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March 10th, 2020

Hazel Butters

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

At Prompt we spend a lot of our days writing about technology – big data, data warehousing, BI, CRM, BPM, ERP, API – you name it, we’re ITK. If it’s got an acronym, or a set of acronyms associated with it, then we’ve written opinion pieces, whitepapers, case studies and news releases about it.

One area that’s always hot – whether the underlying topic is mobile, cloud, BYOD, SQL injections, risk or compliance – is security. Which brings us to a very specific grammar question. Do you ever find yourself pausing and asking yourself, the people around, or the grammar gods: “Is it unsecure or insecure?”

At first, this appears a very easy question. ‘Unsecure’ can surely be eliminated – after all the word doesn’t appear in either Merriam-Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal in the constantly changing world of tech speak. In the technology sector, words and phrases are coined and adopted at the drop of a Zune –  just consider the use of the words ‘virtualized’, ‘de-duplication’ or ‘phablets’.  At Prompt we have to stay current with the market and all of its constantly ‘evolving’ terms and phrases (but we don’t have to like ‘em).

The problem with this example is that while insecure can be used in both US and UK English to mean something that is not adequately protected – for example an ‘insecure investment’ – it is more typically used to describe a lack of emotional confidence or certainty. Yes, some dictionaries will go as far to state the example of ‘an insecure computer system’ and there’s a whole Wikipedia page on ‘Computer Insecurity’, while ‘Computer Unsecurity’ clearly does not earn a Wikipedia page at all. But for many of us ‘insecure’ just doesn’t sit very, um, securely in a sentence.

We can’t help think that an insecure computer system sounds a little self-conscious about the size of its processors, or needs a reassuring reboot up the backend. So where to go?

Well, we like to use either of the phrases ‘non-secure’ or ‘unsecured’. Both pass dictionary scrutiny, and each can be used quite literally to mean ‘not made secure’, which we think is a good fit for a computer system that hasn’t been protected with security measures.

Unless you are an absolute stickler for academic grammar (and if you are then tech buzzwords are going to destroy your finely balanced sensibilities in about a picosecond anyway), then you could arguably use any of the terms mentioned in this post to get your point across. The most important thing then, as is generally the case with most copywriting best practices, is that you are consistent. So pick a term, add it to your company style-guide, share it with your team, marketing contacts and agency – and then be secure in your decision.

Follow Hazel on Twitter at @HazelButters

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May 20th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #10: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #10: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #10

“The sales challenge is the same as it ever was”

It might be comforting to think that ‘sales is sales’ and that nothing much has really changed over the past decade or two. But it really has!  Now prospects are ‘smarter’ – they have access to richer resources of information, methods of researching and channels of communication. By the time you speak to them they’ve already done their research and are armed with a drop-box full of PDFs, a desk full of papers and a head crammed with pre-formed opinions about your company, your products and your competitors. It’s vital that you demonstrate your awareness of this fact and come to the conversation ready to ‘restart’ it at the right point so you can best understand, and serve, them.

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May 11th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #8: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #8: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #8

“Your prospects value your customer success stories”

Do your prospects really read, believe and find great use in the case studies that you created with past customers? Prospects are more used to being marketed to than you might think, and most now have very active marketing and sales BS monitors! Steer well-clear of cookie-cut formulaic success stories that espouse the virtues of your own business. Instead create authentic, genuine stories that focus on the business benefits to customers in a broad range of industries or sectors, maximizing the chance that prospects will identify with your existing customer base.

 

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May 4th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #7: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #7: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #7

“Potential customers care about your company”

One day, when they regard you as a trusted partner, your prospects might genuinely care about your company, its position and its successes. But right now all your prospects really care about is their own success. While they will certainly want to conduct due diligence and check that you aren’t about to go bust while supporting them, most prospects really won’t care about all your successes. Endorsements may be a key part of building up authority, but the sale isn’t about your company, it’s about theirs.

 

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April 29th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #6: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #6: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #6

“Prospects want loads of technical information”

Of course you need to have complete details of all the products, services, platforms and customizations you offer available on request. But there is no need to bombard prospects with complex tech details from the get-go and risk scaring them away. Sharing vast volumes of technical information, specs and customization details with prospects early in the sales cycle does not close the deal any faster, and could actually deter potential customers.

 

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April 17th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #5: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #5: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #5

“Prospects love to hear from you, and listen to everything you say”

They may be prospects to you, but to other people they are employers, employees, colleagues, partners, peers, investors and more. Your prospects are busy people and are not hanging on your every word, however carefully sculpted those words might be. So don’t shout more or louder; say more interesting things and be ready to share content that interrupts and disrupts. Linking PR activities with sales wins in your communications provides the best chance to engage and excite prospects sufficiently to get the chance of a fuller conversation.

