Comeback on the horizon for tech?

LOS ANGELES: Hi-tech account wins for PR firms in Southern

California seem to be making a rebound, despite last year's industry

shakeout.



"I can report a cautious improvement in the calls we're getting," says

Sue Bohle of The Bohle Company, which has just signed WatchGuard

Technologies and Planar Systems.



David Oates of San Diego-based McQuerter agreed, as his firm just added

Pico Communications and Starfish Software. Also, Peoplefirst.com hired

Costa Mesa-based Neobrands, and Public Communications Services expanded

its deal with LA-based The Blaze Company.



However, while the number of hi-tech clients is increasing, the size of

the accounts and the type of firms has changed: Start-ups are far less

common, and budgets are predictably smaller. According to Oates,

companies are "smarter" about their PR budgets, and are looking for

quantifiable results.



"There is no question that start-ups are getting less money from their

VCs, and are encouraged to wait until they have proven trials until they

actually hire a PR firm," confirmed Bohle. "We're being squeezed for

such services as finding clips. They're asking us to do that research

free."



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