When the business community and the not-for-profit community find opportunities to work together, humanity wins. However, even as we understand this reality, we are still challenged with finding the right opportunities to make an impact.
For nearly the past two years, Walker Sands Communications has been working with G2 Crowd as their primary public relations agency. In that time, the relationship has created terrific work – Walker Sands has been a pivotal force in telling the story of G2 Crowd. However, we’ve recently joined forces, beyond just work, through a G2 Gives initiative that will make a wonderful investment in the future. G2 Crowd and Walker Sands will be working together to raise funds for a local cause, Chicago Tech Academy.
Chicago Tech Academy is a public, charter school that teaches students with an emphasis on STEM education. Unfortunately, ChiTech faces many financial challenges to provide an advanced education to their students. Annually this public school is tasked with raising an estimated half-million dollars to fill their budget shortfall.
Tim Handorf, co-founder and CEO of G2 Crowd, recognized this shortfall as an opportunity for the Chicago business and not-for-profit communities to work together. With this realization, G2 Crowd launched a new G2 Gives initiative to raise funds to help ChiTech fully fund their education plans. For each review received through this initiative, G2 Crowd will donate $10 to ChiTech.
The team at Walker Sands quickly volunteered to join in this unique opportunity. Together we initiated an internal review campaign. The team at Walker Sands has been reviewing the software and services that they use on G2 Crowd, which rapidly collected reviews and will soon eclipse their initial goal of 100 reviews.
The initiative will also result in some valuable data for Walker Sands. The G2 Crowd research team is collating the data from these reviews and creating an IT Health Assessment for the company. This research will help Walker Sands to better understand which of their solutions are best meeting their needs and which might need to be re-evaluated.
The goal of G2 Gives is to leverage professional knowledge, bring transparency to the B2B market place and help the not-for-profit community through just one, 10-minute review. This initiative is accomplishing those goals and so much more for future generations in Chicago.
This blog post was written by Adam Beeson, director of communications, at G2 Crowd. Learn more about Adam Beeson here.
We are honored to announce that Walker Sands has been included on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies! This is the fifth year we’ve earned this honor, ranking #3043 in 2017. We’re one of 320 companies nationally that have made the list for five consecutive years and part of a small group of only six companies and one of two marketing agencies that can tote this accolade in Chicago.
When we first received this honor back in 2013 we felt like we were really humming along. Since then we’ve continued that impressive growth by expanding into new geographies and new service areas. We’ve added new faces to the team and a new office space to accommodate that growth. And we’ve done tremendous work for our clients – helping to bring awareness, credibility, and new leads to a number of growing B2B companies.
Our integrated approach to public relations has afforded us the privilege of making the Inc. 5000 list for five years in a row. By combining digital marketing and traditional PR strategies, teams come together to tackle business challenges and execute comprehensive campaigns that gain top tier placements, create digital narratives and move a wide range of audiences, all of which is illustrated in our #MakeTechHerStory campaign.
In addition to our integrated approach, our people are what power the award winning work and growth that enables us to stand out among others and make industry strides. We consistently aim to create an environment where our employees are able to do the best work of their careers at Walker Sands. Through company bonding at anticipated annual events, friendly office competitions and special interest groups, we believe we’ve been best able to cultivate an agency that works together to achieve growth and one that strives to approach each road bump and milestone with our three pillars, learn, support and do.
Another year on the list is a true testament to the vision we created for our company over 16 years ago. From day one, we’ve been a team, and we’ve all worked together to make this running recognition and continuous growth possible.
Congratulations to all of our friends and clients, CallRail, Strike Social, PointSource and Billtrust, who made the list this year. To learn more about our listing and those before check out our agency profile on Inc. here and the press release here.
At Walker Sands, our public relations efforts go beyond writing pitches and earning placements. Programs include researching and executing strategies that are tailored to resonate with target audiences.
Likewise, our teams are experts in a multitude of B2B technology industries and have the knowledge to create messaging and creative initiatives that align with our clients’ business goals. PR teams do so by cultivating relationships with journalists and clients to secure top-tier placements and generate measurable awareness.
In the Public Relations at Walker Sands video, Account Director, Allison Ward, and Senior Media Relations Specialist, Kyle Rall, share their tactics to staying two steps ahead of the curve in their respective industries. Watch the video to learn more on how teams support our clients and each other:
In addition to media relations and strategic PR programs, we create solutions for clients through integrated campaigns. Our public relations, demand generation and content development teams work harmoniously to create high visibility campaigns with a focus on engaging digital storytelling.
Watch the Integrated Campaigns at Walker Sands video to hear from Senior Content Strategist, Matilda Schieren, and Senior Designer, Ann Hagner, on how tackling the challenges of integrated campaigns is rewarding and discover highlights from their favorite projects here:
Strategic public relations and integrated, creative campaigns are needed to stand out in today’s crowded market place. Get in touch to learn how the Walker Sands’ approach can work for your B2B tech company.
