The last time I wrote about Marketwire, I was praising the company for their progressive technology and social media 2.0 service. I had also just worked with them jointly on a book signing in their exhibit booth at the PRSA International Conference in Detroit back in 2009. I’ve been watching Marketwire ever since, and thought it was time to write about them again. After hearing the announcement yesterday regarding their acquisition of Sysomos, I caught up with Marketwire President and CEO Michael Nowlan and Co-Founder and President of Sysomos, Dr. Nick Koudas, for an interesting and enlightening discussion.
From my own knowledge and interaction with both of these companies (my only disclosure is that I’ve used the Marketwire newswire service and the Sysomos platform for my clients), I definitely see how the acquisition made a tremendous amount of sense. It’s important for PR and communications professionals to take note of how Marketwire is maximizing technology to advance communications.
Here are a few of the things I learned during my chat with two very busy business executives, post acquisition announcement.
One of the first questions I asked was, “How do your customers benefit from this acquisition?” They explained that their customers have been facing the rapid conversion of traditional and social media. It’s apparent that there’s a great deal of confusion and also a concern in the communicator’s mind on how to handle social media because social media has “literally exploded.” The acquisition is a serious step forward for Marketwire and it addresses a large need in the market. As a PR professional, I talk a great deal about listening to what customers and stakeholders are saying. That’s exactly what Marketwire did. Their customers were the main rationale for the acquisition of Sysomos.
I also wanted to know why the Sysomos technology was the clear choice, with all of the other monitoring platforms, and how closely the brands aligned, even in terms of culture. We discussed “Why Sysomos?” and after listening to the explanation, it was clear to see that the Sysomos technology and the organization’s progressive way of thinking aligned closely with the Marketwire brand. It was also mentioned that, “the Sysomos technology speaks for itself.”
In addition, the two brands fit together because of their philosophies and style; both companies, early on, were innovators in the market. When Marketwire was doing its due diligence, it immediately recognized how both organizations had a strong commitment to customers and their values and business principles were very similar as well. Another interesting fact that I didn’t know, Marketwire and Sysomos are neighbors, practically in each other’s backyards, only four blocks away from one another.
When I asked about the Sysomos platform and if it would stand alone, I learned that Marketwire will immediately begin offering the Sysomos product set, which includes Hearbeat and MAP. These products will continue to exist under the Marketwire brand. Marketwire is also investing in the integration of the Sysomos product set into a Marketwire platform. For the next 24 months, there will be an entire roll out of additional comprehensive features and new products to come. The acquisition is truly representative of Marketwire’s conversations with PR professionals and hearing what they had to say by addressing their pain points and helping them to make smarter business decisions.
Touching a bit on whether or not the acquisition would open up new markets and channels for the company, we discussed how communications, as a whole, is segregated. Marketwire’s new offerings will integrate rather than separate communication into silos (I’m all for integration). And, for the Sysomos product set, Marketwire brings to the table a well-established sales team with a direct sales force and the marketing background and backend administrative process the company needed. Sysomos is a younger company, three years on the market, so the acquisition broadens the reach for its product set.
Through this acquisition both executives envision a world where communications professionals can release information and have quantifiable measures that demonstrate ROI. So many companies will be able to benefit from the acquisition, from the large to the mid-size and smaller organizations. Both Marketwire and Sysomos work with some of the largest multinational companies (PR agencies), so there’s a big appeal for these brands. However, mid-size and small companies are also a major piece of Marketwire’s strategy and direction.
Then, I asked the million-dollar question, “So, what’s next?” Both executives expressed how, in the immediate term, people are really looking to turn information into true intelligence (into ROI). When you have good intelligence you can, in turn, use this to improve strategy. The acquisition offers a truly integrated solution that also provides an intelligent workflow. They touched upon the broad vision and the communications cycle; how the right tools release information and from there you need to understand the reach and engagement. It’s imperative to bring this information back to the corporation and be able to quantify the impact (to know what works and what doesn’t work). Sysomos furthers Marketwire’s capabilities to make this possible for its customers.
My last question asked both executives to impart advice to PR and communications professionals (and students) with respect to technology and the changing media landscape. Their response was focused on the importance of staying on top of technology and the tools (advice that is close to my heart). They mentioned how the basic fundamentals of communications are not changing yet the technology is advancing rapidly. Social media and the integration of technology mandate that you stay current. This is especially important with students, who, hopefully, will be introduced and experience changes in technology as a part of their academic curriculum.
I believe we will see some excellent solutions and exciting advances in technology from Marketwire. PR professionals definitely need integrated solutions as we find ourselves increasingly accountable to our brands for strategic social communication, engagement, monitoring and measurement that reveal impact and ROI.