Customers speak volumes

As you’ll have seen from this recent post I’m the newest member of the Skout team. My B2B PR and marketing communications experience spans 14 years, the last seven of which have been specifically spent in tech PR. I’ve previously worked for a range of healthcare and business management software and IT services providers. During this time I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the B2B tech industry evolve massively, driven largely by the proliferation of innovative cloud, mobile and collaborative solutions which offer businesses increased flexibility and agility, particularly when delivered as a managed service.

Irrespective of whether your company is a technological trailblazer or not, your strongest PR stories can often be sourced from the lifeblood of your business – your customers.  A pioneering new product or service, a significant new business win or further investment and growth, will typically generate interest if selectively targeted at relevant media. However, to maximise column inches and keep your name at the forefront of a journalist’s mind, it’s vital to engage your customers to support your PR and reference activity wherever possible. After all, the media really love to hear what the organ grinder has to say, as well as the monkey (so to speak).

As is the case when you start a new job, old colleagues say to keep in touch. It’s a time to be thinking about the past as well as the future. So it was timely that earlier this week I received an invitation from FriendsReunited, one of the inaugural social networking sites that briefly led the way in the early 00s until it was swiftly overtaken by Facebook, and in more recent times Twitter and LinkedIn. FriendsReunited is being re-launched with the site’s original founders, Steve and Julie Pankhurst and their friend Jason Porter, back at the helm. Given today’s plethora of social mediums, it seems inconceivable that FriendsReunited will be able to rise from the ashes. Despite this, I decided to put my scepticism to one side and was surprised by what I discovered when I logged on for the first time in years.

Old school friends, university drinking partners and ex-colleagues who I am no longer ‘connected’ with served as a reminder of some memorable stories and achievements which I had forgotten about. Just like these ‘old friends’, your existing customers can be the source of many anecdotes and experiences that although passed, could inject fresh impetus into raising your company’s profile through the use of powerful PR. In a previous blog we discussed how to use your business back story to promote your business, reflecting on ‘where it all began’ and what happened along the way. It’s a worthy exercise, and one you should also consider when talking to your customers about improved efficiency or productivity gains.

How much time and money have your customers saved as a direct result of implementing your solutions and services? Have you played a part in assisting their growth, or served as a catalyst for aiding their recovery during the challenging economy? Have you taken them through several periods of technological change? If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to ask them. You might uncover some hidden gems for stories that can quickly be turned into captivating press releases, case studies, blogs, opinions pieces or whitepapers.

This is just one aspect of what we call ‘Natural PR’ – if you’re interested in finding out more our new Natural PR guide could be a good place to start.

– Ben

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