press release drive demand

Three Tips for Drafting a Press Release That Drives Demand

When a tech company has an exciting announcement to share, many turn to press releases without a second thought.

After all, press releases are an effective way to share news, reach a wide variety of audiences and increase SEO. But the reality is, the impact of a press release can vary widely based on how engaging and newsworthy the announcement is.

At Ketner Group, it’s an understatement to say we draft a lot of press releases. And we’ve learned a thing or two (or three) about making this promotional tool as effective as possible.

Let’s discuss three best practices for developing press releases that earn a reader’s attention and drive technology company demand.

1. Don’t get ahead of yourself with your news

Before you start drafting a press release, take a step back and ensure that the announcement is newsworthy and engaging to the target audience. Issuing a press release over the wire can be expensive, so this channel should be used sparingly.

In fact, we don’t always recommend that a press release is distributed over the wire. If you’re announcing a recent award win that was sponsored by a publication, for example, this release should be distributed via web only, as other media outlets likely won’t cover it.

At Ketner Group, we determine whether to draft a press release (and identify what details to include if we do) by first creating a questionnaire. This document encourages our clients to consider a few key criterion, including:

  • What do you want this press release to accomplish? The answer might be to earn media coverage, increase SEO or establish new leads.
  • Who is your target audience for this release? For our technology clients, this can be retailers generally, or more specifically it could be chief technology officers at large specialty retailers.
  • Are there any data points that we can use to substantiate the claims or relevancy? This can include company research, customer success metrics and more.
  • Do you have external validation? We always recommend referencing relevant analyst reports or quoting an outside source like a customer or a partner.

After this exercise, sometimes we conclude that there isn’t enough news for a press release. For example, if a technology provider is ready to announce a new solution, but they don’t have a customer or success metrics to point to, the release may not resonate with retail technology media.

If that’s the case, that’s ok! It doesn’t mean the news isn’t exciting. It just means that the best channel for sharing the news might be a pitch or a company blog instead of a press release.

Asking tough questions early in the process saves our clients time and money while ensuring the news is told effectively.  

2. Every section of the press release matters

Press releases are formulaic in nature. They always contain a headline, a subhead, a dateline, a quote, a boilerplate and contact information. But despite this, well-written and thoughtful press releases can still stand out from the noise.

First, the headline must intrigue the viewer to continue reading. The headline should preview the most exciting part of the news. More details should be featured in the subheading to prove the validity of the headline.

Next, the body of the release should be engaging and tell a full story. We’ve found that a company quote is a great way to highlight the most important parts of the story, while using the tone of the appropriate subject matter expert. The quote should be substantive. The best releases avoid using superfluous phrases like “we’re excited to announce XYZ,” opting instead to focus on the key messaging.

Finally, the release must end with a compelling call to action. Viewers who read through the press release are likely invested in the story you’re telling, meaning they may want to continue learning more or asking questions. Directing these viewers towards a clear next step can establish important connections for a business.

3. Word choice is everything in a press release

The messaging in a press release must be precise and impactful. Writers must get to the point quickly while using the right language to showcase how unique this story is and why it matters.

When it comes to a press release detailing a new product announcement, make sure to mirror the product language found on the website and sales sheets. This ensures that brand identity remains cohesive across touch points.

What’s more, releases are great for search engine optimization. This means that every release should incorporate key words that the business wants to associate with its brand.

Press releases should also avoid jargon, making sure everyone within the target audience can understand the news.

So, you want to distribute a press release? Let’s talk.

The press release is a tried-and-true promotional tool for a reason, but these best practices can enhance the impact.

Are you looking to take your announcements to the next level? At Ketner Group, we take pride in the entire process from the initial release draft to the final distribution. After that, we support our clients as they create a well-rounded strategic communications program that attracts attention from key stakeholders through a variety of channels.

We’d love to work with you to make the most of every press release. Contact us today to learn more.

pr readiness blog

A Frank Question: Are You REALLY Ready for PR?

As a PR professional with almost 25 years of experience creating and executing successful communications strategies for my clients, I do feel it is my duty to address a big elephant in the room. Some of you may just not be ready for PR. And that is ok! 

As with anything in life, just because you think you might be ready to do something–it does not mean that you should do it.

Let’s start with what PR is and what it is not. PR should be a critical component to your overall marketing mix, not just something that operates in a separate silo. You can not turn PR off and on at any time. This approach will not get you the results you want.

