Senforce Technologies makes security management software to protect data used either in the office or on the road.
While information technology products may sometimes sound a bit dull, Senforce, with the help of PR firm Strategic Communications Group, aimed to get reporters and customers to associate the company's current and upcoming products with a topic generating widespread concern: recent data thefts at government agencies and corporations.
To attract people's interest, Senforce coined the term "thumbsucking" to describe the use of thumb-sized USB devices to pull and store data from computers. The idea was to play off current events, such as the data theft at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and catch the attention of IT reporters and companies affected by the threat. "Thumbsucking is an intriguing term - how do you not stop and take a look at what it is?" says Ed McGarr, Senforce marketing VP.
The team conducted a survey at two IT security conferences, FOSE and InfoSec, on how confident respondents were in their employers' network security and the threat that removable storage devices like thumb drives and iPods posed to data security. Results were posted on a dedicated Web site, and a Wikipedia entry was created, notes Shany Seawright, director at Strategic. Media outreach included mailing USB devices to nearly 40 IT security reporters.
Coverage included a number of IT publications, such as Network World, Computerworld, eWeek, and InfoWorld. "We've [also] had a bump in phone calls, Web site hits, and requests for white papers on our Web site and the thumbsucking site," says McGarr.
"Now it's our job to try to generate some business from this," McGarr says. Senforce will use additional surveys and capitalize on interest generated from the campaign to draw attention to upcoming software.
PR team: Senforce Technologies (Draper, UT) and Strategic Communications Group (Silver Spring, MD)
Campaign: The Thumbsucking Threat
Duration: March 2007-ongoing
Budget: $25,000 to $30,000