In this episode of the Dear BAMf podcast, we speak with Caitlin Epstein, Director of Public Relations at Twilio Inc. Caitlin is moved by foresight; bringing humanity, inclusivity, and authenticity to storytelling around breakthrough technologies. In this episode, Caitlin answers some tough marketing and PR questions from our listeners, including this one about scope creep with clients:
My client recently had half of its company acquired and the original team is now doing the work to get the new brand up and running. We offered to help with the initial announcement, as well as the second announcement once the new brand is ready to launch. But are now in the tricky spot of having to say 'no' to this client when asked to help with more tasks. How do I tell them if they want our help, they'll need to engage with a new contract, without burning the bridge? Resources are limited, so I want to be helpful, but need to be mindful of my team's time too.
Listen now to hear how Caitlin advises this writer to move forward.
(01:37) What is Twilio?Twilio is a customer engagement platform that recently passing over a trillion interactions. "Any business, nonprofit or organization who needs to reach their customers digitally, can turn to Twilio's platform to do that," Caitlin explains. Although widely used, most people don't notice when they've interacted with Twilio, "The way you interacted with Twilio and may not even know it, is if you've ever spoken to your Uber driver on the phone when they're waiting outside, that phone call is powered by Twilio," says Caitlin.
(03:36) What are you most proud of accomplishing in the last 12 months?
As the pandemic set in, businesses reached out to Twilio in waves looking to find a new way to connect with their customers. Twilio saw this as an opportunity to educate businesses on the Twilio process. The company accomplished this by showcasing customer stories that educated their audience about how to survive during a pandemic. "We were helping a lot of organizations build things they had never thought was possible," says Caitlin and, "As a company, we felt like we were able to contribute to the solution and help people survive by telling those customer stories.
Caitlin says, "I've always said that the best PR stories are ones that you can put a human face to." One of Cailtin's favorite stories is about the $3 billion breakfast burrito. Twilio was closing their acquisition of Sendgrid, an email platform, and had no press at signing. Wanting to tell the acquisition story, Caitlin's team decided to dig deeper. They asked the Twilio and Sendgrid CEOs how the acquisition happened. Surprisingly, both CEOs were on a leadership trip and the Sendgrid CEO couldn't make it to a scheduled breakfast, "So my CEO, as a nice gesture, went and brought him a breakfast burrito. So the story we pitched was the $3 billion breakfast burrito," says Caitlin. The story gave a human face and heartbeat to the acquisition, humanizing a transactional experience. The story ended up being covered by Forbes.
Caitlin gets to where the money resides saying, "These are business relationships and you have to get paid for what you do. I mean, nobody should be asked me to work for free." Caitlin suggests sending out weekly emails detailing the current budget to your client. Having been on both sides of the table, Caitlin appreciates the value in PR saying, "When you compare PR spend to other brand awareness spend that companies do, whether that's advertising or demand generation. PR is such good bang for your buck. We shouldn't underestimate that PR is so powerful."
We are all BAMfs (badass motherf*ckers) according to us, but sometimes even BAMfs need help. Dear BAMf is an advice column-style podcast that lets you anonymously hit us with your hardest marketing and PR questions hosted by Founder & CEO of BAM Communications, Beck Bamberger.
Have a difficult PR or marketing situation you can't figure out? Drop us a line at Dear BAMf. Your submission will be entirely anonymous.
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