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Don’t Talk About It, Be About It – Lessons from the NFL

10 September 2014 by

Growing up, many of us often heard the old adage “actions speak louder than words.” And, as much as public relations professionals strive to build images and change behaviors with our strategies, perfectly planned events and clever copy, sometimes the best p.r. is action.

Case in point is the Baltimore Raven’s recent decision to cut one of its players after a disturbing video surfaced of the star running back punching his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

The video didn’t leave much to question and also left the team without any possible way to spin the incident into something other than it was – a case of domestic violence that left the player’s fiancée, (now wife), unconscious on the elevator floor.

Whether you’re a football fanatic or someone who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials, you’re probably well aware of the growing popularity of the sport in the U.S. and abroad. Beginning in the 2007 season, the NFL has hosted games outside of the U.S.

And, according to Forbes, the average NFL team is currently valued at more than $1.4 billion. That makes the NFL and its teams very much a business – a business that like any other must take actions to protect its reputation.

Talking points have their place in the NFL. And, there are teams and players who are doing wonderful things in the communities in which they play and live. Those deeds should be promoted.

But, when something as egregious as that infamous video comes to light, there’s no hiding behind a press release. The only course of action is immediate and swift action. Or in other words, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

B2B Tech Marketing Lessons from the ALS Ice Bucket Campaign

27 August 2014 by

No one can deny the great success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. Its success has even caught its creator, Pat Quinn, off guard. He states, “I couldn’t imagine it would be like this. It’s been unbelievable.” He’s right – it is now a worldwide social phenomenon.

Marketers and agencies across the globe are being asked by their bosses and clients, “Why can’t you do a campaign like that for us?” Of course, it is easy to know when a viral (or guerilla) campaign is actually going to work after the fact. But, it is quite difficult to know ahead of time whether something is going to take off, particularly when it depends on user participation to not only succeed, but to fuel the flame of it going viral.

We are often asked if these types of campaigns have any lessons for B2B technology marketers, who tend to target “serious” business people within a corporate setting. Am I really going to get a CFO to do this type of campaign in a work setting, in front of peers, or by challenging peers?


Ice Bucket Challenge

Applicable to B2B Marketing?


It is much harder of course to execute a campaign like this within a B2B setting, because people are paid to do a job, not to participate in selfies and promote themselves in the process. Nevertheless, there are some serious lessons here from the ALS Ice Bucket campaign which should not be ignored.

  • First, when planning a campaign, particularly if it is viral, plan ahead on what you are going to do to get it started and make sure the flame continues. PR and corporate communications can play a vital role in supporting the initial efforts at having the campaign build some initial steam. You cannot necessarily create the snowball effect, but you can give the snowball a push at the beginning. Have a backup plan for how to get the campaign reinvigorated if it does not takeoff as initially planned.
  • Second, remember that even in a corporate setting, everyone loves a challenge, a contest, or a chance at winning something. Ice Bucket challenge works because it puts people on the spot to do the right thing. They win simply by participating and getting to challenge another. The “I dare you” part of this campaign is what makes it a must do for the next person.
  • Third, people are more likely to accept a challenge or incentive if it benefits others more than themselves. This seems counter-intuitive, but we have often found that a person is more happy to have $25 (or $50) given to their favorite charity than to receive it for themselves when they are asked to do something such as completing a survey. This is part of the ALS campaign genius – the end result is that it is being done for a charity not for oneself. People who participate can feel good about themselves.

In sum, what does this mean for B2B technology? Remember, you cannot control the outcome of a viral campaign, but you can try make it fun to increase chances of it taking off.

Tie it to something the individual within a company cares about. Challenge them to post themselves using your product in a selfie, but incent them to do so. Even better, ensure the incentive is for a charity they care about.

Keep it professional, but let customers run the show. Connect them to prospects through the campaign. It may not generate the notoriety of the recent Ice Bucket Challenge, but it may help put some new prospects in your pipeline and some new revenue towards your bottom line.

Technology in Georgia Leads the Way

26 August 2014 by

A few Arketians attended the PRSA Tech SIG event last week where TAG President Tino Mantella shared insights into the state of Georgia’s technology industry. Below are a few takeaways that we hope you can take pride in and share among the tech community!

AG president, shares insights on Georgia technology industry

Tino Mantella, TAG president, shares insights into the state of Georgia’s technology industry at the PRSA Tech SIG event.


