MENLO PARK, CA--(Marketwire - January 31, 2011) - Tool Guy PR, an unconventional PR services firm, today announced the results of its Q4 2010 Hype Report, a quarterly research initiative which analyzes the marketing and PR tactics of early stage technology vendors. The Q4 report, produced by the Tool Guy PR research team, provided the most compelling evidence yet that social media has become a critical marketing tool for emerging technology companies.

According to the report, use of social media tools exploded from Q3 to Q4. In particular, Twitter use increased nearly 100 percent, with tech vendors profiled in the report posting over 1,800 tweets last quarter. Facebook use increased dramatically as well. Early stage companies reviewed by Tool Guy PR posted to Facebook more than 545 times, a 60% increase over Q3.

While social media became far more important in Q4, there was little growth -- and in some cases a decline -- in the use of traditional PR tactics. In Q4, vendors profiled by Tool Guy PR published 104 press releases, up from 97 in Q3. The number of press releases about vendor products increased about 10 percent in Q4, while the number of press releases regarding customers and partners fell 10 percent. Meanwhile, the number of press releases about financial events, such as company financings, was stagnant: 18 in Q3 and 19 in Q4.

"There are many opinions about the reasons behind the shift in focus, but one point which cannot be refuted is that social media has become a fixture in the marketing departments of start-up and early stage technology companies," said Kevin Wolf, founder and president of Tool Guy PR. "We're not surprised that tech vendors are investing more resources in social media, given widespread awareness for tools like Twitter and Facebook. But we do wonder how many companies are leveraging social media to facilitate new business opportunities, versus making it a checklist item in their marketing programs. According to feedback from our clients, traditional PR tactics still generate the greatest return on investment."

Utilizing PR results to generate new business is a considered a best practice in the marketing community. Tech vendors with sophisticated PR programs regularly send media coverage, analyst reports and other PR results to potential customers, partners, investors and employees, and nearly every tech vendor posts stories, relevant whitepapers and industry award news to their websites. When implemented properly, promoting PR results to a company's key constituencies has been shown to increase vendor awareness and sales effectiveness.

The Tool Guy PR Q4 2010 Hype Report revealed several other interesting marketing trends:

  • The number of media stories mentioning early stage vendors was up 30 percent quarter over quarter, from 156 in Q3 to 203 in the fourth quarter of 2010
  • The number of articles about tech vendor products jumped almost 30 percent in Q4, while the number of articles regarding customers and partners was basically flat (59 in Q3, 63 in Q4)
  • The number of articles about vendor financial news increased from 24 in Q3 to 27 in Q4
  • The number of blogs posted by early stage tech vendors dropped from 112 to 74 in Q4

"These are exciting times for marketing managers in early stage tech companies," noted Wolf. "There are so many new tools at their disposal, the trick is deciding in which they should invest precious time and financial resources."

The Hype Report is a quarterly product generated by the research team at Tool Guy PR. The data used to compile the reports is publicly available (with the exception of PR budget information), and surveyed companies have not been approached for input or approval. 

About Tool Guy PR

Founded in 2002, Tool Guy PR is an unconventional PR services firm based in Menlo Park, California. Its business model, which gives clients maximum flexibility in their PR budget and program, is unique in Silicon Valley. Clients need not commit to a fixed monthly retainer, nor are they required to sign a contract that marries the company to Tool Guy PR for any length of time. Both the expense and term of the engagement is entirely at the discretion of the client. Tool Guy PR offers PR services ranging from social media management and content development to customer reference programs and traditional media relations. Tool Guy PR clients are primarily early stage business and consumer hardware and software companies seeking to stand out amid the chaos and competition that is inherent to the tech industry.

Contact Information:

Company Contact:
Name: Greg Lydon
Phone: 949-331-3719