PerkettPR Turns 15 – Thank You!

ppr_15_anniversaryIt’s hard to believe that this month, PerkettPR has been in business for 15 years! I started the agency with a vision to deliver a unique and valuable experience for companies seeking a better marketing and PR partner. Although we started with a focus on VC-funded startups, we have expanded our expertise over those years to include servicing some great public companies as well – Fleetmatics, Constant Contact, WebEx, Time Warner Telecom, Juniper Networks and many more. We continue to work with startups that need creative, effective and amazing market launches – and to build crediblity, awareness and engagement for more established companies around the world in the tech, higher education, health care and consumer lifestyle industries.

Like any 15-year-old, we’ve got the energy and excitement to continue with unbridled enthusiasm and a belief that we’re unstoppable. Unlike most 15-year-olds, we know who we are, what we want to be and where we’re going. That’s not only a nice feeling, but a great place to be in order to deliver tremendous value to our clientele. We don’t need to be the biggest, but we do strive to be the best. We don’t need to be the most popular, but rather we’re grateful for the network we do have. (We take great care to support those who support us.) Our corporate vision is to be the most innovative, creative and effective communications partner that our clients have ever worked with.

Thank you to everyone who has believed in that vision – especially clients who have hired us repeatedly over the last decade and a half. To have folks move on to other companies and hire us over and over again is always the best testament to our ability to deliver ROI. I’d like to specifically thank people like Karen Leavitt, John Burnham, Donna Parent, Greg Shenk, Mark Pascarella, Mike Doyle and Jonathan Tang – clients who have not only hired us more than once, but recommended us to others. Thank you to so many industry friends like Jon Swartz, Michael Krigsman, Morris Porter, Stephen Hultquist, Ann Handley, Christen Rice Gentile, Marie Domingo, Mike Pratt, Stephen Dill, Jeremiah Owyang, Rick Faulk, John Jantsch, Joel Libava, Terry Frechette, Robert Scoble, Tyson Goodridge, Sarah Austin, Chris Selland, Aaron Strout, Karen DeWolfe, Dayna Verstegen, Diane Hessan, Kate Brodock, George Hulme, Russell Mix, Jennifer Leggio, Don Dodge, Ramon Ray, Mitch Wagner, Tory Johnson, Michael Arrington, Rachel Happe, Laura Lake and others who have worked with us in various ways over the years – whether writing with or about us, inspiring us through engagement, sharing their opinions on our clients or our campaigns, serving as pseudo mentors and advisors, or simply speaking up on our behalf during times when we could not. Your support – subtle or blatant – has helped us to continue to work with great people and companies, and to learn and grow in a myriad of ways.

There are so many other people – family, friends and of course, current and former employees, even industry “frenemies” – who I am eternally grateful to for helping us reach this 15th year. I have learned from each of you – both good and hard lessons – and I am grateful for such a strong network of intelligent people to learn from every day. I am also very blessed to have such a great group of employees – many of whom have stayed with PerkettPR for more than half of its life! And anyone one who knows the typical retention rate of an agency, knows why that’s such an amazing attribute.

Speaking of our employees, a few of them thought it would be funny to celebrate 15 years by sharing awkward teenage photos of us at that age. Click here to Like us on Facebook and see them – and to find out “What we know now that we wish we had known then.”

Here’s to another 15! Thank you!

Influencers Who Inspire Series: Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com

We begin our PerkettPR “Influencers Who Inspire” series with a chat with Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com.

Ramon is a journalist, technology evangelist & editor of Smallbiztechnology.com, author of “Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses” & “Technology Resources for Growing Businesses” and a national, in-demand speaker.

What made you choose journalism as a profession? 

I didn’t choose it,  it chose me and it was quite accidental. I just really loved to write and so I started writing, then one day Black Enterprise and Inc. Magazine said could you write some articles for us – and the rest is history :)

What four  or five things are always “routine” in your day?

Deleting email, sorting email, sending email, toggling tons of tabs in my browser, wishing I could do puppet shows for poor kids in Mexico, Dominican Republic or somewhere.

Why is small business technology news of interest to you in particular? What has it taught you?

Not sure. I’ve always been a tech tinkerer (as in take apart talking teddy bears in the 1970′s/80′s, shutting off the lights in my home, etc). I think this love of tech and the blend of my love of reading/writing became the love of small business technology news. It has taught me that things change, companies go and come but relationships are forever, ideas are a dime a dozen, successful execution is all that matters.

 Over the years you have had the opportunity to interview some truly great public figures and influencers (such as Hillary Clinton). What has been your favorite interview thus far? Why?

A few things stand out… Back in the days when I didn’t know how to be a journalist I tried to slip Bill Gates a hand written note. His team saw it and took the note away. I didn’t know you were supposed to asked his PR person to interview him. This was many years ago.  I opened an event for Michael Dell and he said he read my blog – that was cool.  Scott Trip founder of TripIt – his story of his company’s growth was really nice (listen to customers). In another context I’ve meet President Obama, President Bush (both) and several other heads of state.  I also really love SXSW and other events where I can meet with my media peers from the world of small business.

What tips do you have to help PR professionals better work with you?

True relationships are so important; where I like you and you like me. Not giving me a story that does not fit. Knowing that I love the story and the market at times more than the feeds and speeds of a product. I like talking to people, but I’m also a massive reader so I get much more (at times) out of some video, blog posts, pdfs and other things than a phone call with an executive running a prepared PPT.  NOTE: the PPT talks are GOOD I just mean that there are other ways to get one’s message across.

What advice would you give to a small business to help them continue to compete with larger competitors this year?

Wow….I could write a book on that.