  • Georgia’s technology companies continue to generate more jobs at a higher rate than the national average
  • Georgia leads the nation in six main areas: health IT, financial technology, marketing automation, logistics, mission critical (data centers) and entertainment marketing
  • Augusta is currently one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the nation
  • Fun fact: 70 – 80 percent of payment processes in the US flow through GA (making the fin tech sector HUGE)
  • STEM occupations are predicted to increase in Georgia by more than 22,000 during the current decade

For more tech insights, check out the complete 2014 State of the Industry Technology in Georgia Report at

The Integral Role of PR for Social Change

23 July 2014 by

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a PRSA and BPRS luncheon at the newly opened Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. There, Doug Shipman, the Center’s CEO and executive director, and Alexis Scott, the Center’s vice president of member relations, spoke to local PR professionals about the role of communications in the Civil Rights Movement and how communications strategies – including social media – lend a voice to human rights movements across the world today.

While Shipman and Scott emphasized a number of great points (of PR for social change) throughout the luncheon, three in particular stood out:Center for Civil and Human Rights

  1. Know your target – Many communications professionals make the mistake of trying to reach everyone with their messages, when in reality, only a select few people are needed to actually make a difference. Make sure you truly understand your target market before disseminating your key messages.
  1. Edit, edit, edit – Did you know that for every speech Dr. Martin Luther King gave, he wrote up to eight drafts beforehand? (You can actually view his many drafts in the Center for Civil and Human Rights!) Though Dr. King wasn’t born a remarkable public speaker, he used the art of editing to perfect his speeches and effectively touch millions.
  1. Stay social – Even though the Civil Rights Movement took place long before the days of Facebook, broadcast media – particularly radio – played a huge role in uniting activists. Since then, Facebook and Twitter have strengthened the power of digital activism, making social media an even more valuable tool for communications professionals today.


Can you think of any other communications strategies used during the Civil Rights Movement? How about in human rights movements across the world today? If so, please share them with us!


Word Crimes With “Weird Al” Yankovic

17 July 2014 by

As a child of the 80s “Weird Al” Yankovic resonates with me…and as a PR pro that has to write all day, so does his newest video –  Word Crimes!

Check it out:


Some of our pet peeves include:

  • “over” vs. “more than” - Over can be a preposition or an adverb. More than means “in excess of” when followed by a number or an adverb of quantity.
  • “uninterested vs. disinterested” – These are not synonyms. Uninterested means “not interested.” Disinterested means “impartial.”
  • “affect” vs. “effect” – Affect is a verb and means to influence something. Effect is commonly used as a noun meaning the result or impact of something, an outcome.


Are there any word crimes or grammar pet peeves you can’t stand? If so, let us know!


5 Must-Haves for a Buyer-Centric B2B Website

1 July 2014 by

We all know that your company’s website is the first place prospects go to learn a little bit more about you. However, the question remains: Is your website making the impact you want?

It isn’t? No worries, because Arketi’s Jim Densmore is here to share five must-haves for every buyer-centric B2B website!

Tip #1: Develop fresh and relevant content

Video Transcript: 

Your company’s website is the first place anyone, and most everyone, goes to understand who you are and what you do. To ensure your website is making an impact with visitors, the following are the top five must-haves for a buyer-centric B2B website.

First, develop fresh and relevant content. This will boost your search performance, and keep prospects engaged and moving through the sales cycle.

Second, use a content management system. This will empower your marketing team to easily make updates and keep the site fresh.

Third, install analytics and pick five metrics to regularly monitor. Data only has value if you actually look at the numbers.

Fourth, integrate your site with a marketing automation system to track prospects. You can nurture their interest in your product and close more business.

Fifth, include a corporate blog. A blog post usually gets read more than most static content pages. They highlight your company’s expertise, and Google loves frequently updated blogs.

And there you have it – five must-haves for a buyer-centric website. Try incorporating some, or all, of these tips to engage more prospects, encourage them to identify themselves, and foster relationships – which will ultimately lead to more sales.

Weekly B2B News Round-Up for June 23, 2014

27 June 2014 by

Here are the top 10 business-to-business PR and marketing articles from this week. Hope you enjoy!

The State of Marketing and PR in 2014: Myth Versus Reality
Ad Age
Vocus worked with Virginia-based Market Connections, Inc., an independent research firm, to understand how social and digital media are changing marketing and PR. We discovered that some commonly held beliefs about content marketing and SEO adoption are more myth than reality. That being said, the results showed us that progressive strides are being made in the two industries.

