What is Your Story?

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What is your Story?

Everyone and every company has a story. How you go about telling that story is the difference in making the story memorable and motivational. Storytelling has been going on since the beginning of human existence. The stories most of us remember as a child are the ones with a simple, yet relatable or emotional message.

Marketing professionals often forget this when writing the next data sheet, PowerPoint presentation or press announcement. All those data specs don’t tell the audience “Why should I care about this?” or “What’s in it for me?”

Say you’re introducing a new toaster. Do folks really care that the toaster was built on the latest electronic/electrical toaster platform? No. They care how the toaster will perform. How long will it last? How many things can it toast at one time, price and so on? Yes, this is a simplified example, but way too many tech marketers get hung up on the latest specifications while the customer benefits and value propositions get lost. How are all these specs relatable? One thing (among many) that I have learned in my PR/marketing career is to answer the question: Why do I care? If you can’t answer this question clearly and convincingly, then something is wrong with your marketing message.

I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Jeff Bloomfield, the author of “Story Based Selling – Create, Connect and Close.” If you ever have the chance to attend any of his presentations – I highly

recommend it. In his book, Bloomfield discusses how we interpret and retain information. He references a study done by the London Business School on retention rates:

  • When presenting statistics/facts only retention was only 5 to 10%
  • When combined with stories & visuals retention increased to 25 to 30%
  • Storytelling alone, retention rose to 65 to 70%.

Here’s a personal story of mine. When I started out in my career, I worked for a major defense contractor; the largest employer in my town. I worked in the Human Resources department, processing in new-hires. It was a great job as I got to meet a lot of interesting people as well as interface on occasion with the higher-ups. Yes, I delivered the mail too. One day, we had a reduction in force – a massive layoff of hourly employees. I was asked to join the termination team for the day to help process out the laid-off employees. It was very emotional as the majority of hourly employees only had a few hours’ notice. Men were crying at my desk and in shock as they didn’t know how they were going to feed their families. It was long and emotionally-draining 12-hour day, processing paperwork for hundreds of people. At the end of that awful day, my boss called me into his office and laid me off! “What, that can’t be, I’m a salaried employee,” I said. The boss went on to say, “It’s affected many of us salaried employees and I’m being transferred to Africa.” Wow! You can imagine my shock. I’m sure anyone who has been laid off can relate in some fashion.

That experience was an important life lesson that left a very lasting impression on me. It was then that I decided that someday I’d have my own company in order to be more in control of my own destiny – and I did.

What’s your story?

Happy Marketing,

PJ Jennings

Our Clients Continue to Innovate – An Update

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Since our inception, our mantra at J&A has always been: We promote clients whose products and/or services can make lives safer and business processes more efficient. This holds true today. We’re proud of how our clients have answered the call to address a myriad of challenges – from cyber security, power protection and power conversion solutions to wireless communications and power on-the-go devices.

Our client’s engineers, product developers and marketers are continually looking at how their specific technology and services can enter new markets and solve problems, where there was no clear answer before. The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are bringing new solutions and challenges to our always on interconnected society. In addition, cyber threats to our military, computer and utility power networks are increasingly troublesome and our clients are researching and developing solutions to combat this ever present threat.

It’s an exciting time in technology and we appreciate the opportunities to promote our clients who are working diligently on delivering solutions that make our lives and business processes more enjoyable, efficient and safe.

Happy Marketing!

Social Media and the Leaders of Government and Industry

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Wow! Who would have envisioned that social media would have evolved
from kids chatting with each other to the titans of government and industry actively using social media to broadcast their messages? Why not? It’s a viable communications medium. In looking at this through the lens of B2B marketing, it further illustrates the importance of utilizing different communication channels to reach your audience. It also emphasizes how important it is for companies to be consistent and truthful in their online messaging and address comments and concerns promptly – whether positive or negative.

