talking with Gary and Shekar on the latest Retail Perch episode! Their discussion centered around the important role PR plays in a startup’s overall business plan.

Crafting PR that demonstrates grocery excellence

Last December, we kicked off the Coborn’s press release project with Birdzi. Coborn’s began working with Birdzi in 2016 and has since deployed a robust loyalty program based on understanding of customer data and insight-driven personalization. When developing the release, we wanted to detail the long history between the companies and highlight the successful collaboration.

public relations driving leads

Comparing new, digitally engaged shoppers on the Birdzi platform vs. shoppers that are not, Coborn’s saw a 355% increase in customer retention, 16% increase in trips per month and 23.7% increase in spend per month. What a success!

After setting the story’s stage with a big impact, we detailed Coborn’s MORE Rewards program, which provides Coborn’s shoppers with personalized savings and experiences. There aren’t many grocers, particularly regional grocers like Coborn’s, who are executing such a robust program. We knew sharing strong details and examples would appeal to the media.

Once the release was drafted and complete, we put it on the wire and completed personalized pitching to journalists.

Grocery industry pick-up inspires prospects

Our goal of creating a strong story that truly resonated with the media was a success. The Coborn’s news was picked up in six publications: Chain Store Age, Progressive Grocer, RIS News, The Shelby Report, Supermarket News and The Wise Marketer newsletter.

The articles demonstrated Birdzi as a leader in customer loyalty and directly generated interest from other regional grocers. Birdzi received more than a half dozen leads through their website and LinkedIn, with prospective customers interested in implementing some of the same strategies as Coborn’s.

shekar raman ketner group testimonial

“When you imagine an ideal outcome for a press release, your dream is that the news drives interest from prospects, but you don’t often expect as many leads as we saw with Coborn’s!” said Raman

“Not only did the news drive leads, but the coverage sparked conversations with our broader network, including friends, partners and current customers. Coborn’s is a perfect use case for grocery innovation, and we’re thrilled to tell their story with Ketner Group.”

Continuing to tell innovative stories

While the Coborn’s press release was a great success, our work as communication professionals is never done.

Birdzi has a steady queue of customer stories to tell for the coming year, and we already followed up the Coborn’s press release with a story of how Birdzi customer Harps launched a mobile app to drive engagement. That release saw similar results, with seven unique pieces of coverage generated.

Looking to master your communications strategy as well as Birdzi does? Reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you craft a strategic PR program that creates thought leadership, brand recognition and a few leads along the way!

b2b content inspired by netflix

How to Create B2B Content That Puts Netflix to Shame

In our latest KG Connects webinar, we were lucky to have our friend Alicia Esposito join us to discuss how to create great B2B content marketing campaigns.

B2B content has always been a key part of building thought leadership, engagement and even leads. Over the past few years, it has become even more important, but brands have struggled to keep up with the breakneck pace of change.

That’s where Alicia comes to the rescue. As the director of content at G3 Communications, she aims to help businesses take an omnichannel approach to thought leadership and ultimately build passionate, empowered communities.

2020: A landmark year for B2B content

For the past decade, DemandGen Report, a G3 publication, has been tracking content preferences. “Year over year, it remains the same,” Alicia said, “folks say, ‘over the past year, I’ve relied more on content.’”

As companies continue to rely on content, they have also seen a corresponding increase in demand.

Last year was no exception to the rule. While the full report isn’t out yet, Alicia was able to share some initial data from an upcoming DemandGen Report.

“62% of respondents said they relied more on content over the past year than any other year,” said Alicia.

rise in b2b content needs

Factors such as lockdowns and a lack of in-person events have driven the demand for content, which has become a key component of the now-digital sales processes.

Incredibly, according to McKinsey, only 20% of buyers and sellers want to go back to in-person. “If you can have the right kind of content and can guide someone through an experience digitally, you don’t need to get on a plane and go halfway across the country,” she said.

Creating creative marketing that stands out

When it comes to impressing potential buyers, businesses need a wealth of content. According to Alicia, buyers will engage with 3-7 pieces of content before they actively engage with sales.

However, when it comes to the type of content buyers prefer, there was a major shift last year.