The right PR plan with the right financial investment and executive support can yield tremendous results for your company. But, if you don’t have these things in place, you’ll be wasting precious time and money. 

Before you make the decision to include PR into your marketing strategy, I urge you to consider the following: 

What are your PR goals?

Just like any part of your business, if you decide you want to focus on PR, it is critical to know what you want from your PR program.

Questions to consider include:

  • What are your overarching PR goals? And how do they fit into your overall marketing strategy?
  • Are you looking to secure your next round of funding? How will that contribute to your PR strategy?
  • Do you want to promote your CEO as a thought leader and go-to resource? Or does your company need more overall brand awareness? 

Whatever the answers are, PR always works best with clearly defined goals.

As a PR agency, we find that having clear goals allows us to recommend the best tactics – such as bylined articles, speaking engagements or rapid response pitching – to get your company in front of key stakeholders and influencers.

Without goals, your PR program will not be set up for long-term success. 

Are you prepared to give your PR program the time it needs?

In a fast-paced world, we are all accustomed to getting the things we want immediately. (Thanks, Amazon!) But I’m here to tell you, if you don’t know already, PR does not and has never worked that way. Anyone that tells you differently is just selling you a bill of goods. 

The benefits of PR accrue over time. Enhancing your company’s reputation doesn’t happen overnight.

When we first engage with a client, we always work to secure initial quick wins by leveraging our industry expertise and media relationships. But we are always upfront and transparent with our clients, especially when it comes to landing bigger top-tier stories. 

You must trust in the process and know that with the right strategy and tactics in place, the stories will land, and you’ll be glad that you let PR do its job!

Is your ENTIRE team ready to commit to PR?

This might be the most important thing to consider when thinking about investing in PR. We look at PR as a team effort! If there are only one or two people in your organization that care and pay attention to the PR program, it is likely to be doomed from the start. 

You need an internal champion for PR and a committed executive team.

I am a firm believer that a successful communications program requires buy-in from the executive level on down. When it comes to PR, your key executive spokespersons should have an understanding of what is expected of them.

BONUS TIP: I would also highly recommend involving your sales team as SME experts for your PR team. The more buy-in on you have from the right members of your organization, the more successful your PR efforts will be!

PR is worth the investment if you are ready and committed!

I’m not just drinking the PR Kool-Aid when I say that PR is most certainly worth the investment!

I’ve seen dozens and dozens of our clients utilize their PR programs with us in the right way, and it has landed them the end-results they were seeking. We’ve also talked to a ton of other companies, who we would have loved to work with, but ultimately recommended to them that a PR program is not a fit at that time. 

When a company takes the time to “do the work” when it comes to PR, the ROI will make the marketing team look like heroes and will give your company the recognition and attention it deserves.

If you’re looking to build a high-impact, comprehensive PR program, the Ketner Group team would love connect! Download our Retail Tech PR Handbook to learn more about our best-practice approach to retail technology PR or schedule some time with us!

speaking awards retail tech pr

3 Reasons Why Speaking and Awards Should Be Part of Your PR Strategy

Texans love their H-E-B. The beloved grocer was recently named the Ultimate Texas Brand by Texas Monthly readers, who overwhelmingly crowned H-E-B the winner over 49 other iconic Texas brands including Dairy Queen, Whataburger, Buc-ee’s, Southwest Airlines (that holiday scheduling fiasco didn’t help) and many others.

Why H-E-B? It all boils down to an incredible corporate reputation that’s authentic and well-earned. It’s what every company, both B2C and B2B, strives for.

That’s why building a great brand is a cornerstone of public relations. As a B2B retail tech PR agency, our goal is to help our clients break through the clutter and create the kind of brand reputation that can give them an edge in a crowded field of technology vendors.

Speaking and awards play a vital role in this, and they’re an important part of a well-rounded, strategic PR program.

When your company wins an award or an executive is selected to speak at a conference, it sends a powerful message to customers, prospects, investors and future employees.

1. Build thought leadership

Here are several ways that speaking and awards contribute to a successful PR strategy.

Speaking at a key retail event gives your company instant credibility. When one of your customers or company executives takes center stage at Shoptalk, NRF or another prominent retail conference, you gain a captive audience that’s eager to learn about your solutions and how your company can help retailers improve performance.