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April 13th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #3: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #3: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #3

“Fear (FUD) is an acceptable way to engage prospects”

Fear, uncertainty and doubt – or FUD – is a well-established tactic used in sales, PR and marketing. It attempts to influence the decisions of prospects by exposing their pain-points and appealing to their predominant concerns. While prospects will always appreciate genuine empathy and understanding of the common business challenges they face, it is no longer acceptable to play the FUD card without also offering real-world, practical advice for identifying and counteracting these same issues. Your PR, messaging and sales communication should be about possibility – not fear.

Missed the previous myths? Check them out here.

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April 10th, 2015

Hazel Butters

Myth #2: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #2: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success. Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #2

“Complicated technology demands complex communication.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. In order to help marketers and entrepreneurs in high-tech businesses communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences, it’s vital to create messaging that is clear, honest, uncomplicated and presents practical solutions to real-world business problems. It doesn’t matter whether you manufacture MPLS routers, secure mission-critical applications, have software that delivers phenomenal online transaction processing speeds – the simplicity of the message is not just possible, it’s essential.

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March 2nd, 2015

PromptBoston

The Prompt Byte – Rising Stars: Riskified

The Prompt Byte – Rising Stars: Riskified

Working in technology hubs on either side of the pond, at Prompt we’re always keen to get to know more about the innovators on our doorsteps in Boston and London. Each week, we’ll interview a local startup to learn more about technology and inspiration that can be found at home.

We caught up with Andy Freedman of Riskified; a company dedicated to eliminating the security risks and inefficiencies in the world of eCommerce. The Israeli startup has recently opened a new Boston office and we’re here to find out why.

  1. Tell us a bit about what Riskified is all about and how it got started. Riskified is an end-to-end risk management solution. We help more than 2,000 eCommerce merchants to prevent online fraud by reviewing, approving and guaranteeing their orders. We launched Riskified with a goal to build the world’s best eCommerce fraud team. We stop online fraudsters and allow merchants to focus on growing their business without fear of fraud.
  1. What does innovation mean to you? 
Innovation is the ongoing process of solving real customer pain. It involves endless iteration, learning by doing, and constantly validating your product or service by maintaining an active conversation with customers.
  2. Why is Boston such a hotbed for innovation? 
As an Israeli startup opening our first US offices in Boston, there are several similarities between our two vibrant startup communities. As well as boasting a wealth of talent, Israel and Boston also share a sense of passion and pride for their local ecosystem. Each community seizes every opportunity to collaborate, rejoice in success and be vocal advocates for startups on a global scale.
  3. Do you have any concerns about Boston’s growth and innovation culture?
I think it is natural to fear that successful Boston startups will be lured away into other markets on the promise of greater exposure and financial gains. However I believe that a key driver for the incredible growth we are seeing in Boston is a shared sense of pride in making Boston a global powerhouse across a wide-range of industries.
  4. What are some of the trends and challenges you’ve seen in the Boston tech scene?
Having spent time living in both Palo Alto and Tel Aviv it has been fun to watch Boston’s emergence as a consumer technology powerhouse, alongside traditionally strong industries like SaaS, biotech and robotics. I look forward to seeing Boston continue to attract tech companies of all stages from other global communities – like Israel, Europe and Asia – and continue to expand our international reputation.
  5. If you weren’t based in Boston which city and/or country would you want to be based in and why?
I may be a bit biased but Tel Aviv, hands down. Despite the massive weather upgrade (it will be in the 70s and sunny all next week), the number of game-changing products and services being built in such a small country is inspiring to be around.
  6. Name a piece of technology you’ve bought personally that you love – either recently or in the past – and why you bought it. 
I finally started using my Cuisinart Food Processor that was given to me as a wedding present almost 4 years ago. Now I’m addicted. I’m looking for any recipes to try, so if you’re reading this and have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

To learn more about Riskified, browse their site or follow them on Twitter.

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February 6th, 2015

PromptBoston

The Prompt Byte: Rising stars – Usability 24/7

The Prompt Byte: Rising stars – Usability 24/7

Working in technology hubs on both side of the Atlantic, we’re always keen to know more about the innovators on our doorsteps in Boston and London. Each week in our newsletter – The Prompt Byte – we interview a local startup to learn more about technology and inspiration that can be found at home.

This week, we garnered some great insights from Paul Blunden, creator of Usability 24/7 – a UK-based innovator revolutionizing multi-platform user experience. Get in touch with them on Twitter at @Usability247.

  1. What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is all about improvement. In some instances it means being brave enough to challenge the system. In others, it involves painstaking work to bring about incremental gains that result in positive change. It can be the work of one person or a team collaborating. It may not be a lightning bolt moment, but instead something seemingly trivial that still brings about a positive change. In the age in which we live technology is very exciting, but it is not the limit of innovation. In my view process innovation can be just as rewarding.

