Shift Communications
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry

Shift Communications

Holmes Report

Technology specialist with consumer and healthcare capabilities
Boston, San Francisco


Many technology marketing executives are judged on their ability to generate leads, but most lack the data, IT systems, or methodology to accurately source their leads and measure the impact of their efforts in terms of closed sales. They might not initially expect their public relations agency to provide a solution to that problem, but that’s just what Shift Communications set out to do with its Shift LeadSensor product, which uses website contact forms, call center scripts

and customer relationship management systems to that inbound lead data can be captured, displayed and analyzed, providing clients with a real-time dashboard to track raw leads, qualified leads, revenue from those leads, and ultimately return-on-investment from their marketing efforts.

                It’s a product born out of Shift’s ambition to build “reputations that drive revenues,” in the words of president Jim Joyal, an approach that puts the company at “the intersection of the CEO’s vision, the marketing executive’s strategy, and the sales executive’s field realities” and leads to a focus on developing relationships not with the media (though often through them) but with sales prospects, and creating the kind of messages that motivate purchases. Says Bethany Mayer, vice president of marketing for client Vernier Networks: “LeadSensor offers marketing the proof of our dollars being spent wisely, and that brings more confidence to fund more marketing programs.”

                With 70 people in offices in Boston and San Francisco, Shift has expanded beyond its early focus on the technology sector, but has expanded over the past three years to serve a variety of consumer and healthcare clients. Revenues were up 20 percent in 2005, with new consumer business from Shimano (a multi-billion dollar bicycle components company) and Oakley sunglasses, for the introduction of the Oakley Thump 2, sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player. The security practice is also burgeoning, most notably with the addition of RSA Conference, the premiere industry event. Other wins include Cybertrust, Quantum Corporation, Webtrends, Netezza, and The Churchill Club, whose executive director Christie Valdez says: “Shift is one of the most innovative and accountable PR firms and goes beyond traditional PR by, among other things, providing us recommendations that lead to successful programs. It isn’t content to count clips for its clients. Rather, Shift is about producing measurable results.”

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