Trainer to Sponsor PRSA Media Predicts event for 2011
By: Susan Thomas
Make no mistake, the “new economy” has left many businesses on shaky ground, and this is particularly true in high-tech. The rules have changed. Clients need assurances associated with their marketing and PR investments. Now agencies offering PR and marketing services are getting more pointed requests for specific types of results from prospects and clients – and the straight “retainer” based agencies are in unfamiliar territory.
Keeping up with the change can be challenging – so perhaps the following two resources can provide some answers (and relief!). First, Trainer is once again sponsoring the PRSA Media Predicts event for 2011. If you haven’t attended, it’s worth a few hours to hear from media all-stars who are willing to discuss their focus for the coming year. All of our favorites will be speaking and it’s always entertaining and informative. If you can’t get a ticket, send us an email. You never know, we may have a spare seat at our table. The event is scheduled for Thursday, December 2nd at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.
For more “must see TV,” check out the event Trainer is hosting on December 16th. We’ve invited some of the country’s most impressive media, analysts and consultants to discuss the analysts’ role with the media. We hope to answer questions about how the analysts support media coverage in 2011 and beyond and their value to vendors and end-user clients. We’ve surveyed nearly 200 media in the U.S. and in EMEA that will serve as the foundation for this discussion. Our line-up is shaping up nicely with old friends Josh Greenbaum (noted enterprise software analyst from Enterprise Application Consulting; Sam Whitmore and Ari Levy, Bloomberg Businessweek reporter; and a guest from Forrester. If you’re interested in attending, let us know email, we’re trying to accommodate as many of our clients and friends as the fire marshal will allow.
No doubt, things look different than they have in recent history. Now is the time to build your media and marketing strategy based on new information from the movers and shakers in the industry. We hope to see you at one of these awesome events and reach out to me on Twitter @SusanTrainer and keep track of all the tweets at #Mediapredicts.
Thankfully I started my PR and marketing career in the Midwest at a company that didn’t completely value or believe in PR and outbound marketing. You didn’t misread my opening line, I mean it. The perception that marketing and PR was primarily “fluff” and couldn’t really contribute to the bottom line for a “real” company made me all that much more determined to make an impact with my marketing and PR programs. I tried harder and it made me better.
It seems our industry routinely gets a bad rap based on our unwillingness or inability to be accountable. This reputation isn’t totally undeserved, and is most evident based on the fact that many in our industry have turned a blind eye to “retainer-based billing” that shamelessly gouges clients for monthly fees with no attention to actual results. Well, admittedly most clients don’t put up with that behavior these days, but it wasn’t that long ago that this was standard operating procedure for many in our industry.
Billing for “showing up” (i.e. a retainer model) isn’t the only issue that makes companies question the accountability of PR and marketing types. To put these questions to rest, agencies can learn a few things from serious service agencies (Cambridge Technologies is one of my personal favorites) that offer service level agreements (SLAs). SLAs specify (among other things) a response-time guarantee. What does this mean for clients? It means that emails are not lost in the ether for days or weeks at a time. It means voicemails do not go unanswered. It means agencies are not just evaluated based on the one big lead-generation project or the one big feature article they pull off; they are evaluated on the way they service the client. There are agreements about the way the agency will communicate, and the client doesn’t feel abandoned. What a concept!
So in the spirit of “small steps for mankind,” Trainer promises a two-hour response time in all of our contracts. We actually include it in our contracts. We hope more agencies will do the same, and this will begin to improve the image of the entire PR and marketing industry.
Welcome to the new Trainer website and blog! We believe our recent “remodeling” reflects the changes also occurring in our company as we build additional infrastructure, extend our ways of doing business, and increase our sophistication with fresh integrated marketing and PR techniques. We also believe this site reflects the practical, results-oriented PR and marketing strategies Trainer Communications has become known for over the past 15 years.
This remodeling effort is not so dissimilar to the remodeling project that seems to be constantly in-motion in my home. Once I think I’m complete with one room, I realize there are more opportunities to upgrade the adjacent room. So goes marketing and PR. The more innovative Trainer becomes, the more innovative we want to be. In this blog, you can count on us to deliver ideas that run the gambit of PR and marketing. We’ll cover ideas from how to get the most out of a viral video opportunity to top tips for tapping Mommy bloggers. What’s constant is that we will change.
We hope to see more of you—drop in anytime and let us know what you think. We’re still the friendly, results-focused agency you may remember. We’re just a little bigger with a lot more ideas.