The Dying Art Of Leaving A Voicemail
Business Insider
The New York Times took a look at the state of the voicemail in this story by Teddy Wayne. To that all-important demographic known as “the millennial”, the voicemail is antiquated at best and quickly approaching obsolescence. Texting is on the rise, according to a Pew report, with teens sending and receiving a median of 60 messages per day in 2011, up from 50 per day in 2009. And a text can effectively serve the same purpose as a voicemail — it’s a communiqué for the recipient to catch at his or her convenience.

Here’s one way to fix boring meetings
Washington Post
Stand-up desks are all the rage in many workplaces. Maybe the next trend should be stand-up meetings. A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that when people stand during meetings, they appeared more excited by their work, acted less territorial about their ideas, and interacted better as a team. [Check out how a few team members at Arketi have set up standing work stations!]

Stand-up desks at Arketi

Jim Densmore, Amy Leefe and Sami Jajeh show us their setup of stand-up desks.


10 reasons people don’t care about your content
Most brands are full of content creators. Content creation was made easier thanks to the computers in our pockets connected to incredible networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This means people want to start a blog or a Facebook page—they’ve seen the power of these channels and they want to “spread the word.”

Edelman Study Finds Consumers Want Entertainment “Selfie-Style”—Immediate, Engaging and Socially Driven Content Are Fundamental to Today’s Experience
Daily Dog
Edelman recently released the results from its eighth annual study on how and why people consume and share entertainment. The study’s findings for the U.S., UK and China highlight consumers’ expectations for unprecedented control over their entertainment experience. “This year, we found that consumers want their entertainment ‘selfie-style’—content centered on them, immediately gratifying, engaging and shareable across their social networks,” said Gail Becker, president of strategic partnerships and global integrations at Edelman, in a news release. “Brands that can successfully deliver or enhance compelling entertainment to consumers stand to gain through positive word-of-mouth and association.”

From Mad Men to Math Men
Marketing Insights
Modern day marketing demands right-brain thinking with a left-brain approach
Suits, scotch and cigarettes come to mind when many people think about professionals in the marketing industry. While the 1960s’ depiction of the advertising industry shown in the AMC TV show Mad Men has garnered widespread critical acclaim, when compared to today’s actual marketing landscape, the show no longer represents reality. The role of marketing has truly changed. The creativity and storytelling that is often associated with advertising and marketing are no longer the only skills needed to succeed in the industry—and there’s enough data to prove it. Today’s marketer has many more channels to choose from, access to unprecedented amounts of data, and ultimately, more responsibility across the entire organization.

5 simple tips for visual branding on social media
The Next Web
Over the past few years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have introduced a series of design changes that have increased the ability to personalize the look of of account pages. To help your brand from getting lost in the clutter, it’s important to stand out visually as images, colors and context are some of the first elements your audience will notice. Here are five things you should keep in mind.

Verizon Reminds Parents That Girls Aren’t Just Pretty but ‘Pretty Brilliant’
Ad Week
It’s 2014. We’re in a post-feminist society, right? Ha ha. Nope. That’s why campaigns like “Inspire Her Mind,” from Verizon, in partnership with Makers, are so important.
The initial spot, which had me tearing up more than the supposed cry-fest The Fault in Our Stars, features a young girl in various situations and the subtle cues that push her away from pursuits believed to be for boys. The campaign was born out of research that shows there’s a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood.

Top Tips to Boost Your Mobile Marketing Campaign in 2014 Revealed In New AWeber/60 Second Marketer Study: Report Also Includes Action Plan to Maximize Campaigns
Daily Dog
Global email marketing software company AWeber teamed up with the 60 Second Marketer to survey nearly 200 businesses from around the globe to learn about their mobile marketing habits, objectives, obstacles and plans for the future. The research identified trends and norms in mobile marketing among small, mid-size and large companies.

5 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Over-Stressed
The Edge
One of the things that drew me to work in PR most was the diversity; the diversity of clients, the range of topics you “become an expert” on, the fluidity in your schedule and how no two days are alike. It’s liberating… but it’s also very consuming. Your brain is always running and playing connect-the-dots between your clients and the seemingly unrelated beats desirable journalists want to cover. And although I argue that those right for the field should thrive in this state, sometimes it can be a bit much. [Insert disquieting yearly statistic where PR is ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the nation.]

Is Your CEO “Totally Committed” to Your Marketing Team?

23 June 2014 by

The annual Ifbyphone State of Marketing Measurement Survey found that CEOs have become increasingly committed to their marketing teams. The 2014 survey measured how often CEOs look for marketing reports, the variety of channels being measured and how marketers are planning to use technology to measure their efforts in the future.

