So at first glance, this headline sounds glib and sexist. But it’s not meant to be. I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here after reading an article on Wyoming Public Media’s website about how women tech PR and Marketing professionals often don’t receive the credit they deserve for a product’s success.
The article pointed out that there are few women developing technology, and since technology is a male-dominated profession, often women are dismissed and their ideas not given proper credit. But one place you see a lot of women in technology is in PR and Marketing.
I was interested to learn that one of the main reasons for the mobile dating app Tinder’s success was due to their marketing director, Whitney Wolfe, who traveled to college campuses visiting sororities to promote the app and show women that it was safe to use. But when a reporter interviewed the founders in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, they reportedly never credited Wolfe with that innovative idea. When the reporter learned that Wolfe was the brainchild behind this strategy, he wrote another story (impressive). She later filed for sexual discrimination.
PR Makes a Difference
A second message in the article was the important role PR plays in a tech company’s success. (See PR Makes a Difference to HR Tech Company.) Often, this discipline is overlooked because investors or CEOs are so focused on the product and not enough on the need for the product to be marketed and promoted.
This was reinforced by one investor, Deborah Jackson, who advocated that PR and Marketing need to be included from the start, not as an afterthought. “It’s absolutely mission critical,” she was quoted in the article, “just as important as the technology. You really need both pieces in order for a company to be successful.”
Take Intel, for example. The article mentioned how one of the most well-known PR companies in Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna Inc. — which, by the way, was mostly made up of women and just happened to be selected as the PR/Marketing firm for Apple under Steve Jobs — came up with a campaign to make Intel the sought-after chip maker over Motorola. With “Operation Crush,” they focused on the company’s service and customer support instead of its technology, resulting in IBM choosing Intel for its first PC.
What’s all this mean? Too often I hear that yes, we need PR, but we don’t have the money for it. Perhaps that tune needs to change. Of course, the product needs to work, be available on demand and purchased by customers. But thought needs to be given to:
What makes the product unique?
Why would (more) customers want to buy it?
How can you persuade people to buy your product (or service) over a competitor’s?
That’s PR. And not making good use of it is like leaving money on the table.
Is your company using PR effectively? Do you have a PR success story that you can share?
Tags: Alpine Communications, media, media relations, PR, PR plan, PR professional, public relations, Wendy Alpine