Paul had some brilliant advice and war stories from his time in Havok, Pirtomedia, Demonware and Plastinum on how they, as a start up, had go out and sell to the leading companies in games and film. Image it seams is vital but not that difficult… or expensive.
I got a lot of great points to take away from the day and here they are in no particular order.
- Start your PR locally. Use it as your training ground to hone and practice your message before you move international.
- With everything showing up on Google do not underestimate local press. A Wired journalist rang up Paul after a story in the Tipperary Star popped up in his alerts.
- Develop relationships with three key Journalists and publications.
- THE trade publication of the industry.
- A national publication
- One international publication.
- Wired is THE publication for a technology company and it took Havok a year from initial contact to getting covered in the magazine.
- The easiest way to get international PR is to get on a plane and go have a drink with a Journalist and start a relationship.
- Journalists do not write for their readers first. they write for other Journalists and their editor. Remember this when pitching a story.
- It’s easier to get coverage if you ‘promise’ to take out advertising in the future. Most trade magazines are run at a loss to maintain an audience for other business activities, events for example. So do not stress too much if you are unable to take out advertising for a long while.
- Third paragraph PR is better for credibility. The public are very media savvy. They recognise a PR piece about a company for what it is.However if your opinion is mentioned in an overall industry piece it lends more credibility to you being an industry expert.
- You are the best person to tell your story. Do not use a PR firm to be the middle man. It annoys Journalists.
- The first sale was for $1 to get past the ‘First Customer’ credibility problem.It was a marketing deal in return for using the customer in PR, Marketing and Case studies.
- There is value in everything you produce. Watch out for opportunities. Havok had an artwork tool to help users of their main product. 3dStudio Max wanted this for their application and it generated a nice bit of money for Havok over 3 years.
- Paul believes Tradeshow stands are a waste of money. Think smarter or of a ‘Meta Stand’.Instead of a stand Havok would organise wacky transport (with a bar) carrying VIPs from a tradeshow to the afters party and again at the end of the night back to their hotels. A fraction of the cost, and more memorable.
- One horror story in the early days of Havok involved 250k on a stand, intending to make a splash. They ended up wedged between Microsoft and Sony who each spent about $10 million to launch their next gen consoles. It almost broke them.
- At a tradeshow in Calais they rented a $20k Yacht and moored it outside the event instead of spending the $200k cost of a stand inside. They also got to save costs by sleeping 8 people and eating on it as well.
- For a tradeshow all you need is you and a laptop walking around. Just as effective.
- In most cases you are not selling your features. What you are selling is reduced risk.Customers assume that your product works. They want to know you will be around in 3 years and will not make them look bad to their piers and boss.
- And last was a question from the audience asking if the Trinity name helped them abroad when making contacts and selling. He said at the time no but after the very successful companies that have emerged over the years including Havok and Jolt Online it can open doors now.