“In 2019, it was all video. This year, webinars shot to the top,” Alicia said.

Research is showing some interesting contradictions in how people consume content. There’s a demand for easy-to-consume content, while at the same time there is demand for long-form content like whitepapers.

To meet evolving needs, Alicia suggested iPapers, aka interactive white papers, which are very digestible and interactive.

With iPapers, “you can see how much time users are spending in the experience. What people are clicking on, how long they’re spending on the page. This allows you to see what the tangible engagement is.”

adapt long-form content alicia esposito

She also says it’s important to build a content ecosystem out of long-form content. Consider creating infographics, social media images, checklists and even creating video trailers. (For more on this topic, check out “How to Adapt Long-Form Content Into a Wealth of Resources.”)

“I encourage everyone to look at their content and find those bite-sized pieces to expand upon and connect to that long-form piece.”

Using content to generate leads

“How does content turn to leads?” It’s one of the biggest questions for marketers, alongside, how does PR drive leads?

“When we ask our customers what drives them to engage with content, there are always two answers: the trustworthiness of the source and the credibility of the content,” said Alicia. To build this trustworthiness, “you need good storytelling.”

storytelling drives leads

According to Alicia that means understanding the audience, getting to the heart of their pain points, understanding their goals and framing the story through their eyes.

“Powerful, empathetic storytelling is what drives that lead generation success.”

When it comes to the numbers game, however, Alicia says to stick to quality, not quantity.

“A common thing we hear is that clients create huge projects that generate thousands of leads and none of them are qualified. Sales teams don’t even want to reach out to these leads,” she explained.

Want to keep talking about B2B content?

The webinar is over, but the conversation doesn’t have to be.

If you want to discuss how content can help you, reach out to us!

To get in touch with Alicia, connect with her on LinkedIn.

To learn more about B2B content, watch the March webinar on demand.

We’ll be back in May with another edition of KG Connects; we’ll tackle analyst relations and how it can mean big things for businesses.

media relations helps your startup startups

Six Ways Media Relations Can Help Your Startup

Ketner Group has worked with dozens of B2B technology startups, and we often see familiar patterns in how they approach PR and media relations.

Startups naturally spend their first few years building their technology and team and ensuring the success of early customers. However, as a company wins significant customers, receives additional funding or begins seeking investment, PR ultimately becomes a priority.

Media relations is often the starting point for creating a larger communications program and engaging with a PR agency.

Why is this element of public relations so important? Here are several reasons why.

Media relations helps companies hone their story

Storytelling is at the heart of media relations. After all, media relations involves telling your company story in order to convince an editor to write about your solutions, which in turn can influence prospective buyers.

Stories must be easily understood, believable and persuasive. That’s why we always recommend that startups evaluate their company messaging and value proposition before engaging in media relations, to ensure they’re accurately communicating their story.

PR agencies like Ketner Group can provide the expertise you need to help you get ready to tell your story to the world.

Media relations demonstrates market acceptance

The very nature of startups is disruption—taking a fresh look at solving business problems with new, innovative technology. But how does the technology work, and what benefits does it really deliver?

media relations validates tech

Media relations is a critical way to validate your technology, as it gives you the chance to tell stories about your vision for the industry, the challenges your solutions address, and how customers are using your products. Because these stories are told by outside media, they gain credibility.

It boosts your market profile

Over time, editors and writers will turn to your company as a resource for articles and reports, creating more opportunities for media coverage and boosting your company’s overall presence. A well-honed media relations program can give you a competitive marketing advantage, too.

A key index of media relations performance is share of voice, which represents a company’s share of earned media coverage in a given month. By “owning the conversation” through a larger share of voice than competitors, companies can increase their marketing presence and punch above their weight class.

We use Cision as our preferred PR platform, and its share of voice reporting provides valuable metrics for measuring the effectiveness of media relations.

It supports fundraising

As startups raise funding, media relations can help attract the interest of investors and provide an important source of validation. Articles and press releases about customers are particularly important, as they provide external proof that goes beyond your investor deck.

