Client – Steven Foster, MD EMEA, The Siemon Company Ltd

Siemon manufactures the products and services needed to design and build IT infrastructure to serve strategic business needs. Siemon’s heritage is providing the highest quality, best performing structured cabling systems available.

“When we were looking to appoint a PR agency,” says Steve Foster, formerly Marketing Manager and now MD EMEA, The Siemon Company Ltd, “we went straight to the editor of the top trade mag and asked him which agencies he most respected”.

Turtle Consulting Group was one of the companies most lauded by Rob Shepherd of Network Communications News.

And after a competitive two-way pitch, Siemon appointed Turtle as retained lead agency across the EMEA region in March 2006.

“I was delighted when Turtle was unanimously chosen as I was already aware of the results they had achieved for companies similar to ours and I wanted a piece of the action,” says Foster “and no sooner than they had won the contract, Turtle made it its business to really get inside our business.”

As a priority, face-to-face meetings were set up with all key personnel at Siemon’s UK headquarters in Chertsey, Surrey and telephone meetings with key PR and technical people in the USA. “We find that by building strong relationships with product managers and technical personnel, we can become very proactive in generating media content and are not reliant on the marketing department to spoon feed us,” says Turtle account director Wendy Harbutt.

And as a former industry marketing manager, Wendy explains that she has personal experience of the workings of a busy marketing department and understood how PR can fall off the radar compared to other pressing and deadline driven demands.

Foster is greatly appreciative of this, saying: ”Although she is not based in our office, Wendy is without doubt part of our marketing team. She understands our business and is extremely proactive with her ideas. I often ask her opinion, not just on PR matters but also about other marcoms issues.

“In comparison, many other agencies just sit on their hands waiting for material to come to them. Marketing departments are often really stretched and need good external agencies to support them. This is what we have with Turtle,” he adds.

Turtle was also fast to demonstrate its strategic approach to PR, producing a comprehensive PR plan to manage the next six months’ activity. Lunch meetings were arranged with key editors, an extensive library of page-ready media information was built up and the ‘fast-start’ promised by Turtle was quickly realised by a campaign of successful placement activity.

Siemon’s marketing department has been impressed with Turtle’s intelligent approach to media relations.

“They really understand what the press needs and rather than just writing stuff blindly and spending loads of time trying to get publications interested in it, they turn the process on its head and find out what editors want first, or develop feature concepts with them, and then give it to them in the journalistic style they need,” says Foster. “They also have very good relationships with key press contacts. We have much better relationships with the press than we’ve ever had before and I’ve had excellent feedback direct from some of the editors regarding the quality of our new material.”

Foster was delighted to notice rapid results and the cost effective use of existing resources. “We have a lot of prolific technical writers within our company, particularly in US,” he says, ” and in the past, there was always loads of unplaced material floating around that never got used.

“Turtle right away rounded up all of this material and made successes with it. We now have a huge and very useable library of available material. I know this has impressed our US head office, who have also been able to use some of Turtle’s material” he adds.

So approaching the end of a very successful first year, Steve sums up his thoughts on the relationships between and Siemon and Turtle Consulting Group: “Right from the pitch stage, I felt that they not only showed great knowledge of our industry but also demonstrated an extremely high level of energy and enthusiasm, which has continued throughout. In my time in marketing I must have worked with more than 20 agencies – I would definitely put Turtle at the top of the list for effort, and most importantly results”.

“Lots of agencies try to hook you in by saying that they will become an extension of your team, but it’s only words. With Turtle, that’s what we really get”.