Posting on social media outlets helps to set the tone of the company, i.e., serious, fun, helpful, educational, technical, etc. Social media is a vehicle to talk about a company’s innovations, milestones, charity involvement and special staff recognitions in a more human, personal way. In today’s marketing world, it’s all about content and getting folks to champion your product or service. There are opportunities that go beyond lead generation. It’s part sales – connecting in real-time with existing and potential customers; part advertising – imparting brand recognition; and part thought-leadership – creating industry discussions. Companies should not be scared of social media. Granted it’s a fast data stream, but if you sit on the river bank with your head in the sand, then your competition will pass you by, even if they have a less featured product or service than you do.

If you haven’t fully ventured into the B2B social media world, we’re happy to help.

Happy Marketing!

PJ Jennings

5 Tips for a Successful Trade Show

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Trade Shows – Done right can be very successful – Done wrong and you waste a lot of money and resources.

During the recent recession, many businesses opted out of doing trade shows to conserve budget. Now, trade shows have been added back into the marketing mix; albeit strategically. Being an exhibitor is expensive, so optimizing every element around a show is vital to get the kind of prospects you’re looking for. Here are 5 tips to maximize your trade show success:

#1 – Message: Define your key marketing message for the show’s attendees. What are you trying to convey to prospects? Why should someone do business with your company? Messaging should be more than you have the best widget.

#2 – Inviting Booth: Is your booth comfortable? Can people easily walk into your booth? Are there products on display? Giveaways?  Are the booth graphics compelling?

#3 – Engaged Staff: Are the folks staffing your booth professional and knowledgeable? You might say this is a no-brainer, but I see tons of booth staff chewing gum and reading their emails instead of engaging folks passing by their booth. Also, are the booth staffers outgoing? Again, this is obvious to many, but I often see engineers staffing a booth that often times are not the best in engaging attendees in conversation.

#4 ­­– Eyes Open: Is your staff working all corners of the booth? Funny how many times I’ve seen booth personnel with their back to the aisle! Yikes! This is Sales 101.

#5 – Promises: Make sure you deliver on what was promised to the prospect. “I’ll send you some literature (white papers, app notes, etc.) or “I’ll have one of our customer specialists give you a call.” Make sure your promises are kept.

With all the activities leading up to a trade show, making sure everyone is ready for “show time” can make all the difference in a successful event. Oh, and one more important tip: Make sure you keep your appointment for selecting your booth space for the next show. If not, you risk losing your seniority and preferred location.

Happy Marketing!

PJ Jennings

Jennings & Associates

www.JandACommunications.com

5 Things Not to Do if You Want to Get Press Coverage

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Based on Jennings & Associates’ 27 years of experience pitching reporters, editors, and producers, we know what succeeds and what fails when interacting with them. First, we tell you what NOT to do and then explain what you SHOULD do to get press coverage:

1) Don’t answer reporter’s questions – Folks forget, especially in the tech sector, that there7768407 are new people coming into your market niche every day. Don’t expect reporters or your target market to know everything about your company or products. Answer questions. If you don’t have the answer, let the reporter know you’ll find the answer and get back to them promptly.

2) Don’t reply to editorial requests – Even if the request is not up your alley, thank the reporter for thinking about your company and use the opportunity to see if there’s a better fit for commentary in the future.

3) PR firm tees up a great article opportunity, but you don’t respond. In today’s digital world, it’s all about content. Your PR firm is trying to position you as a thought leader in your respective market. Content is king, and if you’re not taking advantage of these content opportunities, your competition definitely will.

4) Distribute boring press announcements (yeah, your product is new, so what?). Many tech companies are guilty of distributing press announcements that are filled with technical jargon that only a handful of people will understand. You might say, “Well, I’m only interested in folks who understand my technology.” Yes, but do they really need to understand all the weeds in your technical soup? What they want to learn about are the benefits. How is this new gizmo/service going to help them? This is one of the first questions that should be answered when developing a new product launch and to garner maximum press coverage.

5) Not listening to your PR advisor. Good PR consultants have learned the hard way what reporters and editors want. Most every great PR person has had a reporter hang up on them (boy, does that sting!) because their pitch was useless. They have honed their craft to be interesting, concise and meet the needs of reporters.

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