For a boutique PR firm like Catapult, the tradeshow/conference circuit is a bit off the beaten path. We work with clients all over the country, and we’ve been fortunate enough that the reputation we’ve developed throughout the tech industry often leads to referral-based client relationships. When we decided to attend TechDay LA, we recognized it as a great opportunity to push our boundaries, engage with a whole new sector of the industry, and continue to evangelize Strategic Narrative Marketing.
The show itself is a one-day event, which took place at The REEF this year in downtown LA. (On a side note: how great is it to see an area like that, with such a robust history, being revitalized!) Participating companies had a booth on the floor, and then an opportunity for a three-minute power pitch focused on either the business, business development, funding or thought leadership. The floor itself, busy but not overly so, hosted a huge variety of tech business ranging from financial services, to cybersecurity, pet-oriented wearables, cannabis and more. We weren’t completely sure what to expect, since most companies seemed to be promoting a product, but as we had the chance to talk with folks on the floor, it was clear that Strategic Narrative Marketing struck a chord for many.
Refining the Pitch
As Catapult has evolved, we have experienced a shift in defining who Catapult is and what it does. We are and always will be a public relations firm at our roots. But we have grown into an amalgamation of public relations, marketing, internal and external communications, consulting and strategic communications. If we drew a picture, it would be a collage. When we talk about it, however, we want to be clear and concise, conveying our methodology and purpose succinctly, like any good business.
Throughout the day, we tried a few different methods of description and explanation, and it was an interesting case study to sit down and synthesize all the different facets of the pitches that seemed to resonate with people, individually. Companies in the new tech space are inherently disruptive. Whether its breaking down an industry to some of its micro elements and creating a service for each one, or simply devising a way to do an existing service better, new tech is driven by a greater vision of industry revolution. When we explained exactly what Strategic Narrative Marketing was, and how it is our version of disrupting traditional positioning and messaging approaches by focuses higher and creating a new category, a light bulb seemed to go off – that was our common ground with even the most skeptical of listeners. Along with the idea of disruption, the idea of creating and owning a category aligned with many of other attendees’ visions for their respective industries. Similarly, many others nodded vigorously when we discussed the importance of internal and external messaging alignment via a strategic narrative.
Ultimately, not only did we enjoy the chance to talk with like-minded innovators, but we came away with a stronger sense of purpose regarding our own positioning for our Strategic Narrative Marketing category.
As I mentioned, we’re new to this tradeshow thing. Sure, we’ve gone to almost a hundred as support for our clients, but as sole proprietors of the intellectual property we’re promoting, I think we picked up a few new things to consider as we continue to grow this avenue of our business.
We’re word people. Conversationalists. Listeners. Were we looking for lead-gen opportunities? Absolutely. But as we debriefed from the experience, we realized that our conversations took so many different tangents, that it will be nearly impossible to associate every name in our lead capture with the conversation that preceded it. We can chalk that up to a learning experience, and we can take away the added knowledge that as we move forward, it will be important to be a little more specific with our capture methods to ensure that we can continue to grow the initial conversation.
We’ll be heads down for a few days sifting through the many names and business cards that we gathered at the show, but it is a great feeling to return to our home base in Boulder knowing that the things we believe in around Strategic Narrative Marketing really resonate beyond our clients’ and our own walls.