Miller/Shandwick Marketing Program
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Holmes Report
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Miller/Shandwick Marketing Program

As the year progressed, the gathering strength for our interactive PR services became the linchpin for our rolling out of additional “extended services” that we have identified as key to continuing the record Year 2000 growth.

Paul Holmes

The Miller/Shandwick Technologies (M/ST) Boston office Year 2000 PR/marketing campaign was designed to increase the awareness of the technology PR agency and the demand for its interactive PR services.  Our methods included the use of a variety of news releases, a themed open house, a targeted media outreach effort, the involvement of our senior staff in a variety of speaking opportunities, and agency sponsorship of major PR industry events.  Our efforts yielded a vastly increased number of major media “hits” for the agency and a significant increase in the number of inquiries for services from our interactive PR team.  As the year progressed, the gathering strength for our interactive PR services became the linchpin for our rolling out of additional “extended services” that we have identified as key to continuing the record Year 2000 growth of the agency’s business into 2001 and beyond.  The results of the yearlong efforts to which the PR/Marketing campaign contributed: Growth of $4.1 million in annualized revenues and the hiring of 36 new employees.
 
CHALLENGE
 
The year 2000 was an interesting period for Miller/Shandwick Technologies-Boston as it introduced a full suite of interactive public relations services, ranging from brand management on the Web, Internet media relations, interactive marketing and Web measurement services.  Although many people were familiar with the agency, they didn’t have a complete understanding of its interactive capabilities.  Further, by marketing the agency’s new interactive PR services, we had an excellent “news hook” to use as a vehicle for talking about the agency in its entirety.  We also knew that interactive was just the first of an extended suite of PR services that would be rolled out beginning in the last few months of the year and into 2001.
 
RESEARCH/PLANNING
 
As it would do for a client, Miller/Shandwick Technologies prepared a PR/Marketing Communications plan that included all the necessary steps to reach the agency’s goals -- to position the agency as the leading destination for the best technology clients and public relations professionals as well as to promote its interactive public relations capabilities.  The plan specifically focused on such items as:
 

       Significantly increasing PR industry media exposure

       Increasing visibility of the agency through networking

       Continuing the agency’s successful placement record of bylined articles

       Creating new marketing/new business promotional print materials

       Refining key and supporting messages
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH
 
Miller/Shandwick Technologies set out to meet its goals in a variety of ways.  The company’s internal marketing team, along with “clients” agency President Tony Sapienza, and EVPs Kevin Rudden and Jane Buggy, decided to expand M/ST’s traditional public relations program by sponsoring major PR industry events, holding an open house themed to the interactive PR services we offer, taking advantage of key speaking opportunities and placing thought leadership bylined articles in key publications.  And after several years of not doing so, Miller/Shandwick Technologies budgeted and implemented an advertising campaign in key periodicals. 
 
CAMPAIGN EXECUTION
 

·Increased press coverage – Miller/Shandwick sought increased coverage in 2000 and received a total of 71 placements (complete collection of clipping available), many of which were of considerable length and substance.  The most impressive and important coverage came in the Boston Globe, PRWeek, Mass High Tech, Inside PR and Boston Business Journal.  For instance, the Boston Globe featured M/ST in a major Business Section front-page feature headlined, “Public Relations for a Wired World.”  It featured Miller/Shandwick’s Tony Sapienza and the agency’s SVP/Interactive Services Mike Spataro and talked about how the agency landed coverage for its clients utilizing interactive PR techniques and tools it had developed.  The story told of M/ST’s work in Webcasting the opening night Hollywood party for the hit motion picture, “Mission Impossible II,” as well as M/ST’s work for the Chinese government in its ChinaTradeWorld Webcast.  This article was a major boost and a fabulous communication of our Interactive abilities.  We also wrote and placed a half-page bylined article by Sapienza in the Boston Business Journal High Tech Quarterly on the subject of interactive public relations.  Additionally, M/ST won coverage on the coveted back page of PR Week in the fall when an entire account team walked on hot coals for a client!  (Incidentally, we now use this article in our new business kits to demonstrate our willingness to absolutely “go above and beyond” for our clients.)
 

·General Visibility and Event Sponsorship – In order to bring more focus on Miller/Shandwick’s capabilities as a technology PR agency, M/ST became a “Presenting Sponsor” of Tech 2000, the PRSA National Technology Section annual conference. M/ST also was a major sponsor of the LycosLabs “B-Plan Slam Contest,” where hundreds of tech start-ups throughout New England submitted their business plans.  The three winning start-ups now receive pro bono services from a Miller/Shandwick account team, composed of a full complement of M/ST staffers, led by a vice president.  In a third sponsorship, M/ST funded a PRSA/Boston “Meet the Technology Press Editors” program. Additionally, the agency sponsored a table at a Boston University College of Communication ‘Young Alumni Council’ auction. 
 

·Print advertising – In 2000, Miller/Shandwick decided that it was time to communicate the agency’s message in new ways, including advertising.  The agency focused on ads in key publications, including Mass High Tech, PR Week and the Boston Business Journal’s Book of Lists.  The goal was two-fold: to interest potential clients in the agency and to attract employees.  The success of these minor yet important financial commitments to paid advertising paved the way for greater dedication to this form of marketing in 2001.
 

·Open House – In June, Miller/Shandwick opened its doors to prospective and current clients, friends, and prospective employees.  The Open House, with more than 150 guests, led to a client win and the hiring of five new employees.  It was so successful that the agency is planning this as an annual event.
 

Continuation of pro bono PR work for the Massachusetts Software and Internet Council  – For nearly 13 years Miller/Shandwick Technologies has been providing pro bono PR services to the Massachusetts Software and Internet Council.  The agency has found the Council to be a great networking vehicle and an invaluable partner on new business issues.  It has also led to speaking engagements for agency staffers at Council events.
 

·Greater participation in awards competitions – In order to increase visibility of the agency’s work, Miller/Shandwick created an in-house awards committee that regularly alerted and updated M/ST staff on upcoming awards deadlines and assisted staff in the submission process.  The committee’s constant efforts have resulted in great improvements in this area.
 

·New marketing material  -- As the agency does periodically, it refreshed its print marketing materials in 2000, providing greater emphasis this year on interactive public relations services.
 

·Speaking at Events – M/ST staffers spoke at a number of venues in 2000, including: the PR Week/UK Edition “reputation.com” conference in London, at a PRSA meeting in Baltimore, at a Massachusetts Software & Internet Council event and in two Fulcrum Industries Conferences, both in San Francisco.  Speaking topics at these events included interactive public relations, how to attract top technology talent (and keep them) and understanding, attracting and effectively communicating with institutional investors. 
 
RESULTS
 
Miller/Shandwick Technologies exceeded its expectations and reached each of its goals in agency marketing and PR during the Year 2000.  It gained valuable exposure for its new suite of interactive public relations services, and it set the table for the Year 2001 introduction of its full “Extended PR Services” program.  The agency made great advances in gaining for itself a thought leadership position in technology public relations, and it supported, through its aggressive media relations effort, an equally aggressive HR program, during which it hired 36 employees during the year.  Senior management of the agency hailed the 2000 effort as Miller/Shandwick’s “best year ever” in marketing itself and its services.

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