This is a post about a budding love affair, complete with a confession.
First, the love affair: TechValidate loves tech PR folks. I think we’ll even put it on a t-shirt at some point. If we didn’t work in eco-conscious Berkeley, maybe we’d even carve it into a tree. We can admit this because its both true and we know that the feelings are mutual because of the love letters we’ve received (They’re private, but if you ask, we can share.)
So far, so good.
And, the confession: We didn’t start off thinking we’d love each other.
To be more precise: Things change in a social media world where demand for customer evidence has gone through the roof.
See, back when we started off in 2007, we were not thinking PR folks would care about us. We were creating software to automate the production of customer-based marketing content… Lots of PR teams also get paid to do aspects of this work. We sat down with one particular head of a PR agency very early on and the conversation colored our vision. This very experienced person told us the following quote, which we wrote down in our notes,
“Your software steps all over what my people get paid to do for our clients… No PR firm will ever use TechValidate.” -Anonymous PR agency principal
Ouch. And, we say this very respectfully -Wrong.
What changed between then and now? Quite simply, it was the rise of social media tools and the PR team’s demands to fill those outlets with quality content that reflects the current state of their client or company.
As we expanded in 2008-2009, the PR pros working at and with some of our earliest customer companies (3PAR, HP, Hitachi, Ariba, etc.) started reaching out to us and telling us they loved leveraging us online. They were tweeting out our case studies, charts and testimonials, utilizing us as a source in press releases, and leveraging our testimonials for slideshows at events and on analyst/press tours, etc. We had crossed over into “trusted tool” from “unknown potential threat”. Then they started spreading the word… a young software company has no better friend than happy PR professionals. Think about it. Its a headsmack on our part for not focusing on our PR friends straight out of the gate.
In the words of Mark Smith, EVP at PR agency JPR Communications:
“Social media requires a consistent stream of solid content, but generating that content takes time. We appreciate how TechValidate lets us and our clients create, distribute, and share tons of extremely relevant and targeted customer validation evidence without any manual creation required on our part. Its a massive efficiency win for everybody.”
The good news is that we’re not even close to finished adding PR friendly capabilities. In 2010, we’ve now taken it upon ourselves to find ways to make our PR users and partners even more empowered: Deeper social media integration, referral programs for agencies, and PR-specific training sessions for any who ask.
In a subsequent post, we’ll detail specific areas where PR teams are seeing the power of the TechValidate platform in action.
And, if you want that “TechValidate + PR Teams Forever” t-shirt, let us know… You will have to wear it, though.