Holmes Report 10 Jun 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
“Building mindshare.” It’s a concept discussed a lot in marketing and public relations, but accomplishing it is not easy – particularly when a company is entering a new market space. “Building mindshare” was exactly what Calysto was tasked with when it started working with Allot Communications. Allot wanted a larger “mindshare” among potentials customers in mobile, which was a new market space for the company – and company executives also wanted a lot of coverage in media outlets that Allot had not yet reached.
The specific objectives were to increase Allot’s recognition among both more mainstream media and mobile/wireless trades, to clearly establish Allot as a recognized leader in the mobile broadband arena and to drive more traffic to its Web site. The initial budget: approximately $7,000. How did Calysto accomplish this on such a tight budget? Believe it or not, it started the process by strategically releasing just one key document….
Calysto began the process of positioning Allot as an industry leader in the broadband area by creating a “mobile bandwidth trends” story that would appeal to both trade and mainstream media. To accomplish this, Calysto and Allot launched the “Allot Communications Global Mobile Broadband Traffic Report.” The research report was designed to be the first in a regular series that would provide quotable, media-friendly stats on mobile broadband usage. It was designed to build recognition for Allot as a leader in mobile broadband – one that could be used as an ongoing tool.
Calysto knew that getting coverage for Allot in the mainstream media might be a challenge, given the technical nature of the company’s business (the company helps mobile and fixed service providers better manage their IP and broadband traffic). So Calysto made sure that the Allot statistics were delivered in a newsworthy, easy-to-digest report format that focused on consumer usage. Once the message was perfected, Calysto worked to create a “buzz” around the report by strategically timing the release of the report’s findings and making the most of Calysto’s strategic relationships with reporters. Both strategies were of course designed to maximize coverage of the research report and its findings.
Tactic #1: Go Broad and Brief Strategically. Calysto devised a launch plan for the research report that included key trade media as well as bloggers and analysts. The plan encompassed a range of business, technology and mainstream media, and Calysto strategically “pre-released” the news to key media on this list to maximize coverage.
Tactic #2: Use the Right Data. Calysto worked closely with Allot to determine what data would have the most impact. One of the most important questions to answer… “What conclusions could we draw that would most appeal to industry players and the media?”
Tactic #3: Build a Complete Package. The ‘complete package’ made the report easy to digest by including a one-page executive summary, the press release, top line conclusions and the corresponding graphics in addition to the main report. The package was designed to allow members of the media to basically lift portions of the materials provided to create a cohesive, interesting story very quickly and easily.
Tactic #4: Define & Benchmark: By positioning the research in the first report as a “snapshot in time” (the report included only second quarter data), the public relations team set the stage to release future reports. The materials also stressed that the report data was collected from Allot’s customers, which included leading mobile operators worldwide representing a combined user base of more than 150 million subscribers. This established credibility for both Allot and the research it was releasing.
Tactic #5: Present the Data in a User-friendly Manner. Calysto advised Allot to organize the research data based on regional trends (i.e. Global, EMEA, APAC & the Americas) to maximize its appeal to an international audience and to create newsworthy graphics.
Calysto encouraged Allot to think out-of-the-box when it came to releasing the report, which helped maximize the resulting coverage. Calysto provided the report and press release under embargo to several key analysts and reporters. Not only did this build anticipation and excitement among the media and analyst community, this flexible and creative approach was part of the reason Calysto was able to secure coverage in the online version of the The New York Times on the day the study was released.
The coverage in The New York Times was also due in part to Calysto’s high-caliber relationships with tech media, analysts and bloggers, which it has formed by only taking on clients in the technology industry. Calysto’s relationship with Stacey Higginbotham, a writer for GigaOM, played a key role in some of the study’s coverage in the mainstream media. Stacey wrote an in-depth article for GigaOM that was also featured in The New York Times the same day that Allot sent out the press release officially announcing the study, and this column was picked up by CNNMoney.com as well.
Evaluation of Success/Results/ROI
The campaign was a resounding success, securing nearly 20 million media impressions from U.S.-based media alone, which included coverage in the online version of The New York Times and CNNMoney.com. Globally, the report received more than 60 hits internationally within the first week of its release. About 600 copies of the report were downloaded from the Allot Web site within 6 months after the report was issued.
Thanks to the overwhelming amount of publicity generated by the first report, Allot proceeded with its plan to issue further reports and is now releasing them on a semi-annual basis. This has generated significant further recognition for the company’s leadership role in mobile broadband and has resulted in growing coverage of the research data.
• Just 5 days after it was issued in early February 2010, the second report generated around 20 media hits representing more than 2 million media impressions in the United States alone.
• Internationally, Calysto secured more than 100 hits in publications outside the U.S. within the first week after the second report was released.
• In just the first few days after the second report was issued, more than 600 individuals downloaded a copy of the second report – a higher number than the number of individuals who had downloaded the first report in total.
• The release of a third report in September 2010 generated 18 media hits representing more than 2.2 million media impressions and more than 20 hits internationally within three days after its release. More than 700 individuals had downloaded a copy less than 2 months after the report was released.
Ongoing Campaign Results Include...
• Statistics from the reports are now quoted regularly. As one example, an executive from the leading mobile operator AT&T quoted Allot statistics in a speech given at CTIA Wireless this year.
• Leading industry analyst firms continue to express interest in partnering with Allot to co-develop the study (including: YankeeGroup, Infonetics and Informa).
• Key business media now contact Calysto on a regular basis asking for information and data from the report (including: SmartMoney, Forbes and Fortune).
• On a business note, the shares of Allot Communications hit a new high in September 2010 and continue to climb to even greater heights.