Paul Holmes 05 Jul 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Reuters Group PPC is the world’s largest supplier of information and research for the global financial markets and news media. In 1998, Reuters Americas (the American subsidiary of Reuters Group PPC, here-in Reuters) developed and launched Reuters Plus, a sell-side financial research tool. Reuters Plus experienced great success, leading Reuters to develop Reuters Pro for stock-centric buy-side professionals who require deeper insight and more data than their sell-side counterparts. Prior to this, the buy-side market was untapped by Reuters and dominated by Reuters competitors Bloomberg and Bridge. Reuters hired Weber Shandwick Worldwide to help launch Reuters Pro and position the company as a valid buy-side information provider. It was decided to launch Reuters Pro at the Securities Industry Association Expo (SIA), a trade show held in New York. Weber Shandwick was given the tasks of developing key positioning and messages, creating all press materials, reaching out to media and analysts, setting trade show and independent press meetings, staffing all meetings and following up with all completed appointments/interviews. Overall, Weber Shandwick booked product demonstrations with all of the targeted trade publications, most of which resulted in coverage, all of it very positive.
The main challenge for the execution of the Reuters Pro launch was positioning Reuters as a credible competitor in the buy-side market as Reuters had been traditionally centered on the sell-side retail market and had no prior experience with the stock-centric buy-side.
Reuters had two main objectives for the PR component of the Reuters Pro launch:
To successfully launch and build awareness of Reuters Pro in the target stock-centric buy-side professional market
To position Reuters as a company that has the research, news and data to deliver a solid and comprehensive real-time buy-side research tool
The target audience for this public relations campaign included all buy-side professionals and influencers, including:
- Buy-side analysts
- Buy-side brokers
- Buy-side portfolio managers
- Editors and analysts who follow the buy-side market
Prior to reaching out to the media, Weber Shandwick conducted an extensive two-week internal communications audit involving informal meetings with Reuters department heads from technology, sales, marketing and financial divisions. In doing so, Weber Shandwick compiled first-hand knowledge of launch tactics used for two of Reuters flagship sell-side products - Reuters Plus and Xtra. Weber Shandwick also reviewed products from key competitors Bridge and Bloomberg to gain an understanding of the advantages of Reuters Pro.
Competitive Analysis – Although Reuters competitors had the advantage of past experience in providing the buy-side market with product, Weber Shandwick found that Reuters Pro had the unique ability to completely serve the needs of buy-side professionals. This enabled Reuters to take a strong foothold within this marketplace.
Consumer Analysis – Consumer response to Reuters sell-side tools, Reuters Plus and Xtra, were positive. However, Reuters had no previous products for buy-side professionals. Therefore, pre-launch consumer data was limited to Reuters Pro beta users. All beta users testified that Reuters Pro was in fact a superior buy-side product as compared to other products from Reuters competitors.
Weber Shandwick used the SIA show as the venue to launch Reuters Pro to the media. First, Weber Shandwick developed a series of key messages as well as general product and company positioning. Based upon these messages, Weber Shandwick compiled a detailed media/analyst target list. Weber Shandwick simultaneously media trained Reuters spokespeople, both refining key messaging and positioning, and teaching spokespeople how to conduct focused vocal responses and physical gestures.
Weber Shandwick also coordinated a one-day sales presentation for 30 Reuters Pro sales professionals.
Reuters launched Reuters Pro at the SIA show because the venue was a major industry event that was expected to have all targeted audiences in attendance. Therefore, Reuters was able to reach out to all key influencers and demonstrate the product in a time effective and cost effective manner.
Pre-Show Media Briefings: Weber Shandwick set up appointments with key media/analyst targets for the SIA show. Weber Shandwick also hand-selected three “high-profile” targets and offered them exclusive pre-show briefings.
Pre-Show Media Alert: An alert was sent out to key business, financial and trade media prior to the show inviting them to attend briefings during the conference. Follow-up phone calls and e-mails were done to support the alert.
Press Release Distribution: On the opening morning of the show, Weber Shandwick distributed a press release to all key targets as well as on BusinessWire. The release, along with several brochures and screen shots of Reuters Pro, was placed in a press kit format in the SIA pressroom. This generated additional interest in Reuters Pro.
Post-Show Follow-Up: For media/analysts who were not attending SIA, Weber Shandwick set up phone interviews and in-person demonstrations for the weeks during and after the SIA show.
OBSTACLES AND EVALUATION
The launch of Reuters Pro was extremely successful. Weber Shandwick overcame its main challenge by highlighting Reuters successes in other market segments, such as the sell-side, and positioning Reuters Pro as Reuters entry into a market in which the company is well equipped to succeed. Reuters briefed all of the targeted trade publications; all coverage was positive. In addition, while exact sales figures are not yet available, Reuters believes that initial sales of Reuters Pro will exceed sales figures for previous product launches.
Coverage in most of the top trade and industry publications including: Banking Technology, Electronic Information Report, Inside Market Data (Waters Magazine), Investment News, Securities Industry News, Traders Magazine and Wall Street & Technology. Additional coverage on IT Radio Network and ON24 Financial I-Network. Expected coverage: Global Investment Technology and Ticker Magazine. Informational briefings: Crain’s New York Business, Institutional Investor and Windows In Financial Services.