Rah-Rah Press Release Auto Generators and a Buried Gem

When you read as many press releases from vendors and service providers as I do, it it amazes me that these things are still written by people. I swear, with a couple of English majors and a development intern, I could put together a SaaS offering that could write 90% of press releases based on less than a few dozen inputs (perhaps this has even been done already). Consider this press release from Ketera, which illustrates how simple it would be to construct an auto-generator for the "quarterly" private company update, one of a number of common press release formats -- others include key company hires, customer wins, and product announcements or enhancements. In this case, all one would need to input into a program that could spit out the announcement would be the percentage of customer renewal rates, a few key reasons for growth, the name of a key hire, new customer names, and a token analyst quote, just for good measure.

OK, enough of knocking Ketera for issuing good news ... I do not mean anything by it. I could have just as easily substituted in SAP, Emptoris, Ariba, or any other vendor for that matter. The sad fact is that virtually all press releases today lack panache and any sense of style, conveying to the reader that the vendor issuing them is just as boring and me-too as the rest. For public companies, press releases are a form of disclosure, so I'll give them a bit of a pass since most are very limited in what they can say and how they say it (lest some leach from Milberg Weiss start sucking away). But private companies are not as limited. In my view, they should use press releases as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and take advantage of the format to convey ideas and differentiate themselves, rather than simply rehashing and spinning the same story as everyone else over and over again in tepid prose.

Enough of my rant -- what actually caught my eye in this press release was the announcement of one Ketera customer win in particular, The Claro Group. I doubt that many spend readers have heard of The Claro Group, but I reckon that this is going to change soon enough. Claro's Spend Management practice is run by an old friend and colleague, Venanzio Arquilla, who used to lead a good portion of Andersen’s sourcing group, and later led much of the supply chain and procurement practice at Bearing Point. In the past year, he has been quietly hiring and bringing over talent, and is slowing rebuilding an old practice with an excellent but focused reputation in the market, especially for indirect sourcing. This quiet announcement in Ketera's release is a signal to the market that another first-rate boutique consultancy is about to come out of stealth mode. I fully expect to hear more from Venny and his team in the coming months, and look forward to sharing my learnings from future conversations with them on Spend Matters.

Jason Busch

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