Every event has its own requirements for speaking submissions, and while many opportunities are free, some are paid. Our team knows the ins and outs of all the key retail events, and we provide expert guidance to our clients as part of their overall PR strategy.

Awards also build thought leadership for your company and its executives.

For example, RIS News recognized Michael Jaszczyk, CEO of our client GK Americas, as one of its Top 10 Movers and Shaker in Retail in 2022, positioning him as one of a elite group of top retail influencers, and our client SymphonyAI Retail CPG was recently recognized as a top 100 IT company by Inbound Logistics, among many other awards.

These are powerful testimonies of a company’s thought leadership and position as a retail tech provider, and we can share dozens of other examples.

2. Highlight customer successes

Retailers love to hear how your company’s solutions have helped other retailers. There’s no better proof point than a customer that’s willing to share their success with your solutions.

Many speaking opportunities are only open to retailers, but it’s well worth it for retail tech companies to nominate their customers as speakers.

Retailers are eager to learn from other successful retailers, and your executives can attend the event and participate in the discussions that ultimately follow successful speaking opportunities. That in turn can lead to follow-up conversations and ultimately help drive sales.

Awards may focus on specific customer implementations, while others, such as the RIS Leaderboard, are based on real-world customer feedback from hundreds of retailers. This kind of recognition builds credibility and guides retailers in choosing possible retail technology partners. It can pay big dividends, too.

For example, when one of our former clients was acquired by a large technology company, the press release specifically mentioned our client’s outstanding performance in the Leaderboard, which was one of our key strategies for building their brand reputation.

3. Demonstrate growth and momentum

Everyone loves a winner. That’s why prestigious awards such as the Deloitte Fast 50 and the Inc. 5000, which recognizes America’s fastest growing companies, are so important. These are highly selective awards! But if your retail tech company is a leader and growing quickly, awards such as these can validate your success and lift you above the competition. We’ve helped many of our clients win these kinds of prestigious awards.

Of course, speaking and awards don’t exist in a vacuum – they must be part of a multifaceted, strategic PR program that includes media relations, content development, analyst relations, social media and other elements. A great PR program must work synergistically with a company’s overall marketing plan and business goals.

So when your company wins an award or secures a high-visibility speaking engagement, shout it from the rooftop!

Incorporate it into your social media and sales outreach, feature it prominently on your website and include it in sales presentations. In some cases, a significant award may be newsworthy enough for a press release.

Put your company in the spotlight

If you’re looking to build a high-impact, comprehensive PR program, the Ketner Group team would love to talk to you! Download our Retail Tech PR Handbook to learn more about our best-practice approach to retail technology PR, then get in touch with us.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Celebrating Women’s History Month and Women Who Tell Our Stories

This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

As storytellers working for a PR agency and spending a lot of time telling stories, we find the theme particularly relevant and inspiring.

Each year, Ketner Group’s DEI Committee selects a few, team-voted monthly observances to recognize. This year, Women’s History Month is one of them. In celebration, our team is meeting via Zoom this week and each team member will present a short slide on a famous female figure of their choice.

To keep the celebration going, we thought it would be fun share more about the women we’re featuring and why they inspire our work. Here’s what we learned…

Agatha Christie inspires Jenny to connect with an audience

Jenny Bradford, account executive out of our NYC office, said she choose to highlight Agatha Christie, “because her writing has been an inspiration for me ever since I first read her exceptional detective mysteries.

“As someone who loves to write and tell stories for our clients, I always admire strong female wordsmiths and their ability to connect with an audience.”

Agatha Christie, or the “Queen of Crime,” is the best-selling fiction writer of all-time. Her work is only outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible. She wrote 66 detective novels and 17 short stories before her death in 1976, and her play “Mousetrap” is the longest-running play of all time.

Jenny is a big mystery lover, and “And Then There Was None” is one of her favorite books. If you’ve never read an Agatha Christie book, she recommends this New York Times guide to help you identify where to start.

Catherine admires Anna May Wong’s true grit

Our president Catherine Seeds will share more about Anna May Wong during our presentations to the Ketner Group team. Wong Liu Tsong, known professionally as Anna May Wong, was an American actress, considered the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, as well as the first Chinese-American actress to gain international recognition.

Anna May Wong was the daughter of Chinese Americans who ran a laundry in downtown Los Angeles and grew up watching film crews. She worked as an extra starting at age 13, beginning with “The Red Lantern” in 1919. She faced racism because of her Chinese heritage and was underpaid compared to her white co-stars.