It influences lead generation and sales

Clients often ask the question, “will media relations help generate leads?” As my colleague Mariana wrote in a recent blog, the purpose of media relations isn’t lead-generation, but it can help influence lead-gen and sales when considered as part of a well-rounded communications program. We’ve seen plenty of examples of this.

media relations supports sales

When one of our clients announced a major implementation of the company’s solution by a well-known top 10 retailer, the CEO quickly began hearing back from other retailers the company had been courting. In this case, one highly visible customer win opened doors for our client.

Companies want to know what technologies the leaders in their industries are adopting, and it can ultimately help influence their purchase decisions.

Media relations supports your exit strategy

A retail analyst friend used to introduce us to tech startups by telling them if they work with Ketner Group, they’ll get acquired. If only it was that easy!

Over the years many of our startup clients have undergone successful acquisitions, and we’re proud to have played a supporting role. Media coverage and share of voice can help attract the attention of would-be acquirers. When one of our retail software clients was acquired, the press release referenced an industry awards program that boosted our client’s reputation and visibility in the market. That program was one of the key elements of our PR program.

Media relations is a key strategy to supporting your startup overall

Media relations plays a vital role in your PR strategy. However, media relations should never exist in a silo, as it is only one facet of public relations.

As you consider establishing a media relations program, be sure to evaluate all your other communications channels, too—website, social media, content, blogs, paid media—in order to make sure you have a well-rounded program that’s firing on all cylinders.

That way, your startup will get the most out of its investment in media relations and every other communication channel.

Need help with media relations?

We’re experts in media relations, so if you’re ready to kick start a media relations program or just want to make sure you’re on the right track, we can help.

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn what we can do for you.

analyst relations 101 b2b technology

Analyst Relations 101: How B2B Tech Companies Benefit From Analyst Briefings

When we ask b2b technology companies about their approach to analyst relations, their replies are all over the map.

Some companies have a deep well of opinions alongside an advanced strategy, long history and serious investment. Others haven’t even dipped their toe in the water.

No matter the existing approach, the good news is that developing and deploying a basic analyst relations strategy is not only quite straightforward, it offers serious long-term value.

Analyst briefings scheduled twice per year with a company executive can improve a tech company’s go-to-market strategy, product roadmap and lead generation.

Let’s dive in.

Why you should invest in analyst relations

The first thing to know about analysts is that their M.O. is to be industry experts.

Whether an analyst works for a big firm that touches many industries (such as Gartner or Forrester) or a niche firm devoted to a specific sector (such as RSR or IHL Group in retail), analysts typically get their start by working in their field. Take a look at a retail analyst and you’ll likely see they held an executive position with a retail organization.

analysts are industry experts

Once they transition to a career as an analyst, their job is to understand the industry, players, challenges and solutions, and explain this via reports. To gain this insight, analysts complete briefings with tech providers and end-users alike.

When you should schedule analyst briefings

The perfect time to schedule a briefing is when you need expert advice.

Pivotal moments during a company’s history such as before a company/product launch or rebrand, during executive transition, or after completing an annual strategy are all perfect times to seek outside perspective from an analyst.

Once you’ve established a relationship during a pivotal moment, you’re ready to nurture that relationship through recurring annual or biannual briefings.

Analysts will be able to provide perspective that impacts strategies such as:

  • Company go-to-market plan
  • Content marketing plan
  • Product positioning
  • Product roadmap
  • Sales strategy
  • Investor pitch deck

Who should staff analyst briefings

The best practice is to schedule analyst briefings with one or two company executives who can offer high-level insight into overall strategy. With this in mind, a CEO is a natural fit. If a CEO is not available for analyst briefings, a marketing executive can also often speak to overall strategy such as go-to-market approach, product marketing and solution set.

schedule analyst briefings with execs

If you’re scheduling an analyst briefing around a newsworthy event, you also may consider inviting executives related to the news. For example, if you’re scheduling a discussion about an upcoming product launch, invite your CEO and director of product.

How to schedule an analyst briefing

If your company is not investing in a paid, ongoing relationship or specific analyst project, the most likely way you’ll engage is via one-off briefings you schedule once or twice a year.