According to the survey, the amount of CEO support of marketing teams is up 8% since 2013 with the majority of respondents stating their CEO is “totally committed” or “significantly committed” to the marketing process.

With increased attention being placed on the marketing team, it’s no surprise that an increase in measurement metrics is being demanded by CEOs. But, what are kind of metrics are CEOs requesting? The ones focused on return on investment and conversions, of course.

While marketing teams may place a priority on brand awareness and reputation, CEOs are after the real meat of marketing goals: the growth of sales revenue, the generation of new customers and the amount of new leads. If marketing professionals want the continued support of their CEOs, they need to produce the information CEOs desire most.

As CEOs realize how huge a role accurate marketing data plays in the growth of their company, they are turning toward advanced marketing automation technology. What does this mean for marketing teams? An increase in marketing tools that allow for easier and faster ways to report marketing information. Hooray!

According to the survey, the most popular results measured using marketing automation technology are:

  • Increase in sales/revenue: 69%
  • Number of new customers: 63%
  • Number of new leads: 58%
  • Increase in website traffic: 53%
  • Conversion rate: 46%
  • Marketing ROI: 45%

As you can see, the metrics attributed to sales growth are being measured the most.

The survey also highlighted the channels marketing teams are taking advantage of to generate high-value leads. The not so shocking finding was that marketers are increasingly turning to mobile platforms to source high-quality sales leads But, less than half of the respondents reported to be using mobile web measurement tools to assess the channels accessed by mobile devices.

So, what could be holding back marketing teams from using advanced tools, like mobile web measurement? Money. According to the survey, marketing teams believe an increased budget would allow them to better measure marketing ROI in the future. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it might be able to buy you the ability to deliver on the measurement your CEO is likely to be demanding.

What about you, do you think your CEO is “totally committed” to your marketing team?  What marketing measurement information does your CEO desire?

Are your CFO and CMO Parallel or Perpendicular?

18 June 2014 by

As the business environment continues to grow at a fast pace, it is critical for the C-suite to be aligned when it comes to making business decisions. According to a recent survey by Active International, businesses whose C-suites work closely together achieve greater business success than those who do not.

According to the survey, 77 percent of CMOs and 76 percent of CFOs believe alignment is important, but only 45 percent of CFOs and CMOs believe misalignment has a negative effect on financial success. With CFOs focusing on the shareholder and CMOs focusing on the customer, it only makes sense that these departments work together to achieve the goals of their company.

Misalignment can have a negative long-term impact on business. Negative attitudes as a result of cross-departmental disagreement can lead to a decrease in employee performance, minimized sales and poor business development. If your C-suite does not collaborate well, it may become difficult to recruit talented people and potential partners to join your business. Conversations about collaboration can be difficult to have because of unfamiliar language. Sometimes employees are asked to work in areas of inexperience, so priorities can be difficult to determine. But, these conversations should not be avoided because the long-term effects of collaboration can lead to a better, more efficient business. CFOs CMOs aligned on business goals

The survey found that the CFO and CMO are most aligned when it comes to their organization’s overall business goals, but are less aligned with the details such as marketing objectives, priorities and the budget. Both CFOs and CMOs agree they are misaligned when it comes to marketing priorities. Only 12 percent of CFOs say their CMO is good at connecting their initiatives to the ROI. This is largely in part due to the fact that marketing goals and successes are difficult to quantify and measure. For instance, it is hard to measure perceived brand value and therefore hard to prove that marketing initiatives have led to an increase or decrease in the ROI. CFOs need to understand that it takes longer to show marketing’s affect on reaching business goals, and an emphasis on brand sentiment is just as important as showing ROI.

So what’s the takeaway?

  • Regular exchange of information between marketing and financial departments is needed to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the details of business initiatives.
  • Instead of shying away from collaboration, marketing and finance should actively look for opportunities to work together in ways that benefit both parties.
  • CFOs and CMOs should commit to the big picture. CMOs should find ways to show short-term successes that point to the long-term affects marketing has on ROI.
  • Marketing and finance departments should integrate their languages and get rid of the complicated jargon. When both parties understand each other, a better forum for discussion and collaboration is created.

Weekly B2B News Round-Up for June 9, 2014

13 June 2014 by

Here are the top 10 business-to-business PR and marketing articles from this week. Hope you enjoy!

Videos may make up 84 percent of internet traffic by 2018: Cisco
Video consumption of the World Cup alone will generate nearly as much Internet traffic as occurred in all of Australia in 2013, according to a new Cisco Systems Inc report that shows growth in Internet traffic is fueled by video. The report, which says video is expected to grow to 84 percent of Internet traffic in the United States by 2018 from 78 percent currently, raises questions about whether Internet service providers should prioritize traffic, which has become a controversial issue.