“While I can’t relate to the challenges and racism that Anna May Wong faced as a Chinese-American, I whole-heartedly admire her true grit, determination and desire to keep going – I try to remember that when things get hard in my work life,” said Catherine. “No matter what she was facing, Anna May never gave up and worked hard to cement her legacy.”

To learn more about Anna May Wong, Catherine recommends mobituaries, “Anna May Wong: Death of a Trailblazer.”

Kathleen Hanna reminds Jenna of the importance of expressing yourself

Jenna Jordan, account supervisor based in Austin, TX selected Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of Bikini Kill to feature.

Bikini Kill was one of the most influential female punk bands and Kathleen Hanna was a pioneer of third-wave feminism through the Riot Grrrl movement in the 1990s. Before “Girl Power” was popular, Riot Grrls made it punk.

Case in point? Kathleen Hanna has been known for saying, “I’m not going to sit around and be peace and love with somebody’s boot on my neck.”

As for Jenna, she says about Kathleen Hanna, “Being an introvert in the communications world, Kathleen’s loud persona is a reminder of the importance of expressing yourself, and that there’s no one definition of what that means. She is all about finding ways to make your voice heard, and that translates in my day-to-day work when it comes to telling client stories.”

Sally Mann inspires me with her portraits

As for me, our VP of marketing working remote from Atlanta, GA, I selected Sally Mann to highlight. Sally Mann is one of America’s most renowned photographers.

Personally, I love the challenge of writing in a specific brand or person’s voice, capturing them uniquely. Mann’s portraits are a master class in capturing someone authentically.

While her work includes portraits as well as landscapes, my favorite (and what she is sometimes best-known for) are the pictures she began taking of her family in the 1980s. These pictures are complex visions of childhood, intimate family portraits that capture the photographed and reflect the mother behind the lens.

A mother myself, I was struck in my research by this quote of Sally Mann’s, “Having children…expanded the parameters beyond the decorative and opened up the tender as well as the political (in the broadest sense) side to my work.”

Continuing to be inspired by women storytellers

The Ketner Group team is lucky to have so many strong women storytellers as members of our communications agency and as part of our client base.

Women’s History Month is simply a month we acknowledge these women formally. The everyday work is in ensuring they (and each person we encounter) is valued each day.

measure success of communications strategy

How To Measure the Success of Your Communications Strategy

We’re excited to share that our eBook, the Retail Tech PR Handbook, is out now! The handbook dives into several aspects of what makes a PR campaign successful, and a key component is measurement.

Since measuring the success of your communications plans is as important as the plan itself, we’ve included highlights from the chapter below. To read the full eBook, download it here.

How to measure your communications strategy

As a marketer, you know firsthand the challenge of demonstrating communications success to executive leadership. It’s essential to put tangible numbers behind your work.

And, if you’re effective and proving PR’s value, you are more likely to ensure that communications secures its place in your company’s overall marketing strategy. Unfortunately, only 20% of PR professionals are involved in marketing planning.

To ensure that you receive your deserved seat at the table, let’s review two best practices for communications reporting.

1. Monthly media measurement

The most common method for measuring a PR strategy’s success is through media measurement tools, such as Cision or Meltwater.

Each tool has pros and cons, but overall they help you track your company’s mentions over time, while also identifying pickup reach, readership, social impact, keywords and more.

In addition to helping you understand the value of your media mentions, these platforms identify your share of voice in comparison to key competitors. We recommend tracking four to five competitors, which allows you to clearly identify how you stack up in your industry and receive inspiration from competitor campaigns.

By completing monthly media measurement, you’ll be able to evaluate campaign success and keep track of your progress towards your PR objectives.

2. Quarterly Key Performance Indicators (KPI) reporting

KPIs provide a fantastic way to track towards your overall company goals. We recommend identifying your KPIs when you develop your strategy, and then tracking them on a quarterly basis.

Setting quarterly goals, instead of monthly, allows you to account for the peaks and valleys of each month. PR has its ups and downs, with some months having more news than others. A quarterly goal averages out these discrepancies.

When you kick off your measurement strategy, you’ll want to establish KPIs through an audit, which provides a baseline report to identify ideal yet realistic goals.

Some examples of quarterly KPIs include:

  • Overall number of mentions
  • Number of byline articles published
  • Number of press release pickups
  • Number of data-focused mentions
  • Competitive SOV

There’s no right or wrong number of KPIs to track, but for reference, a Muckrack survey found that the average PR pro tracked five metrics in 2021.

