NetSuite earns 'Economist' impact

Placement: The Economist, April 22

Placement: The Economist, April 22

What field is your company in, and what are your media goals?

Mei Li: NetSuite provides an integrated management suite of software services for business. Our goal is to leverage our internal resources to drive awareness among our target customers: small and midsize companies.

What made The Economist such a desired placement, and how did you go about pitching the editors and reporters there?

Li: The Economist is not only influential in the UK, but it's also one of the most respected titles in the world, so after NetSuite entered the UK in 2004, we began doing our homework. I usually don't pitch stories until I've established a real relationship with a journalist, so we read the reporters' work to get their style and interests, and met them in person five or six times before talking about a story.

Does an interview with an international publication require different media training? Were there any challenges in dealing with a London-based outlet?

Li: No. Fundamentally, the training and the preparation are the same, especially when you want to pitch a big idea. In this case, it was NetSuite as a leader in the "software as a service" trend. We were also fortunate that our CEO Zach Nelson goes to London quarterly and could do an interview without having to make any special preparations.

The story also included analyst quotes. Did you provide those contacts?

Li: We didn't directly provide the names as potential sources, but we did reference what the analysts were saying in our background material, which gave the reporters ideas on whom they could talk to.

What was the impact of the hit?

Li: The story ran in the April 22 print issue and did quickly trigger some interest from other reporters. But more important, coverage in The Economist gave credibility both to the concept of software as a service and, by extension, to NetSuite as a company.

Name: Mei Li, corporate communications VP, NetSuite (San Mateo, CA)

Placement: The Economist, April 22

Pitch timeline: One year

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