Two Misleading Words Triggered GM’s Catastrophic Communication Breakdown
I resisted the temptation to write about GM’s internal report on the Cobalt ignition switch crisis until I had the time to review the entire 315-pages. The details of the report by Anton Valukas, partner at the law firm Jenner & Block, reveal a catastrophic breakdown in communication. Today’s column isn’t just for those readers who want to know more about theGeneral Motors failure to recall thousands of cars with safety problems. It offers valuable lessons for any leader who wants to improve the communication of critical information.

Pressure Prevents Marketers From Scoring Their Goals [Infographic]
Can today’s players get their heads in the marketing game? The World Cup is a time for the masters of football to come together, compete, and represent their countries. But these soccer stars aren’t the only ones feeling the pressure to perform. Pursway’s Spring 2014 Survey Report suggests that marketers are feeling it, too. According to the report, 77% of marketers say they’re under pressure to make better use of existing marketing and CRM data.


36 redundant phrases to eliminate from your writing
As writers, editors, and PR professionals, we are keenly aware of having to fight for readers’ attention. My daily sanity check is to ask, “Is someone actually going to read this?” One way I’ve found to help readers is to use concise language and eliminate redundancies. As Strunk and White advise, “Make every word tell.”

Why am I seeing this ad on Facebook? The social network explains
PR Week
Facebook gives users more control over ads, and an explanation. Say you’re an average 20-something Facebook user, scanning your timeline for tips on where to eat this weekend. So why are you inundated with ads for retirement communities? Facebook began explaining why early Thursday, as well as giving users more control over the ads they’re served. The social network will soon allow users to see the collection of data it has stored about them, as well as to change or delete some of that information in an effort to receive more relevant advertisements.

7 Types of Story Ideas Journalists Want From PR Pros
PR News
One of the biggest mistakes made in any conversation is focusing solely on what your needs and concerns are instead of listening to the other person to find out what his or her needs are. You can translate this dynamic to the symbiotic relationship between a PR practitioner and a journalist. A classic mistake made by PR pros in this relationship is focusing on the needs of the brand or client and not paying attention to the specifics needs of individual journalists.

Weathering the Storm
Marketing Insights
What you need to know about cross-channel attribution in the digital age—and how it can help you refine your company’s media strategy. Understanding the consumer’s multiple paths to purchase– both online and offline–has never been more complex. In today’s digital age, many consumers are starting the buying process in one channel and completing it in another. Was it the YouTube video that ultimately converted the consumer to make a purchase? Or perhaps it was a friend’s pictures posted on Facebook that pushed the consumer to buy. Maybe it was a Google search performed on a smartphone, or a colorful display ad seen on a work computer. In this multi-layered buying approach, marketers are left to determine which channel truly prompted the purchase.

Being seen and heard at work
Washington Post
Nick Morgan is a communication coach and the author, most recently, of “Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact.” Morgan spoke about how federal leaders can improve their communication skills with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up their Center for Government Leadership.

Web Video Trends: 81% of Online Businesses in the U.S. Are Now Producing Explainer Videos for Their Websites—Yum Yum Videos Analyzes New Video Trends Report
Daily Dog
Yum Yum Videos, an explainer video production company, recently announced that the Web Video Marketing Council has released its first survey and industry trends report on the topic of online video production for 2014. The report was based on 318 video production professionals across the United States, and the resulting numbers of this in-depth market research revealed that video is becoming an undeniable “ever increasing part of the online marketing, sales and communications mix for most organizations,” as 81% of the market acknowledged that they have already turned their marketing strategies toward online video production, with animated marketing videos leading the charge. Additionally, 68% of them expected their company’s online video budgets to increase during the current year.

1 in 4 CIOs Rate Relationship With Marketing as “Not Strong”
Marketing Charts
Some 24% of technology leaders surveyed from around the world this year rate their relationship with the marketing team as “not strong,” with the survey results indicating that the IT department’s relationship with marketing is worse than it is with sales, finance and operations. While 30% of respondents deem their relationship with marketing to be “very good,” that’s only marginally up from 27% last year. Separately, 4 in 10 CIOs report that it’s the marketing function that owns digital strategy, up from 33% indicating that to be the case last year. Another 4 in 10 say that marketing and IT share ownership of the digital strategy, though that’s down slightly from 44% the prior year.