How to create a results-driven PR strategy

The old adage that communications professionals “aren’t good at math” is not a good reason to get PR measurement wrong, or skip it altogether.

When done right, measuring PR ensures you’re able to keep your unique story in the forefront of the news, while tracking against overall marketing objectives, such as lead generation. And it also helps ensure that PR gets the respect it deserves from your company’s executive team.

To learn more about crafting a top-notch communications strategy, be sure to read the Retail Tech PR Handbook. Download here!

announcing retail tech pr handbook

Announcing the Retail Tech PR Handbook: 3 Key Takeaways

Retail technology is evolving at at an increasingly rapid pace, and that’s good news for retail tech companies. According to IHL Research, this acceleration creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for technology companies, as retailers embrace new solutions.

Now is the time for retail tech executives to seize the day and capture attention through strategic PR and communications initiatives.

The question is how?

Enter our eBook! Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of the Retail Tech PR Handbook.

As experts in retail tech PR, we wanted to give our clients an all-encompassing resource that covers everything we’ve learned over our 20+ years experience in this fascinating industry.

The eBook is a blueprint on how to create and execute fantastic retail tech PR strategies. And in celebration of its launch, we’re offering three key takeaways below.

1. Do your homework.

Before launching your PR program, assess if your company is prepared.

Some key questions to ask include: What are your PR goals? Do you have the marketing resources and people needed to help manage your PR strategy internally? Are you ready to commit to PR for the long run?

Successful PR is an integral part of your overall marketing mix. Doing your homework will ensure that you’re prepared to dedicate the right internal and external resources.

2. Craft a compelling story.

Storytelling is at the heart of media relations, which relies on convincing an editor to write about your solutions by crafting a strong, compelling narrative. In turn, these editors’ publications influence who will buy your products.

We recommend evaluating your messaging and value proposition for clarity before executing your media strategy. We also recommend selecting a great partner to help you craft your compelling story.

3. Create a PR plan.

PR plans are like driving directions for a road trip: you need to know what turns to take to arrive at your destination. You also need to leave some wiggle room for stopping for gas along the way. Some of those turns and exits will come soon, others won’t happen until much further down the road.

Your PR plan should include PR activities that are built into the plan well in advance to make the most out of long-lead time opportunities, such as trade shows, awards, product launches, research projects and any seasonality to your retail brand.

In addition, your PR plan should incorporate pit stops, or the necessary wiggle room set aside each month for unplanned activities like incoming media and analyst relations requests, company news, and more.

Keep learning about retail tech PR

Ready to learn more about how to create a top-notch retail tech PR strategy? Fantastic!

You can download our eBook here. Happy reading!

importance of pr during recession - exec

Give PR a Seat at the Executive Table, Now and Always

It’s been a long, hot summer—and an uncertain one for marketers who are grappling with the impact of an inflationary economy and fears of a possible recession.

Companies are scrutinizing marketing budgets more closely, and CMOs are increasingly being asked to justify their spend. Faced with conflicting data, disappointing earnings report and negative economic news, marketers may have tough decisions figuring out how to allocate their budgets.

That’s when PR becomes even more important than usual, because it’s one of the most cost-effective, credible ways to reach your audience and support your marketing funnel. As one PR agency owner wrote in Forbes:

“Through any time of crisis, there is one critical part of any business strategy that should never be forgotten: public relations.

“Why public relations? Because when so many others aren’t surviving the storm, it lets the public know that you are still standing, communicating and being active, and that you will still be there when things get better. PR is one of the most budget-conscious, effective and resourceful ways to keep your name out there during a recession. The third-party endorsement that PR creates is a voice that carries through and resonates with audiences long after the depression has passed.”

Keep in mind that this was written during the height of COVID-19. Anything we face in the coming month­­s—and economists are deeply divided about the prospects and severity of a recession—will pale in comparison to what we all survived in 2020.

PR helps fill your sale funnel, regardless of the economy

Companies will soon begin their 2023 marketing planning, and PR should continue to be top of mind for a full-funnel sales and marketing program.

“PR has always been thought of as a ‘top of funnel’ contributor,” according to Cision, “but this association does not fully encapsulate the impact PR has throughout the buyer’s journey in today’s digitally-driven landscape.”

