Campaign: Heartbeat poll widens Sage's press coverage - B2B PR

Campaign: The Heartbeat Survey

Client: Sage UK PR team Credo Communications

Timescale: Ongoing from March 2004

Budget: £20,000-£25,000

Sage, a supplier of business and accounting software to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has a high profile in the trade press. But, although more than 500,000 UK firms use its products, it has had almost no contact with national or business media. Credo Communications was hired to raise Sage's profile.

Objectives

To position Sage as a leading commentator on UK business and develop relationships with national media. To drive traffic to the online press centre.

Strategy and Plan

Credo developed the Sage Business Heartbeat Survey last April. It asked respondents about a wide range of issues, from IT investment and the economy to questions relevant to Sage's IT, manufacturing, accountancy, HR and construction customer bases.

Credo made sure the results had a human-interest angle by categorising respondents as family business owner-managers, those 'in it for the money', developers of new business ideas, and 'lifestylers' - those who wanted a lifestyle change.

In June, Credo created an Internet-based press centre to distribute the stories, which would also track the pieces journalists accessed.

The team pre-briefed journalists in the national and regional press, business magazines and IT media about the main findings. Details of 517 journalists were registered and, after the launch, they were targeted with tailored stories, which were distributed as emails with clickable links to the press centre. All four Sage UK directors, including MD Paul Stobart, gave interviews.

Measurement and Evaluation

National newspapers and business publications, including The Observer, the Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Express, Management Today and Director Magazine, covered the survey.

National broadcast coverage included the BBC's Breakfast News and Working Lunch, as well as ITV's news programmes and BBC News 24.

Coverage was also gained in trade accountancy and IT press.

Results

The website received more than 3,000 visits within the first month of its launch, of which 1,547 were for the Heartbeat Survey releases.

The Daily Telegraph, Director Magazine and The Sunday Times have contacted Sage for comment on issues unrelated to the survey since December.

Credo is now preparing a smaller survey to run in parallel with the planned twice-yearly Heartbeat poll.

The Daily Telegraph enterprise editor Richard Tyler says: 'Credo got me involved and the research stood up. It handed it to me on a plate.'

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