Analyst firms offer 30- or 60-minute briefings with non-clients; tech companies can request these briefings via an analyst firm’s website.

Once a briefing is requested, analysts can confirm or deny the briefing. The reason an analyst will schedule a briefing with a non-client is to gain a better understanding of their industry.

analyst briefing research

With this in mind, you’ll want to do your homework. Only request briefings with analysts that are a good match to your solution, and when you submit a request specifically share why the briefing will be valuable to them.

Extra credit! How to build long-term relationships with analysts

At the end of your analyst briefing be ready to discuss next steps. Analysts want to keep learning about their industry, so ask if they are open to continuing the relationship by connecting with you via email or social media.

If they’re open to sharing contact information, use it sparingly and be sure to provide value when you get in touch. Include analysts when getting out a press release on big company news, but don’t add them to your general newsletter blast unless they specifically ask to be included.

Make analyst relations a core part of your strategy

Companies are always at risk of becoming echo chambers, full of employees who have worked together effectively for so long that they struggle to develop unique points of view. Analyst briefings address this challenge directly by offering expert industry advice that deviates from the norm.

Creating a strong analyst relations strategy, even if it is minimal, ensures that your annual company plan and pivotal campaigns skillfully meet the market and prepare you for long-term success.

Next up: we’ll dive into how to make the most of analyst briefings in part two of this blog series. Stay tuned to learn how to create a great analyst briefing presentation.

Get help with your analyst relations strategy

Ready to execute but need help? Ketner Group offers analyst relations as a core part of our communications services. Reach out, we’d love to talk shop.

pr drives leads

Answering the Age-Old Question: How Does PR Drive Leads

A Ketner Group Communications client case study

“How does earned media coverage correlate to sales and help drive leads?”

It’s the age-old question in the PR world and one that will undoubtedly come up during the lifetime of any agency-to-client relationship.

This question has not been an easy one to answer since the inception of the public relations industry. Albeit, it’s been a constant issue that pros across the board have avidly worked to find an answer to.

Our very own Adrienne Newcomb has written blogs discussing how clients can use earned media coverage to drive leads. While our clients have also shared their own personal experiences on how they’ve used earned media coverage to drive their marketing efforts.

As well, various measurement and analytics programs including Cision and Meltwater have become popular in the past decade to help close the gap between PR and sales. Providing various metrics and breakdowns to help PR pros explain how PR correlates to sales.

public relations marketing funnel

It’s a tricky scenario. Technically, PR is considered top of funnel in the sales and marketing world. However, if used as part of an integrated marketing plan, it can be an influencing factor in turning the heads of just the right prospect at the right time.

Earning the coverage

This was the very case for our client Larry Waks of Foley & Lardner LLP. A partner at the law firm, Larry represents many clients across food and beverage, distilled spirits, consumer products, fashion, entertainment, media, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions.

Dubbed “Lawyer to the Stars” by some of his colleagues, Larry’s innovative and personable approach has made him a go-to lawyer for many in the entertainment industry and allowed him to build an exciting and unique client base.

This includes representing George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, in the $1 billion sale of the Casamigos tequila brand to global spirits giant Diageo Plc. Larry used his expertise to help develop the recent Garth Brooks concerts at drive-in theaters across North America.

During our recent collaboration with Larry, we helped promote his role in the launch of Travis Scott’s CACTI spiked seltzer. We secured a podcast interview between him and Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz to discuss Larry’s recent work on celebrity alcohol deals and his trajectory as a lawyer to date. The interview was a success—E.J. and Larry had an insightful conversation and great banter, providing for an interesting piece of content that, if leveraged correctly, could be very useful.

Turning the coverage into leads

After the interview took place, Larry and our team worked with Foley & Lardner’s internal marketing arm to alert them of the upcoming article and ensure internal and external promotion from Foley’s channel was ready to go. Meanwhile, Ketner Group worked finalized image and publishing details with E.J.

foley leads from pr

When the article went live on Jan. 20, the integrated effort between Foley and Ketner Group resulted in Larry receiving an influx of notifications from clients and qualified leads within the distilled spirits space. These inquiries led to new connections and ultimately the start of new business projects.

