BLOGSCANNING by Robert Janelle

Janelle-92X185Flip.jpg“To not use social media channels is not to do marketing in the 21st century.”

Early in the game, he raises awareness by doing
From SCAN's Print Edition

The lead-up to Apple’s release of the iPhone last year saw plenty of hype, but also its share of pre-release criticism. Months before the device hit stores, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was out in the media chastising the device as being bad for business users.
Needless to say, this upset many in the Mac community. One of those people was Alykhan Jetha, CEO of Marketcircle, a Markham, Ontario-based software firm that develops business productivity applications for Apple computers.
Like many modern companies, Marketcircle keeps a corporate blog, giving Mr. Jetha an immediate soap box to mount and respond to Mr. Ballmer’s criticisms.
So on April 20 Mr. Jetha posted a rebuttal, listing the many ways in which the iPhone is an ideal device for small businesses and accused Microsoft of launching a FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) campaign.

While the post certainly got Mr. Jetha’s thoughts off his chest, it served a second purpose: marketing!

His response was picked up by other blogs, which had links pointing back to the Marketcircle site and even scored some mainstream media attention with Macworld running a news brief on their site about the posting.

However, all the publicity the company gained from a single blog post didn’t happen entirely by accident. There was help from Marketcircle’s public relations firm, the Almonte, Ontario-based market2world. It was the PR team who encouraged Mr. Jetha to put his complaints about Mr. Ballmer’s remarks into a blog post and then sent out a press release regarding the rebuttal.

This kind of new-media marketing is all in a day’s work for market2world and its founder and CEO Nathan Rudyk.

Mr. Rudyk first discovered the marketing potential of the blogosphere while working at Databeacon in (later acquired by Cognos which was then acquired by IBM) in 2004. The company was in the process of porting one of their enterprise applications to Microsoft’s .NET framework and learned that this would be the first enterprise app to fully use the framework.
While working out the marketing strategy, Mr. Rudyk was approached by one of the programmers who mentioned he had a blog. Curious, Mr. Rudyk asked how many readers the blog had and who they were. The programmer replied that there were 600 regular subscribers, mostly Microsoft architects and developers.

“If there were 600 people we needed to reach, these were them,” says Mr. Rudyk.

So rather than aiming for traditional media coverage, Databeacon was able to build its buzz by having access to independent developers who happened to publish their thoughts on the web.

This was a lesson he kept in mind when he founded his own PR firm a short time later. After setting up shop in Almonte, he discovered that Ottawa’s technology sector was not taking advantage of the new media tools that were available.

“Nobody in Ottawa was blogging, had RSS feeds or podcasts,” he says.

To rectify the situation, Mr. Rudyk contacted Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation CEO Jeffery Dale about starting a podcast, OCRI Radio, as a way to lead by example.

Market2world continues to lead by example. Its web site [www.market2world.com] contains the usual company mission statement, biographical information and contact info. But the home page also shows the most recent blog posts from Mr. Rudyk and the rest of his staff writing about marketing and providing commentary on the local tech scene.

“We try to share what we learn as we figure it out,” says Mr. Rudyk.

Beyond just looking to the blogosphere for coverage though, social media has a lot of other tools to offer to modern marketers. Through the use of new tools, market2world is able to mount PR campaigns for companies in Europe without ever seeing the clients face-to-face.

The clearest lesson from looking at modern marketing is that the rules have changed, not just for the publishing world, but the marketing world as well.

“To not use those channels is not to do marketing in the 21st century,” says Mr. Rudyk.

Bob Janelle is a freelance journalist who has plied his trade at the Citizen and Kingston’s Whig-Standard. A bilingual grad of Algonquin’s J-School, where he won awards for both writing and photography, he is a self-confessed video game addict.

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