  1. Please tell us about Usability24/7’s vision.

Our vision is to change the world one interface at a time (if we have to). We want everything to be usable everywhere, for everyone all of the time. If we achieve this then it will be better for businesses and better for consumers. No one has ever disputed the ROI of user experience (UX) and usability research with me. In fact, most agree that it’s a good thing. And yet not all companies invest in it. I set up Usability24/7 to address this contradiction. In order to achieve our vision we are building an international network of senior, experienced UX researchers accredited to our quality standards. We are making sure that they are familiar with our methodologies, all of which have been designed to be repeatable so that outcomes are not entirely determined by those conducting the research. We’re structuring our services in a pragmatic way so that our customers don’t feel that they are paying for things they don’t need. We have invested in technologies to allow us to conduct research with almost any device in almost any location, and then stream that research to the client wherever they may be. If the client doesn’t want a report then that’s fine; we simply provide a verbal debrief instead. It’s all about being customer-centric and delivering services that are easier to understand and buy, while at the same time ensuring that the value in the deliverable is clear for the client.

  1. What do you predict or look forward to in 2015 with regards to London’s innovation culture?

It’s a really exciting time for London. We’re attracting talented people and combining that talent pool with investment capital and facilities. Incubators and hubs like the Google Campus are providing an environment where people can get together and develop their ideas. The job market for graduates is tough but I think that may drive innovation too. Young people, who can often be more fearless around innovation, strive for opportunities for work experience, and work harder to get their ideas off the ground. Major technology brands are injecting greater funds into the digital industry and driving individuals and organisations to be more innovative. This enables places like the Flux Innovation Lounge, which is genuinely driving innovation, to exist at all. Ten years ago these levels of financial investment simply weren’t available from big brands, and so the scale of innovation was different and the culture more constrained.

 

  1. What trends and challenges have you seen in the London technology scene?

A slightly worrying trend I have seen over the past few years is that in some areas innovation and design seems to have become disconnected with users. UX designers are increasingly expected to act as proxy for understanding the user, but not everyone is Jonathan Ive! This is a major challenge because as mobile adoption has increased our understanding of user behaviour struggles to keep pace. Users, consumers, customers – whatever we want to call them – are using technology in ways that we don’t fully understand. For example, users complete activities across smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops, often using all devices to complete a single task. Technology is not designed to track that diversity of horizontal behaviour, and is generally more suited to vertical action. This situation is going to become more complicated with the arrival of wearable technology into the main stream (think Michael Gove’s smartwatch), swiftly followed by different interface and display metaphors. All this in addition to putting remote drones in the hands of the public at large! With so much innovation and new technology reaching consumers, ensuring that it supports user behaviour is a major challenge. It can make or break an idea, however good that idea is. Innovators need to find new ways to understand users, get their ideas tested, and not be put off by failure.

  1. If you could meet any single innovator (alive or historical) over a coffee, who would you like to meet? What would you ask them or tell them about?

I’d like to meet Sir Ken Robinson, an innovator in the area of creativity in business and in education. I think he has answered almost every question I have about how we can help people be more creative so I would simply tell him what a profound impact he has had on me and the way I think about myself, run my business, motivate my colleagues and bring up my children.

  1. Please name a piece of technology you’ve bought personally that you really wanted, and why you bought it.

I’d prefer to talk about a number of pieces of usability technology which together fix a big problem in mobile research. It took me months to identify all the elements and work out how to use them together, but what they do is enable us to intelligently research people using mobile phones. The only alternative methods available previously involved attaching a camera to a phone or a person, and then have a researcher lean over the shoulder of the participant. Either that or use a software solution like Reflector which often proved unreliable over wireless networks. The new technology I’ve assembled now allows me to display the screen of a mobile phone on a test laptop which a researcher can see easily. We can then record and even stream the results to clients viewing remotely. It has literally changed the way in which we work, and it’s brilliant.

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January 30th, 2015

PromptBoston

The Prompt Byte: Rising stars – Mobco

The Prompt Byte: Rising stars – Mobco

Working in technology hubs on both side of the Atlantic, we’re always keen to know more about the innovators nearby. Each week in our newsletter – The Prompt Byte – we interview a local innovator to learn more about technology and inspiration on both sides of the Atlantic.

This week, we talked with Ulrik Van Schepdael, the founder of Belgium-based Mobco. Mobco is helping companies mobilize their IT infrastructure with secure device management and mobilizing applications.

  1. What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is for me the practical application of an invention (technology, process, ….). One of the key roles of our company is just to do that for our customers. We scan the mobile technology, apps and possibilities and translate that into practical and applicable “tools” for our customers businesses.

An iPad in business is not an innovation as such, but the fact we can remotely configure those devices and enable mobile sales or field force to do their job more efficiently, that’s innovation.

