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Watch Mike Santoro’s Interview on Bootstrapping in America

Jennifer Mulligan

Earlier this week, President Mike Santoro appeared on Tasty Trade’s “Bootstrapping in America” to discuss PR trends and the growth of Walker Sands. Watch the whole interview or take in some highlights:

Where does the name Walker Sands come from?

“There is no ‘Walker’ and there is no ‘Sands.’ The name comes from a poem called the Psalm of Life by Longfellow. It’s all about leaving your footprints on the sands of time…that’s what we do for our clients.”

On the value of a liberal arts degree:

Mike majored in English at University of Illinois and has been very happy with his degree. “If you can write, and you can reason, you’ll find a job.”

Why is PR valuable for B2B companies?

Companies should use PR for two reasons:

  1. Build credibility and awareness
  2. Generate leads

Getting a placement that builds brand awareness is easy. Generating leads is tougher, but that’s what marketers care about.

On the value of smaller companies:

When a large company like Cisco looked for a more innovative approach they looked to several small firms that were well known for running interesting PR campaigns. “There’s a lot of innovation happening at smaller companies. They looked to us when their bigger firms couldn’t deliver.”

What has been the key to Walker Sands’ recent growth?

The key has been focusing on the key practice areas that we understand best. We know tech. When we started focusing on those practice areas instead of entertainment and beauty, we found that we were far more successful.

On the challenges facing him as Walker Sands grows:

“The biggest challenge has been letting go of things. When I started, there were 6 people, and I knew exactly what was going with every single person and every single project. Now, it’s less of that and more managing financials and making sure that we’re doing the cutting-edge work and that we’re pushing the envelope on things.”

Can a company with a great social media campaign fail miserably, and can a company with no social media strategy but a great product make it?

It all starts with the product, but you need to utilize those channels of communication through PR and social to sell the product. “There are things on social you can do such as push more people back to your website. If the goal is to push people back to your product, back to your website, include a link to your website.”

On Walker Sands’ collective approach to PR:

“We tie PR, search, and social together because we think those are the three forces that drive people to buy and engage with your brands.”

To learn more about our approach, click here.