Part Three: From Bundling to a Bundle
For the USB and IoT announcements, the Synopsys product teams had been willing to answer my oftentimes probing questions, collaborate in developing story angles that would be of interest to the editors, and speak to issues that might not be their top priority with an editorial community that has different priorities. Maximizing coverage required not just a spirit of partnership between myself and a product team, as well as the in-house PR team. It also required understanding we have an external partnership with the media, where we need to balance the message we want to communicate to customers, with the interests of the readership editors are serving. But sometimes, internal priorities take precedent over external considerations, and in the third quarter of 2015 that was going to necessitate a bundle of coordination, with some other announcements.
On the Q3 calendar, were three more announcements and two expressly overlapped with our IoT announcement—a new microprocessor product, ARC EM, and an ARC-themed microprocessor summit. The new ARC EM processors were tailored for IoT products and the ARC microprocessor architecture the designer conference would be addressing was uniquely suited for afore mentioned IoT edge devices. To maximize coverage and also minimize costs, like my consulting fees, it made sense to seriously consider bundling all three of these announcements into IoT themed outreach and briefings to promote an IoT portfolio, including a truly new ARC EM, with many related topics being explored at the summit. Based on the external realities of the editorial community, a bundling strategy made a lot of sense. Synopsys, however, had good internal reasons to keep each announcement separate, so we had to make it work.
For the ARC Summit I dug into the agenda, and my advice was simple. There wasn’t any compelling news, with the product announcements decoupled, but we had presenters speaking on some interesting topics. I would do two waves of outreach. The first was to a select list of local editors and analysts, inviting them to attend and offering a status update on our microprocessor business group from its vice president. We would end up briefing two market analysts at the conference, and even though we were keeping the IoT announcement separate, we would use that opportunity to brief them in person on that announcement also. Then when videos of the presentations were available, I conducted a second wave of outreach to editors and analysts, interested in microprocessor topics, linking to the agenda and inviting inquiries if there was any interest in a given presentation or a general update phone briefing.
As an outgrowth of those efforts, I organized a Q&A article on ARC, with EE Catalog. Moving to the second of these two, our ARC EM announcement was a lesser priority than the others for garnering publicity. Nevertheless, we managed to setup a trio of briefings that resulted in coverage. With their newsletters and reports, market analysts have become an important source of coverage, and the Linley Group covered the announcement in their subscription reports and Berkeley Design Technology, via their publicly available, newsletter. I was also able to get coverage with one of my contacts at EE Times. So, that was four more Synopsys-related articles, on top of the company’s USB and IoT portfolio related coverage. Now I just hopped my planning to reach the right editors at the right publications with the right announcements was on the money, because I still needed to get coverage for a still outstanding high-priority announcement.
The fourth and last announcement in the third quarter that I would be trying to get coverage from our overworked editorial and analyst community would be around a new product announcement. Well, it would kind of be around a new product announcement. Actually, the HAPS-80 FPGA-based prototyping solution was a new version of HAPS-70, with new technologies and features that were well documented in the draft press release I reviewed. The question I explored with the product manager was, what important developments could we speak to that weren’t captured in a press release, an editor could easily post on their website, and would matter to a publication’s audience enough to warrant an overworked editor taking the time for an embargoed briefing and writing an original article.
I’ve worked as a financial analyst, and wrote for several years a market-focused magazine column, so I put those hats on and had a good back-and-forth exchange with the product team. Turned out this new version of HAPS, had some powerful new integration technologies. And the team expected this was going to herald new design methodologies that would not just change how embedded software teams worked, but in a few years short years drive a trend of a majority of teams deploying a new generation of commercial prototyping solutions. Our focus went from talking about the impressive specifications of a new product version to talking about how the technologies being introduced in the new HAPS-80 were going to change the embedded software development landscape.
One publication, Electronics 360, responded so favorably to this story angle that they authored two articles based on a briefing—one on the industry shift to integrated prototyping technologies embodied in HAPS-80 and another on the availability and product features of HAPS-80. Similarly, based on arranged interviews, one editor at EE Journal authored a story on the capabilities of HAPS-80 and another conducted a podcast on the trend of the shift to integrated technologies with HAPS-80. Of course most publications wrote a single article about HAPS-80, including Desktop Engineering, EDA Café, EE Catalog, Electronic Products, Semiconductor Engineering, SemiWiki, and Tech Design Forum. We also identified and participated in an article with Chip Design’s Systems Design Engineering Community. Via international efforts we were able to get EE Times coverage and I also arranged a Q&A opportunity with Electronic Design. And then, I gave a well deserved break to my editorial contacts after in short order getting coverage from them on connectivity, IoT, microprocessor and FPGA prototyping announcements.
Lesson: Ideally bundle related announcements in outreach for maximum effectiveness, but when the ideal isn’t possible just make it work.