  1. Tell us about Mobco’s vision:

There is an evolution ongoing where the IT department gradually no longer

‘purchases’ employee hardware. Focus now goes to the management of the Corporate Data and Apps on those devices. That’s certainly true for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but this is also the trend we see happening with Macbooks and Windows 8.1/10. In our vision we see IT evolving from controlling hardware to controlling data. Our job, our mission, is to support the business in that transition, hence our baseline: ‘we mobilize your business’.

  1. What do you predict or look forward to in 2015 with regards to Belgium’s innovation culture?

When we started 5 years ago with Mobile Device Management people looked at us and asked us ‘why’? Today, we see that every IT integrator has a mobile offering, and that’s great. Mobile is generally accepted in the business, no doubt about that. For 2015 and beyond, this mobile innovation trend is becoming more

important than ever before: companies are actually thinking mobile first. Or better – they’re basically thinking out of the (PC) box. This opens new opportunities and new possibilities. Doing business in Belgium is typically only possible on a small scale given the size of the market, the language. With the rise in importance of mobile technology, it’s no longer an issue and the market is global.

Nobody in our region should feel like “if I’m not in Silicon Valley, I will fail.” On the contrary, you’re better of NOT being in SiliconValley – the talent you need might live next door and you will not suffer from fierce HR competition to get it. Traditional businesses need to re-invent themselves (see the rise of online sales versus traditional sales) and new technology brings new opportunities for innovation, also on a small scale.

This is for me the trend forward, it’s smaller IT companies, innovative companies with in-house expertise. Companies with a focus. You could basically compare it with the trend we’ve seen in retail, we all saw the small shops disappearing in favor of the oversized supermarkets.

The consumers are turning their back to supermarkets if they want special advice, but for fast shopping of the basics the supermarket is fine. Bottom line; in IT we see the large integrators and operators suffering from cloud services which are providing the ‘basics’ and we see small expert companies providing the ‘top value’ the business needs

  1. What are some of the trends and challenges you’ve seen in the Belgium technology scene?

The challenge in Belgium is currently no different than anywhere else. I believe we have just as much talent as anywhere else. This makes the challenge universal.

Business apps that are specific to the local economy and focused on the business are the 2015 opportunity.

  1. If you could meet any single innovator (alive or dead) over a coffee, who would you want to meet?

Steve Jobs would be top of mind. I admire the way he built values that are used today to create new products and the way he took the computer industry from “look how fast this PC is” to “look what you can do with this device” – an innovation on its own.

  1. Name a piece of technology you’ve bought personally that you really wanted (recently or a past purchase) and why you bought it.

I buy a lot of stuff and not all experiences are brilliant I must admit… but there is one I want to share with you and that’s the Harmony Home Hub. This ‘hub’ is simple to set-up, simple to use and combines basic technologies to deliver a user experience you’re looking for.

It combines Bluetooth for your remote control, no more point and shoot to reach the TV or amp, it interprets your commands into signals IR to different devices at once and you control the whole set-up over Wi-Fi via a web interface that knows just about any brand and device out there.

It comes for 100 USD and solved all my home remote problems. I’m not saying we’re doing the same in our business, but we do simplify the life of the IT admin and take away the mobile complexity. At the same time we enable more functionalities on the mobile devices and we do bring a brilliant user experience to the employee!

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January 3rd, 2015

PRISM PR Insight Sales-based Marketing methodology

PRISM PR Insight Sales-based Marketing methodology

Prompt PR’s PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes that are necessary to plan and execute sales-guided PR in alignment with your sales objectives. PRISM tracks specific engagement and interest from target audiences so that PR has a demonstrable return on investment and a set of metrics that is relevant to your business-level objectives.

Prompt’s PRISMSM methodology consists of planning, execution and online tools that gives technology marketers the basis to understand, plan and use PR to help drive sales and to measure the impact of PR and marketing from the most important metric to any business: sales.

Now you can measure your PR spend against the leads and sales that it generates.

The PRISM framework consists of several steps:

  1. Scope analysis: sales and marketing review and revenue goals
  2. Internal process review: including PR pipeline/plan, target audiences, sales processes, need-discovery conversations (based on SPIN Methodology)
  3. External process review: including prospect-base perception
  4. Lead generation triggers: adding lead-generation context to PR and content
  5. PR and sales messages: synching up sales conversations with PR and insight content
  6. Campaign and content creation: setting up the underlying technology, mapping out lead generation flow, preparing content in line with the PR plan, writing insight content
  7. Triggers, entry points and feedback points: linking PRISM to existing systems, internal sales, and corporate databases
  8. Reporting: including metrics, lead generation statistics, sales-focused reports and ROI

To find out more about PRISM and sales-based marketing, contact us today via prism@prompt-pr.com.

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