We Need a Little PR

David ByrdThis morning Broadvox and Cypress Communications are taking a major step in continuing to grow our company. We are meeting with our first Public Relations (PR) firm. Previously, we have used industry media, industry events and the Internet to gain visibility and to get our messages out. We will continue to do those things but we are preparing to step onto a larger stage. Establishing a relationship with a PR firm should not be taken lightly. There is the cost, which is not inconsequential. There is the strategy, which has to be developed. Finally, there is the actual plan and execution. While this is not my first time working with a PR firm, it is for some on our team and it is the first time I have been responsible for the direction and selection of the PR firm. The pressure is on.

In selecting a PR firm I performed the following analysis by answering these questions:

  1. Who am I missing in my marketing activity? What potential prospects are not receiving information about our company? Is it time to gain visibility with potential financial sources? Can they be reached using our existing methods and expertise?
  2. What kind of agency do we need? Is our focus public relations or investor relations? Should they be industry insiders our generalist?
  3. Can we afford a PR agency? Will the value they bring really offset the monthly cost? What is my target ROI?
  4. After contacting several, which ones seem to fit? Are they the right size of company for us? Should it be a larger national PR firm or a boutique firm?
  5. Did the proposal meet my objectives and requirements? Did the team seem competent? Did they cover the expected activities and present some out-of-the-box items?
  6. Where should they be located? With offices in Dallas, Cleveland and Atlanta, this was a very difficult question. Selecting the right city would have a material impact on our cost.
  7. How did the first meeting go? Did you make the right choice? Did their ideas and the direction of the company mesh? Do you wish you had selected the team that came in second?

Today will be interesting.

David Byrd is vice president of marketing and sales for


, and is responsible for marketing and channel sales programs to SMBs, enterprises and carriers as well as defining the product offering. Prior to joining Broadvox, David was the vice president of Channels and Alliances for Eftia and Telcordia. As director of eBusiness Development with i2 Technologies, he developed major partnerships with many of the leaders in Internet eCommerce and supply chain management. As CEO of Planet Hollywood Online he was a pioneer in using early Internet technologies to build a branded entertainment and eCommerce website company partnered with Planet Hollywood. Having over 20 years of telecom sales and marketing experience, he has held executive positions with Hewlett-Packard, Sprint and Ericsson.

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