Digital marketing digital pr Featured marketing online pr SaaS

Escherman Announces Solution Partnership with Nimble: social CRM for PR

escherman: Nimble Solution PartnerHot on the heels of our our recent Hootsuite Solution Partner agreement, we’ve just signed a Solution Partnership with Nimble, a Social Business Platform that combines relationship management and social engagement into an affordable web-based solution. It integrates LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, email contacts and conversations into “one seamless, intuitive environment, empowering small businesses in today’s socially connected world to attract and retain the right customers.”

As far we know, escherman is the first UK consultancy to attain both Hootsuite and Nimble Solution Partner status. We think this a big deal for a number of reasons. Not least for the world of PR.

Joining the social media and social business dots: training, implementation and management

Consider this question: if PR is about managing reputation – and this is largely done through managing relationships with various stakeholders – why has the industry been slow to make use of CRM style technologies?  Admittedly, CRM software has been largely targeted at sales, marketing and customer service – but given you could easily replace the “Customer” in CRM with “Stakeholder”, why haven’t we seen more PR firms and in-house departments make use of tools like Salesforce, SugarCRM, etc?

Cost can’t really be an issue given that most of those tools are SaaS based and the cost per month per user is pretty minimal.

The truth partly lies in lack of knowledge of exactly how to use CRM tools in a PR context. And possibly the fact that these tools haven’t yet displayed any real integration with social.

So when Hootsuite and Nimble announced an integration partnership back in December of last year, the light bulbs went on here.

We’ve been using Nimble as our own relationship management system for some time.  Aside from being a very powerful system at an affordable price, we’ve always liked its emphasis on integrating social elements.  Now, with a direct integration with Hootsuite, we have the makings of a truly 360 degree view of key stakeholder relations and management. And at a price that won’t break the bank.

We think the fact that we are now official solution partners for both Hootsuite and Nimble puts us in a unique position. By combining our popular social media training services with the ability to help organisations implement a combined social media management and relationship management platform, we can help businesses more rapidly start to reap the benefits of social media – across all aspects of the process. Not least of which we have a particular speciality in understanding the needs of PR firms and in house PR departments. There are many ways in which PR and comms teams can benefit from understanding how to exploit the power of social media and social business – we’ll be posting more in coming weeks about how to get the best out of the combination of Hootsuite and Nimble.

In the meantime, click here if you want a free trial of Hootsuite.

Or click here if you want a free trial of Nimble.

And clearly if you’d like to talk to us about social media training and implementation generally, just email us.

(And don’t forget the social media and digital marketing training we provide via the CIPR).

Digital marketing digital pr General PR online pr SaaS Technology PR Web/Tech

Using Zendesk as a Press Office help desk for journalists

If you think about, a press office is basically a help desk for journalists.

The terminology may differ, but many of the processes are similar. An IT support desk will talk about support tickets – a press office will describe it as a journalist enquiry. Either way, both need to be dealt with and resolved (answered) as quickly and efficiently as possible.

With this in mind, it occurred to me that Zendesk(*) could be a very cost effective way for both PR firms and and in-house departments to manage press enquiries and press information generally.

Set up takes 5 minutes – you have a complete audit trail of how enquiries are dealt with. You can upload lots of standard PR information such as press releases, backgrounders, images, etc. Customisation is straightforward. Twitter integration slick. Plus lots of useful analytics.

And because it is a SaaS based service, you can start small and scale up depending on your needs (it’s ability to scale is amply demonstrated by the fact that companies like Twitter, Groupon and SAP use Zendesk as their help desk software). Cost wise, entry level begins at around £5 per user per month. It’s early days in our use of it, but the potential is obvious.

What do you think?

*Declaration of interest: we are helping Zendesk with PR support around the launch of the new European HQ. But we are also a paying customer – and would happily be using it even if didn’t have Zendesk as a client.

Digital marketing digital pr Facebook Fashion General PR Humour information risk management IT security marketing Media Men's footwear Music online pr Pocket Video Politics SaaS Science SEO SF sharepoint tech pr Technology PR Television Travel Video Weblogs

Recycled Friday: Is £2.5 billion really spent on press releases in the UK?