That’s because earned media can be used in so many ways in the sales funnel. Content from earned media can be amplified through social media, shared in nurturing campaigns, and used throughout the sales cycle. PR can also help gain the attention of retail industry analysts and other important influencers in the retail ecosystem.

Ketner Group’s focus on retail technology has helped our clients realize the potential of each of these elements of a well-rounded PR program. Time and again, we’ve seen the power of PR to help our clients gain recognition as thought leaders, increase engagement with prospects and help drive leads.

That became critically important during COVID, when much of retail was particularly hard hit. Our team moved quickly and worked closely with our clients to devise new strategies to reach retailers. We saw an increased emphasis on content and a renewed appreciation for earned media and the credibility it carries.

Our best advice for retail technology marketers: Always give PR a seat at the table

Our retail technology clients realize that PR should always be considered a key part of the marketing mix, no matter the situation. New technology solutions have fueled much of the retail resurgence since 2020, and our clients reaped big rewards by continuing to invest in PR and marketing.

What should be your strategy for PR and marketing in the coming months? Simply this: Continue to give PR a seat at the executive table. PR is at its best when used as part of an overall company strategy, not just an afterthought.

Despite concerns about a potential recession, the outlook for retail remains healthy. After all, consumer spending is steady, inflation is trending down and consumer sentiment is rising.

This is all good news for technology companies. Retailers will continue to seek new solutions to improve profitability, increase consumer engagement, implement new fulfillment models and better manage their supply chains; and that’s just the beginning. A retail analyst friend of mine expects retail technology spending overall to increase next year.

If you’re a retail technology company, you can’t afford to miss out. Ketner Group has specialized in retail technology PR for more than 20 years, and we know retail like no other PR agency.

Looking for a PR partner that knows your business? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you reach retailers and support your marketing goals.

retail tech pr agency

Why to Hire a Retail Tech PR Agency

When speaking with prospects and new clients in the retail technology industry who have previously worked with a PR agency, we regularly hear that the agency didn’t understand what they did. Often the agency either specialized in B2B technology or in retail, but not both. This is why it’s important to specifically find a retail tech PR agency.

Our friend and advisor Karl Sakas explains this well. He says, “If you needed heart surgery, you wouldn’t hire a general surgeon. If your insurance was good enough, you wouldn’t hire a cardiac surgeon, either. You’d hire a cardiac surgeon who’s done your exact procedure 500 times before. When they have a choice, people tend to hire a specialist.”

With that logic in mind, we recommend that if you’re a retail technology company – whether you provide solutions for the supply chain, eCommerce, payments, or even a vertical specific technologies for grocers or apparel – you work with a retail tech PR agency to drive brand awareness and support your marketings goals.

Here are just a couple of reasons why.

Expertise in retail AND tech

It’s easy enough to find a B2B tech PR agency. A quick Google search retrieves thousands of results.

However, it’s a lot harder to find a PR agency that specializes in BOTH retail and B2B technology. But why should it matter? Simply put, a general B2B tech PR agency is trying to be all things to all people. Meanwhile, a retail tech PR agency knows your industry just as well as you do, if not better.

ketner group retail tech

So, what does that mean? For Ketner Group, that means we live and breathe retail tech. When onboarding a new client, it’s easy for us to understand what the client does and to translate that into terms that retailers and brands understand.

This is especially important if you’re hiring an agency to do content development. If an agency is doing nothing but reading and writing about the industry that you serve, it’s easy to pick up your company’s tone of voice and style to create content that resonates with your target audience – retailers and brands.

Established relationships with retail tech influencers

Beyond having expertise in retail and technology, a retail tech PR agency has established relationships with key influencers in the space. This is particularly important for media and analyst relations.

When working with a specialized agency, it cuts down on onboarding time and the time it takes to gain media coverage. We don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of time researching and building media lists from scratch. We use our proprietary media lists to customize and build a database of targets for each client.

With most of our new clients, Ketner Group Communications sees media mentions within the first month by leveraging our existing connections with media contacts in the space.

retail tech pickup

Same goes for analyst relations. We have established relationships with key industry analysts and are able to quickly set up introductory analyst briefings with the analysts who cover your space. Additionally, we help cut through the red tape (i.e. sales people) that solution providers often encounter when handling analyst relations in house.

Start working with a retail tech PR agency today

So, you’re convinced – it’s time to engage with a retail tech PR agency. Look no further.