Answering the age-old question

While the above is just a minor example of how earned media coverage can help drive qualified leads, it’s also a testament to the concept of making earned coverage work for you. It’s about taking the quality coverage that the client and PR agency have worked with and ensuring it gets the attention it deserves from an internal and external perspective.

While one example can’t quite answer the age-old question, if used correctly, it can help to create a trickle-down effect of driving sales leads.

How we can help earn coverage

Earning media coverage can be a tough task. If you want to learn how we can help you earn some media coverage, schedule a free consultation with us.

ketner group 30th anniversary

Ketner Group Communications Celebrates 30 Years as a B2B PR Agency

AUSTIN, Texas, – Jan. 26, 2021 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm for innovative technology companies, today announced the firm’s 30th anniversary. Serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Ketner Group has established itself as a trusted partner to clients ranging from publicly traded companies to high-growth startups.

Ketner Group is the leading agency for retail technology companies. Specializing in this vertical has allowed Ketner Group to play a role in retail’s fast-paced evolution by representing a wide range of innovative clients, from omnichannel commerce to online marketplaces, hospitality and supply chain solutions. Ketner Group has expanded its portfolio of clients in the last five years to include B2B technology and professional services companies across a number of verticals, while still maintaining its leadership in retail technology PR.

“I have worked with the Ketner Group for two decades of its 30-year journey and right from the start recognized there was something different about its approach — sophistication, intelligence and authenticity,” said Joseph Skorupa, strategic adviser and former editor at large for RIS News. “These are principles I value, and clearly they have been instrumental in the agency’s three-decade record of success.”

Ketner Group has achieved many milestones throughout its 30 years as an agency, including reporting year-over-year growth in employee size and its client portfolio and naming Ketner Group’s long-time leader Catherine Seeds as the agency’s president and partner in 2019. In recent years, the agency has expanded office locations beyond its Austin headquarters; opening an office in New York City and another in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2020, Ketner Group was named to the 2020 PRNEWS PR Agency Top 100 list. The list highlights the top communications, marketing,and digital agencies serving the U.S. Ketner Group was named to Austin Inno’s 2019 50 on Fire and is regularly recognized as one of the top PR agencies in Austin. Seeds was recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Power in Central Texas.

“It’s an honor to celebrate Ketner Group’s 30th anniversary, and it’s even more exciting to look to our future,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “We’ve experienced year-over-year growth for the past four years, and we’re off to our best start ever in 2021. I’m grateful for all our team members, especially Catherine and our senior leadership. None of this would be possible without them and the support of so many long-term clients, and we will continue our momentum in the years ahead.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during the pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing.

“We are proud of the growth and reputation our agency has established during these 30 years. Our hard work, integrity and strategic creativity has helped us earn the trust of our clients and partners, and in many cases, have led to longtime friendships,” said Catherine Seeds. “It is an honor for me to serve as president of Ketner Group Communications, alongside my team of fearless and kind PR professionals, and I look forward to sharing additional news about the agency’s future in the coming months.”

About Ketner Group Communications
Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing, social media and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for close to 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information please visit www.ketnergroup.com.

Media Contact
Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations
Ketner Group Communications
[email protected]

pr agency in nashville

Music City Update: 2020 Delivers Joy if Not Expectations

I can’t imagine a single person who would say they thought 2020 turned out like they expected. I certainly can’t.

After launching our Nashville office last August, we had big plans for this year. While it hasn’t turned out like we expected, I am grateful to say that the year has provided joy nonetheless.

Broadway Photo

I’m proud of our team for what we’ve accomplished and in that spirit, I’d like to celebrate some of the notable successes from this year, which include working with Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), OhanaHealth, Origami Day, and launching the NTC Marketing Peer Group!

Welcoming 36|86 Festival and LaunchTN to the Ketner Group fold

One of our very first KG Connects featured LaunchTN’s Van Tucker, now interim CEO, who joined us in June to share how to use radical candor to achieve business goals. After launching the Nashville office at 36|86 Festival last year, we had developed a nice partnership with the organization, which helps make Tennessee the most startup friendly state in the nation.