1)  Be honest

2) Over give

3) Be very excited

4) Do not take NO for an answer

5) There is plenty of room at the table for the big guys and the little guys

6) Fit in where you can and show your value

7) Don’t be afraid of big companies – even those who are direct competitors

8) Big companies who are evaluating you and a bigger one of your competitors will give you a big chance if you’re prepared

9) If you screw up, fess up and OVER make it right

10) I could go on…

You traveled a lot as executive producer of the Small Business Technology Tour and for other events you attended in 2011. What travel secrets save you time, money or sanity when you are on the road?

Plan in advance. Be redundant (I often have 2 notebooks, a tablet and 2 phones) failure is NOT an option. Leverage your network of friends. Pay people (even friends/or “child labor”) for work done (even if you ask for a discount). Review, review, review. Get a team member (I have lots of areas where I’m not so great – hence my team shine in those areas), have a virtual team – even if you are solo,  your virtual 1099 team can do wonders.

How do you unwind after a hectic work week? Do you have any interesting hobbies or little known facts about yourself you would like to share?

I play piano, love doing puppet shows, love joking around and laughing loud, love great food at restaurants (I hate those restaurants that give you a big white plate and a tiny piece of food and charge you $78 for it), watching movies (Bourne, Bauer, Ethan (as in MI3) are my heroes and others like that). But really in my downtime – I TOTALLY ENJOY email, RSS feeds, Twitter – related to small biz tech (I know it’s lame but I really, really LOVE IT).

What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

I’d love to speak lots more to audiences on tech, marketing/pr and/or entrepreneurship. I’d love to provide more content on my own site and for others. I’d love to speak lots more to audiences on tech, marketing/pr and/or entrepreneurship (you know I think I wrote that twice..hmmm). Event production is tough, but I really love it and I think I do it well so working with bigger companies to produce events for their audiences would be like mint!

I’m looking forward to being 40 years old in 2012!

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Do you have any follow-up questions for Ramon? Suggestions for other influencers you would like to see interviewed in the PerkettPR Influencers Who Inspire Series? Please add them in the comments below.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 10/17/11

We start off this week’s Persuasive Picks post with “Taking Social Media Beyond Your Own Ego“. Ramon Ray and the Smallbiztechnology.com team offer insight on how not to fall into the “do it yourself trap” and how to truly take social media beyond the ego for your business in this straight-forward article over at BusinessInsider Tools.

KFC’s Secret Recipe for Social Media Success is an interview with KFC’s public relations manager, Rick Maynard, and focuses on how his Team went about gaining brand supporters. This article offers key tips on keeping your brand relevant to consumers via consistent social media engagment and can be found at 1to1Media.

Are You Bad at the Internet? is a great piece covers a Kauffman study recently released which discusses how many small businesses are still struggling with their online presence and how to use the Web to increase sales. This Inc. Magazine article highlights which industries are finding success.

Tips for Reaching Out to Twitter’s 50 Million Daily Users authored by Angela West of PCWorld, this article examines the value of Twitter and offers useful tips for business, large and small, on how to use Twitter effectively. West’s article cites that Twitter is valued at $8 billion and boasts over 100 million users, 50 million of whom log in daily.

Over at Entrepreneur’s Daily Dose an educational column: Chief Cheezburger Ben Huh Dishes on Social Media provides useful tidbits on his approach to keeping your brand social in today’s business world.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 08/15/11

TomatoesA Tomato Lover’s Guide To B2B Social Media
Renegade CEO Drew Neisser creates a great metaphor between B2B Social Media and growing tomatoes in this entertaining read on Media Post‘s Marketing Daily blog.

Is Your Social Media Strategy Stalling Because You’re Not Doing This One Thing?
HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella shares some interesting stats and advice on boosting engagement of your content through clear and concise calls to action, in this guest post on CopyBlogger.com.

Can Social Media Improve Your Workers’ Productivity?
Contrary to the opinions of many corporate execs, social media can be leveraged to make employee time more productive and less of a time waster. Find out how via this Business Insider post from Ramon Ray & the Smallbiztechnology.com Team.

Take the Grunt Work Out of Monitoring Social Media with mBlast
Take a peek at Diana Huff‘s review of a pretty cool looking tool for taking care of your social media monitoring tasks. I’m definitely looking forward to kicking the tires on this one.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR
Personal Branding Expert Dan Schawbel interviews author David Meerman Scott about the release of the third edition of his best selling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 04/25/11

Jumping20 Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Read
Whats that? You’re looking for some new and exciting content to read? This Business Insider post from Alyson Shontell and Bianca Male has enough recommendations to keep small business entrepreneurs busy for quite some time!

Four Ways Leading Companies Are Using Social Media: Lessons For Us All
Ramon Ray shares four easily digestible social media success stories from some well-known brands – in this post on SmallBizTechnology.com.

SMB’s Continue to Increase Social Media Use
Marketing Pilgrim Managing Editor Frank Reed provides highlights from a recent American Express Open Small Business Monitor report that reinforced SMB’s slow and steady march into the deep end of the social media pool.

The shortcomings of Facebook “Likes”
Amielle Lake puts SMS and Facebook “Likes” up against each other to see which can inject a campaign with more juice – in this interesting read on iMediaConnection.com.

Frito-Lay Sets Guinness Record for Facebook Likes
Mashable‘s Todd Wasserman recaps details of Frito-Lay setting the Guinness World Record for highest number of Facebook Page “Likes” within a 24-hour period. Not only is the number they obtained impressive, but Fritos are really tasty when added to a nice bowl of chili and cheese.  :)

Image: Cordey via Flickr