Ketner Group Communications has specialized in retail tech PR for over 20 years. Our deep understanding of the industry makes us experts in retail tech content development and brings with it established relationships with key retail tech influencers – both media and analysts.

Ketner Group speaks your language and knows your target audience. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you drive brand awareness and support your marketing goals.

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.

stewards of the future webinar tameka vasquez

How Marketers Can Be Stewards To the Future

For the first KG Connects of the year, we were delighted to have Tameka Vasquez — strategist, educator and futurist — join Catherine Seeds to discuss the importance of being what Tameka calls, “stewards to the future.”

In her day job, Tameka serves as a global marketing leader at Genpact. She also just recently jumped back into the world of academia as an assistant professor at St. John’s University in New York. She started her work in futurism because, as she describes, “everything in the world is just made up, and we have the power to make up something else.”

Read a summary of the webinar below, or if you’d like, watch the full webinar on-demand through Zoom.

What is a steward to the future?

Tameka often uses the phrase, “steward to the future.” To her, it’s a literal phrase.

She explained that a steward is a person who takes care of passengers on planes or cruise ships during their trip. The same concept applies to marketing, according to her, marketers need to think, “how do we use [marketing] to navigate people from the point of where they are today to the future?”

A futuristic remix on the four Ps of marketing

Most marketers know the four Ps of marketing — place, price, product and promotion — as well as how important this is for organizations. However, in future-work, Tameka takes a different approach to this classic method.

four ps of marketing philosophy

She puts forth the following:

  • Possible: what is something that can reasonably happen?
  • Plausible: what is feasible given what we know right now?
  • Probable: what is likely to happen? 
  • Preferred: what fits expectations and ambitions?

She stated the importance of these future four P’s, especially for marketers, because, “there is a high degree of uncertainty and there are a lot of contextual instances where you have to apply these four p’s.”

Applying futuristic thinking to marketing plans

As part of her work as a futurist, Tameka has to think, “What does it mean when we say the future?” She continued, “that could be 2021, it could be 2030. Whatever that marker of time is, you can then decide what the story that you want to tell about the future is. How do we use the attention that we have in the moment to give people a view of the future?”

tameka vasquez attention quote

Using 2020 as an example, she described how we needed to meet the moment by educating people on COVID-19 best practices while also thinking about how current events allow individuals and organizations to reimagine what the future could be.

“If 2030 was a time where certain things were possible, 2020 probably accelerated that path where we now need to think about those things far more intentionally,” she explained.

Getting comfortable with discomfort

The future means change, and change is very uncomfortable for many. Especially when those changes run counter to organizational planning. Tameka says that while strategic planning is never really going to go away, we can factor change into our planning easier than we could in the past.

She said that, “we have the capability to be social listeners in a way that we just hadn’t historically. While you’re in this space of planning, you also need to be in a space of listening.”

marketing strategic planning

When it comes to meeting business goals, Tameka explained that it’s still possible to apply futurist thinking. The trick is to focus on KPIs while, “making slight pivots. The plan doesn’t get thrown out the window, you’re slightly shifting.”

Learning more about futurism

Futurist thinking isn’t the easiest to jump into. Tameka’s preferred method for learning is to look at what brands are doing beyond the product or service.

“I really want people to look at how certain companies have captured the moment and how they’ve used the sentiment of the time to better position themselves,” Tameka said.

She used the example of how Twitter has been able to respond to the moment where trust and transparency are critical. She said that Twitter has been creating features that improve transparency, such as flagging questionable information. This does two key things simultaneously: it demonstrates Twitter is rising to the moment while also showing what a future of transparency might look like.

Tameka also shared some great beginner resources:

  • Prescient2050: Free resources that will help get you started learning and using the tools of strategic foresight and shaping your future.
  • Brookings Events: A nonprofit that conducts in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems.
  • Futures Festival: An event that highlights principles of inclusion, plurality, and collective participation as a means to how we can move toward challenging the status quo and move toward preferable shared futures.

Want to keep talking future?

There is a lot to discuss when it comes to futurism. If you want to keep the conversation going, reach out to Tameka on her website, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn. Reminder: if you want all the insights from the webinar, you can watch it on demand.

watch kg connects january on demand

Join us for our March webinar to discuss B2B content!

KG Connects is moving to a bimonthly schedule for 2021. Join us in March for a discussion on how to create B2B content that puts Netflix to shame. Sign up for free.