Little did we know that that event would spur an even more long-standing relationship and that just a few weeks afterwards we’d kick off working with LaunchTN to support 2020’s virtual 36|86! Together, we increased awareness of the event with media, generated coverage and increased buzz.

Van Tucker quote

With an incredible roster of speakers, we were able to ultimately secure coverage in publications across the nation and Tennessee. Some favorites? WWD wrote about a session by Ian Rogers, chief digital officer at LVMH. Gil Beverly, chief marketing and revenue officer of the Tennessee Titans, was interviewed by The Startup Life. And Van Tucker herself bylined an article for Retail TouchPoints on how retailers are coping with COVID-19.

“As a speaker for KG Connects, I experienced Ketner Group’s creative thinking, enthusiasm for their work and master organizational skills,” said Tucker. “Not to mention, they’re just fun! I knew they would make a wonderful partner when it came to our media relations for 36|86 Festival and ultimately LaunchTN overall and my instinct was not wrong. We’ve been thrilled by the output of our work together and pleased that they equally consider Tennessee the perfect place for launching a new office.”

Capturing coverage for OhanaHealth

We also had great fun this year working with Daniel Oppong, founder, OhanaHealth. When we initially spoke with him about his desire to do a media relations push around the next iteration of the company, we were excited to hear him talk about how the news sat at the intersection of three incredibly powerful themes from this year: healthcare, accessibility and employment.

Daniel is dynamic, driven and talented, so it’s no surprise OhanaHealth is primed for connecting top talent with health companies poised to make a meaningful impact post-COVID-19. We were thrilled to help the company generate coverage in local and trade publications alike.

A few highlights? TechHR series covered the launch and featured a Q&A with Daniel. Local publications did the same, with the Nashville Business Journal publishing the launch and Urbaanite doing a feature on Daniel.

“On top of delivering fantastic and measurable results, Ketner Group was exceptional to work with,” said Daniel. “They took the time to get to know me and OhanaHealth’s PR goals, then designed and executed an intentional strategy that put the story I wanted to tell (with OhanaHealth) in front of the right journalists, which ultimately led to it being read by thousands of people.

“I didn’t really know what I was in for, given that it was my first time formally working with a PR group, but our engagement exceeded my expectations and set a really high bar for what’s possible when working with the right PR group. I’m a big fan of Ketner Group, and not only would I recommend them to other companies, but I hope I get to work with them again.”

Don’t forget our work with Origami Day!

Missed the news earlier this year? We had the pleasure of working with Origami Day to help them create a communications plan.

samantha-lane-origami-day-content-plan

“Quarterly long-form content was a huge victory in fixing bottlenecks in my business,” said Samantha Lane, time management coach and creator of Origami Day. “Knowing that ‘batching’ is an effective way to accomplish more with less, I was already creating content around monthly themes. However, Kirsty helped me see the value in zooming out to quarterly themes and long-form pieces of content.”

Launching an NTC Marketing Peer Group

Another exciting effort this year? We became members of the Nashville Technology Council! We were thrilled to become a more integrated part of the technology community here in town, so when we learned that they didn’t yet have a Peer Group for marketers we thought, well, what a better time to start?

Wide shot photo of Nashville

Through the course of this year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with NTC and others in the community to kick off this group, which will seek to help members connect, learn, grow and give back. I’ll be joining the committee as a co-chair alongside some other wonderful members including fellow co-chair Lane Harbin, director of marketing at Campaign Monitor.

Our very first event kicks off Friday Dec. 11 at 11 am, more details are coming soon!

Nashville is still growing

COVID-19 is not slowing down the growth Nashville has been experiencing over the past few years. In fact, we continue to see announcements regularly that are signs of the city’s opportunity for big impact. Just last week, the New York Times’ announced it is opening a Nashville bureau.

Nashvill pedestrian bride

And Amazon’s head of worldwide economic development, Holly Sullivan recently remarked, “We don’t want to be the last tech company to announce a corporate office in downtown Nashville. We’d like to welcome other tech companies too so we can really build that robust diversity within the Nashville area.”

These continued stories inspire us and remind us that we’re just where we should be.