I was inspired by the following comment from @adcontrarian in his latest blog post:

Because I am a lazy bastard and the thought of writing five posts a week is a constant source of terror, I have decided to introduce a new policy around here. From now on, on Fridays,  I’m going to recycle old posts that I like and that are still relevant. Today is our first Recycled Friday.

What a great idea. Having nearly 600 posts over 7 years gives me a good back catalogue to plunder.

Without further ado, here is a post I wrote five years ago – has much changed? You be the judge.


New survey conducted by Benchmark Research on behalf of Glide Technologies has thrown up some interesting, if not entirely unsurprising, results about the PR industry in the UK today.

The full report is here:

Glide PR survey

However, the one item that caught my eye was the calculation that  £2.5bn is spent on press releases in the UK. This based on the survey finding that 39pc of PR professionals time is spent on creating, distributing, and following up on press releases – and the estimated total size of the UK PR industry at £6.5bn. Couple that with only 32% of releases received by the media being of genuine interest, then I calculate that means £1.7bn is being wasted on irrelevant press releases.

Although I’d take this calculation with a pinch of salt, it would be fair to say that an awful lot of money is still being spent (and wasted) on the humble press release.

The survey also highlighted a clear discrepancy between journalists desire to be contacted by email and PRs who still overwhelmingly use the phone.

I know the reasons for both sides views. Journalists have been jaundiced by too many wasteful phone calls along the lines of “did you get my press release”, or are you attending exhibition X (see Phil Muncaster of IT Week vent his spleen re: the pre-InfoSec deluge of calls asking him whether he was going – Muncaster InfoSec rant )

On the other side, PRs often feel that they will get more “attention” by actually talking to the journalist. Though of course that still means you need a good enough story to give them.

My take on the survey as a whole is that is shows the same old values still apply to PR in terms of media relations – journalists will give the time of day to a trusted source – but even that doesn’t guarantee they will use a story. Perhaps some of that wasted £1.7bn could be spent on training PR professionals to get better at becoming trusted information sources.

Other findings below:

81% of Journalists on a desert island opt for laptop over a phone

Email remains the most popular delivery format for journalists. Fax, post, newswire, PDA and SMS all decline. RSS and IM emerge.

76% of journalists more likely to use press communication with photos etc.

89% of journalists will visit an organisation’s website most of the time when writing about them

Journalist Complaints

Poor use of email (e.g. sending large attachments) accounts for the two greatest online deterrents to journalists

Only 32% of releases received by the media are of genuine interest

73% of journalists think an organisation is ‘not media friendly’ if its online press information is poor. 60% think they’re ‘lazy’, 50% that they’re ‘incompetent’.

Research conducted by Benchmark Research.

Digital marketing digital pr marketing online pr SaaS tech pr Technology PR Web/Tech

Escherman to handle UK PR launch for Pogoplug consumer multimedia device: personal cloud computing for the masses

