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Dec 11, 2000
Case Study

Clever PR Tactics eMarketer Uses to Sell High Priced Reports to Internet Marketers

SUMMARY: Last week eMarketer tied with MarketingSherpa for Tenagra's best 'Publication Focused on Internet Marketing' award. Back when eMarketer first started co-Founder Sam Alfstad did something so simple that many people don't think to do it. He went and directly asked a competitor what tactics made them successful. If you are a PR professional, or if you dream of getting your company's name in the Wall Street Journal someday, this Case Study is for you.

Making the leap from being a free service to getting marketers to pay you a bunch of money for your products is a tough one. Jennifer Marino, VP marketing told us how eMarketer managed it.


eMarketer's co-Founder Sam Alfstad did something so simple that many people don't think to do it. He went and directly asked a competitor what tactics made them successful. Josh Harris who co-Founded Jupiter (yes the same Harris from Pseudo) was happy to oblige.

Marino says, "Josh said we wanted to make sure that in every article that mentioned IDC, Forrester or Jupiter, eMarketer was the next thing mentioned." This tactic would not only build buzz, but also establish eMarketer as a known brand among some fairly pricey peers.

Alfstad hired a freelance PR person (who is now a full-timer) who began to hand-build a media list. Marino says, "We have about 1,100 reporters on our internal list, about 500 are premium contacts. We sent out lots of email and also did hard mailings of executive summaries of our reports. But imagine being a byline person on the Internet world -- these reporters are bombarded, overwhelmed with an avalanche of releases."

So, to get reporters' attention eMarketer started calling them on the phone. Unlike most PR pros who call to say, "Did you get the release?" or "I'm following up on the release" (which is a time-honored method of annoying the press); eMarketer offered to make reporters' jobs easier. Marino explains, "We'd say, 'Hi, what are you working on? Can I help you with any of your stories? We've got numbers you can use.' It's not just about pushing them for eMarketer press or coverage. We've been background for a lot of stories." In fact, eMarketer would even give reporters data they needed from competing sources like Forrester and Jupiter. Marino explains why they didn't mind giving the competition a boost, "Once you have that relationship with a reporter where you've helped them, it blossoms. They are more likely to call you again, to quote

eMarketer kept those media relationships blooming by being obsessive about getting back to reporters in a timely manner. "They know we'll call them back before their deadline. We won't leave them hanging."


eMarketer now has more than 5,000 paying clients including marketers from big traditional offline companies like Hilton, high tech companies like Intel and of course plenty of dot-coms. This even distribution has given the company the ability to continue growing in revenues and profits even as the dot-com industry staggered under this year's "correction."

Editor's note: This is a tactic more companies seeking press should try. Here at MarketingtoWebMarketers we get dozens of press releases and emailed notes a day. But only two companies have called us and volunteered to be helpful background sources for any type of industry data we'd need for a story. Those two companies are eMarketer and B-to-B Works.
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