We were honored to be recognized among Chicago’s best and brightest PR professionals at the PRSA Skyline Awards last night. PRSA nominated four Walker Sands campaigns from 2016, which included a mix of media relations, data driven content and integrated marketing. We were honored to take home four awards — two Skyline Awards and two Awards of Excellence.
We are so proud of our teams for working hard to gain recognition for some of our most exciting projects this year. At Walker Sands we are continuosly humbled by the opportunities we get to produce work for some of the smartest companies at the top of their industries.
Here’s a recap of some of the work we were recognized for last night:
CompTIA: Skyline Award
Our #MakeTechHerStory campaign for CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association for the IT industry, took home a Skyline Award. In 2016, Walker Sands approached CompTIA with an idea for an integrated awareness campaign that would unpack a nagging issue within the technology industry: why so few girls are pursuing careers in IT.
The campaign consisted of a complete rebrand of Rosie the Riveter, social awareness video, strategic media outreach and an interactive socially driven microsite. The campaign resulted in 130 media placements, including 25+ feature stories. The video was viewed a total of 35,000 times, with the Facebook Live! announcement of the campaign reaching 17,000+ viewers.
Label Insight: Skyline Award
The second Skyline Award of the night went to the Label Insight team for their work creating and promoting tandem data studies. Label Insight transforms product data into smart attributes for CPG brands and retailers.
The results of the campaign were remarkable, with more than 130 pieces of media coverage. Additionally, Label Insight brought a new concept to the market, “Transparency ROI,” that changed the industry conversation.
Grubhub: Award of Excellence
The Grubhub team was recognized with an Award of Excellence for their work developing comprehensive content, consisting of blog posts, whitepapers, SEO pages and downloadable resources to help bolster the B2B side of their business.
Through our content marketing program, Grubhub was able to achieve desired results and position themselves as a thought leader in the B2B side of the restaurant delivery space.
Manta: Award of Excellence
An Award of Excellence went to the manta team. Manta is an online resource dedicated to small business, offering educational courses, proprietary research and content, and personalized marketing services. Manta regularly surveys its small business members via on-site flash polls. During the 2016 election season, our teams identified an opportunity to turn these flash polls into a window into the minds of small business owners on topics related to the election.
Using the data derived from the poles, the manta team leveraged existing reporter relationships to ensure questions asked would garner coverage, despite the saturated nature of political news. The program resulted in 232 unique media placements and a twitter mention from then presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Just about every business decision – no matter the magnitude or industry – hinges on a single key ingredient: trust.
The recommendations of individuals with significant industry and social followings carry heavy weight with customers, sparking a growing desire to capitalize on the credibility of an influencer’s backing. To help cultivate trust among potential customers, a growing number of B2B brands are wisely turning toward influencer marketing.
While sales professionals and marketing collateral can certainly help raise awareness of specific products or services, buyers inherently trust people over press releases. In fact, 84 percent of B2B buyers start the purchasing process with a referral.
In our new whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” we’ve outlined the steps you can take to bring influencer marketing to your business. From executing influencer marketing initiatives to measuring success, discover how our approach to B2B influencer marketing can jumpstart buyer interest in new products and initiatives.
Finding a fit
When done right, influencer marketing can be a win-win for both brands and the influencers they work with. Businesses have their messages amplified while influencers get their hands on data-based insights that can help grow their social following.
But as in any other relationship, fit is crucial.
Before reaching out to a potential influencer, take a few minutes to ask yourself, “Is this influencer’s content and audience relevant to my business?” Although it’s always tempting to pursue a well-known thought leader, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to make a big difference in your brand’s bottom line. Keep an eye out for influencers who regularly engage a large portion of your target audience using a tone that aligns with your brand.
Pulling the trigger
Once you’ve identified which influencers you’d like to work with, the next step is to set aside the time and budget needed to bring a campaign to life. Thinking about getting an influencer to promote your next product launch? We recommend spending at least two months researching and reaching out to relevant analysts. The more ambitious the influencer marketing initiative, the more time you’ll need.
When it comes to budget, many of the same rules apply. If, for example, you want an influencer’s help producing a video, be prepared to pay more than you would for a simple mention in their blog post. While nurturing an organic influencer relationship may help you save on costs, it will also take more time. By developing a sound strategy for your campaign and clearly identifying the desired outcomes of the relationship, you can determine how much time and budget are needed to execute a successful campaign.
Measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaign will not only provide insight into an initiative’s ROI, but also highlight areas for improvement moving forward.
Since measurements can vary based on the type of influencer marketing investment, we’ve created a different set of criteria for both ongoing and campaign-based programs. From the frequency of influencer interactions to share of voice among target influencers, each data point can help determine whether the campaign helped move you one step closer toward your goals.
Eager to learn more about influencer marketing? Download our whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” and stay tuned for more content surrounding the B2B approach to influencer marketing.