[wpvideo GOJi2QuW]
You know how PR folk are always “excited” and “delighted” when they win an account.
Well, I can honestly say we are REALLY excited and delighted that we are handling the UK and European PR launch of the Pogoplug from Cloud Engines Inc.
So what is the Pogoplug?
For an immediate sense of its capabilities, have a look at the video above. In simple terms, the Pogoplug is “a multimedia sharing device that gives you more flexibility to store personal content safely in the home and then access, manage, and share it from anywhere on the Internet. The Pogoplug acts like a gateway from your home or office through the Internet. It allows you to access, share and even stream personal digital media directly to anybody, anywhere in the world. Your content always remains physically in your home or office, making it secure, convenient and available on your terms. Pogoplug is perfect for those individuals with increasingly mobile lifestyles and small businesses in need of simple, inexpensive mobile data access solutions. The Pogoplug hardware sports a new design boasting multiple USB ports supporting up to 4 external drives for expanded data capacity. The new Pogoplug also gives users improved sharing capabilities, an easy drag-and-drop interface to create engaging multi-media slide shows, seamless media playback, and enhanced sharing with friends on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.”
Very cool.
The latest version of the device launched in the US last November – and for once, the phrase “universal acclaim” isn’t all hype.  A number of eagle eyed observers in the UK have already been asking when it will be available over here. Well, they won’t have to wait too much longer.  Mid-February is when the product should be available in the UK.
In the meantime, we’ll be doing our bit to keep press and bloggers up to speed with review kit and  information. We will be making evaluation units free for review to relevant media outlets and bloggers in due course. Drop me a line at or Tweet me @andismit if you are interested in taking a look at the Pogoplug.
In addition, Cloud Engine CEO Dan Putterman and VP Sales & Marketing Jeff Fochtman will be over in the UK in early February – we will be organising press meetings and a press/blogger demo and drinks evening in Central London. More details to follow.
Another happy by product of handling the PR launch is that I’ve had a Pogoplug installed at home for a few weeks now. And it is rather good.  I really did get it up and running within 60 seconds.  I’ve been showing off to friends my ability to stream video from a home drive via my iPhone. And they all want a Poguplug now.
And my mother in law who lives in the Channel Islands has been able to view some Xmas videos of my son remotely without the need for me to upload the material to a third party site. Neat.
I’ve also created a Poguplug folder on one of my drives that will over time contain a variety of relevant press and blogger information. If you’re going to walk the walk……
That’s probably enough for the moment. I’ve included below a fuller list of features and benefits. But suffice to say we’ll be talking a lot about the glory of the Pogoplug over the next few weeks and months.
Automatically Synchronize Photos, Videos, Music and Other Selected Content
Users can synchronize their Pogoplug with their PC or Mac to automatically import new content from popular applications such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, and iPhoto. This feature allows Pogoplug owners to “set it and forget it” and always have access to new photos, videos and music from anywhere on the Internet.
Drag-and-Drop Music and Photo Slideshows
Users can easily create and share fun and engaging slideshows using their stored photos, videos and music.  Creating a slideshow with Pogoplug is as simple as drag and drop, and sharing these slideshows is just as easy as ever. Once a user’s link is shared and viewed, their slideshow will immediately begin with the photos, videos and music they selected, playing seamlessly in the viewer’s browser.
Easier Sharing with Pogoplug Address Book
Pogoplug Address Book greatly improves the speed and ease of use of sharing with a user’s friends and family. Pogoplug automatically remembers all email addresses entered in a user’s previous shares – even if that share no longer exists – and makes them available in an easy to use address book to make sharing truly one click away.
Global Search Across Multiple Drives and Pogoplugs
With support for multiple drives on a single Pogoplug (and multiple Pogoplugs on the same account) Pogoplug has added “global” search support across all of a user’s Pogoplugs and drives.  Search filters are now a distinct feature, allowing users to view all of their photos, videos and music in a single organized view, or to search for a specific file across all Pogoplugs and drives.
Organize Your Music, Photos and Videos
Pogoplug automatically displays music by Album, Artist and Genre, and shows cover art for quick access to a user’s favorite music. Photos are now displayed by photo timeline and videos are only a click away, including the ability to watch a preview in the thumbnail itself.
Play movies directly from, or even to the iPhone
Pogoplug now supports the playback of videos directly from a Pogoplug, with support for the most popular cameras, video cameras and mobile phones.  Movies can be shared and viewed directly from the Pogoplug website – or even from an iPhone!
digital pr online pr SaaS tech pr Technology PR

Less is Moore: the rise of “good enough” PR and technology

No, that isn’t a typo in the headline. Less is Moore is the title of an editorial leader column in today’s Economist.

In a timely piece, the article says that we are now seeing a rapid increase in interest in products and services that apply the flip side of Moore’s Law: namely, that instead of providing ever-increasing performance at a particular price, they provide a particular level of performance at an ever-lower price. The Economist describes this phenomenon as “good enough” computing. Examples cited include netbooks, virtualisation and software as a service (SaaS). Moore’s law hasn’t gone away, it’s simply that “more people are taking the dividend it provides in cash rather than processor cycles.

The whole “less is more” (normal spelling) principle is hardly new – but its application is being seen in a variety of perhaps novel areas. Take software development. I’m a big fan of 37Signals, the makers of low cost, SaaS software apps. A couple of years ago, they produced an excellent PDF book called Getting Real. Although ostensibly about software development, as the authors themselves say, the basic principles can be applied in a host of other areas – including PR and social media.

