Speaking the Language: The Importance of Understanding Your Client
September 2, 2016
At Barokas Communications, we don’t only wear multiple hats when it comes to our job, but we’re also experts in a plethora of industries. From title insurance and the real estate market, to cannabis, mobile marketing, and sales technology—we master diverse spaces in order to speak the same language as our clients and the media that cover their respective industries.
When it comes to our particular industry, you’ll sometimes hear people claim you don’t have to really know a particular technology in order to promote it (of course, we call a great big BS to that). It’s far from the truth. Knowledge is power, and knowing your clients’ products as well as they do, makes the difference in landing placements in top tier pubs verses relying on low hanging fruit.
Here are a couple tips and tricks we use to successfully integrate ourselves into different industries:
Ramp Up Before They Sign Up
From the get-go, we begin doing our homework. This means when we first approach, or get approached by a company of interest, we immediately begin diving into the details. What does this company do, how do they do it, and why do they do it, are key questions we ask ourselves—followed by who else, if any, are doing it too.
Once we’ve got the basic five W’s covered—who, what, when, where, why and how, we look into the product specifics and dissect the story they’re already telling in order to identify strengths, weaknesses and the next chapter. This not only ensures we’re fully prepared to speak to the space and have a knowledgeable conversation, but it also means from the day we kick-off, we’re able to hit the ground running.
Receive a Sales Pitch
A trick we like to use to get ramped-up on client lingo, as well as product specifics, is to take a briefing from the ones that speak to it the most—the sales team. This gives us insight into the technology from a how-to perspective, and also highlights the key words that best describe what the company does. If we know how our client sells to its customers, we’re better equipped to sell their story to the media. And of course, we take good notes.
Monitor the News
One tried and true tip for understanding a new space is reading up on its current events and hot topics. What terms are consistently showing up in headlines? What issues are they covering and what questions are they trying to answer? This not only teaches you about the space if its new to you, but it also makes for great pitch fodder and helps you build out your list of key media and influencers.
A good goal is to keep a running marketplace news in your head all week long—spending some time each day reading vertical publications, and being able to response pitch as necessary. By engaging with the reporters in the space on a regular basis, including liking, sharing and commenting on their pieces—helps create a relationship that allows for mutual respect and opens the door down the road when your client can be asserted into the conversation.
In short, it’s not enough to just know your client’s industry. To be an effective partner, a PR pro should be as well versed in their client’s space as they are. So learn the tech and be a team player.