Here at V2, we pride ourselves on being a full extension of our client’s teams, diving deep on their organizations’ overarching business goals and identifying opportunities for PR to elevate those initiatives. And—knowing that our clients are some of the fastest-growing, innovative organizations out there—that can often mean developing campaigns that not only raise awareness but also create differentiation and increase brand value for a potential exit, such as an IPO or acquisition. In fact, 11 V2 clients were acquired or merged in the past three years (2017-2019).
For one client, DaySmart Software—a provider of integrated business management software for small businesses—PR was an important vehicle for driving the company’s visibility ahead of its October 2019 growth recapitalization led by LLR Partners and Parthenon Capital. When DaySmart first hired V2 in June 2018, it was clear that the company was looking to enhance its presence across its four main verticals—pet, spa, salon and tattoo—and generate awareness for the corporate brand to attract an acquisition.
Below, we recap that strategy in a Q&A with DaySmart’s Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Martin, and discuss the value of public relations.
V2: Why was investing in PR important to DaySmart?
Steve Martin: Two and a half years ago, DaySmart was a collection of products, each of which was performing well in its respective category. However, we lacked cohesive messaging overall and simply weren’t telling a compelling corporate story. Our primary goal was to get acquired, which we believed hinged on our ability to portray DaySmart as a platform, not a collection of products. Our need to formulate—then effectively communicate—that messaging led us to conclude it “was time for PR.”
V2: How did PR generate visibility for DaySmart?
SM: V2 quickly set to work helping us to sort out our messaging—not only for each of the products, but they also helped us to articulate our value to potential acquirers. Once our messaging was decided, they were instrumental in identifying editorial opportunities, speaking engagements and award submissions for which DaySmart might be right. Results were not immediate, but within the first two months, they began to forge relationships with editors by offering content suggestions, which quickly turned into editors asking us to contribute to roundup stories or to submit bylined articles. These “vertical wins” in our product categories helped us to show corporate momentum at a critical point in our acquisition process.
V2: Were there any notable campaigns, coverage hits, etc. that were significant for DaySmart?
SM: V2 is a continual source of ideas for campaigns, suggesting contests, surveys, user-generated content, etc. Because of their suggestions, we have built out many content areas we likely would not have taken on by ourselves. They have also managed to create a steady drumbeat of coverage in our industry verticals. Their diligence and responsiveness have helped to forge relationships with editors, many of whom now consider us a “go-to” for last-minute needs or specific content. V2 has also generated dozens of bylined articles from DaySmart executives—some long-form think pieces and some trend-focused content—all of which helped us to elevate the corporate brand.
V2: How would you describe the relationship between V2 and DaySmart?
SM: With sizable teams on both sides of the table, there is always the danger of redundancies or dropped handoffs. That has not been our experience with V2. Frequent communication is key, and frankly V2’s willingness to “take on whatever” has made them a trusted adviser and productive partner. When we lost our Social Media Manager last year, they capably stepped into that void and took over 20 different profiles. When our priorities changed and we needed more content production, for example, they made changes to the team to keep their resources aligned with our requirements. Weekly calls help to keep both teams in sync and everyone informed.
We have a few agency relationships, but none of them are more complex, more important or more fruitful than our relationship with V2.
V2: What marketing/PR advice would you give other companies considering a PR investment?
SM: Be realistic about your goals. More accurately, be realistic about your ability to achieve these goals “on your own.” If you think you can crack a category by blogging, you’re fooling yourself. If you think a few phone calls to editors will get you print placements, you’re likely overestimating your appeal. PR is a lot like marketing in that young companies normally wait too long to start because they feel they’re not “big enough” to warrant the expense. But outside of sales, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a department that drives more growth than PR and marketing. Delaying these efforts delays revenue; it’s that simple. If you have a product that’s gone to market, you’re ready for PR.
Measuring the results of PR can be difficult to quantify. However, given our recent exit valuation, I would estimate that our investment in PR resulted in at least a 10X return within two years. Potential suitors saw us as a platform play—a vision we had taken great care to craft and that PR had helped us to share.