Taking some of the chapter headings as an example, Getting Real is about:

Small teams, rapid prototyping, expecting iterations, etc

Build less, focus on the problem, not your ideas about the problem.

Less features, less options, less people and corporate structure, less meetings and abstractions, less promises.

Constraints forcing creativity. Constraints force you to get your ideas out in to the wild sooner.

Less mass (the leaner you are, the easier it is to change). Lower Your Cost of Change. Be Yourself.

Many of these themes appear elsewhere in the world eg Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Week extolls the virtue of less is more ie cut down on the number of inputs to your life (e-mail, etc) and focus on quality output. This in turn is simply putting the 80/20 Principle into practice.

Charles Arthur at The Guardian has also pointed to a very timely interview with Clay “Here Comes Everybody” Shirky. In it, he makes some very good points about the fact that there is no such thing as “information overload, there’s only filter failure.” In other words, less is more.

Of course, you could argue that the “less is more” principle is related to the concept of “focus”. And just about every business book I have read in the last few years stresses the importance of focus. Trouble is, it’s easier to talk about focus than to do it. People generally don’t know what to focus on – or want some kind of reassurance that if they do focus on something, that it is the “right” thing to focus on.

Personally, I still stand by the late Sir Karl Popper when he said that we should give up the historicist notion of predicting the future and concentrate on solving problems. Choose the important problems to solve – personally and societally – and get on with it.

As management guru Peter Drucker once said: “The only advantage a corporation has over an individual is access to capital”. Of course, in today’s environment, even that advantage is removed.

The world of PR and social media thus has much to learn from the above. Perhaps the time of “good enough PR” has arrived. By far and away my most popular blog post of last year was How to Start A PR Company with Google and a Credit Card (I stand by everything I said in that post, other than to add a few more low cost tools to the list such as the excellent SaaS accounting package Xero).

So for all those folk in PR land who may be losing their job at the moment or worried about losing it, think of this as a great time to do your own thing. What’s the worst that could happen? (As Tim Ferriss would argue, it probably won’t so you’ve nothing to lose).

Yes, we are living in severely testing times – but as mentioned above, constraints force creativity. For all those working in social media and PR – stay small, lean, agile and focussed. Don’t pay lip service to listening. You know it makes sense.

digital pr online pr SaaS tech pr Technology PR Web/Tech

“Software as a Service: it’s about the business model, stupid” says SaaS-IT Consult

A quick plug for client SaaS-IT Consult and their new whitepaper entitled “Software as a service: It’s about the business model, stupid”.

SaaS-IT say that too much focus on technology and a failure to develop new business models will mean many traditional IT industry players such as ISVs and resellers may fail to capitalise on the emerging Software as Service (SaaS) market.

They also say the SaaS market has got more in common with supermarket retailing than traditional IT sales models. Or as they put it, selling cheese rather than technology.

As SaaS-IT founder and partner Anders Trolle-Schultz remarks: “Software as a Service (SaaS) is going to have a major impact on the business world in the next few years. In spite of this, virtually all of the discussion around SaaS to date has focussed on technology – and that SaaS is merely a different technology delivery model. The simple fact is that SaaS isn’t about technology at all. It’s a business model. As a result, mainstream SaaS adoption will require a major mindset change on the part of all participants, not least the existing IT channel. Technology is not the main market inhibitor. We have produced this new whitepaper to help move the debate and discussion toward the real business drivers in the development of the SaaS market.”

Click here to download copies of the whitepaper,”Software as a service: It’s about the business model, stupid”.

About SaaS-IT

SaaS-IT is Europe’s leading Software As A Service (SaaS) business enablement consultancy. SaaS-IT provides a bespoke mix of practical, real world consulting services to allow small to medium size ISVs, value added hosters and mainstream software vendors to optimise their SaaS business capabilities.

Unlike larger generalist and technology led consultancies, SaaS-IT delivers an unrivalled level of business partnership expertise to ensure SaaS market opportunities are properly validated and optimally executed where appropriate.

SaaS-IT consultants have extensive expertise, understanding and experience of local European market conditions and are best positioned to advise on all aspects of SaaS business enablement including messaging, pricing, sales & marketing, demand generation, licensing models, product development lifecycle, and support operations.