Accelerator programme champions a strong media strategy and interpreting data analytics

Week four of the AIB Start-up Academy focused on the importance of formulating a media and PR strategy and measuring the online data analytics available to the 14 start-up finalists

Measuring and interpreting your data analytics and developing a PR and media strategy for your business were on today’s agenda for the finalists as they reached the halfway point of this year’s AIB Start-up Academy.

Not interpreting your online data correctly can potentially lose your business a lot of money. Antonie Geerts from Irish Times Training facilitated the morning session in The Irish Times building with data analytics.

“Data analytics is one of the most important things a business can measure. Analytics gives you a perspective for what is happening on your site, end to end, so from people landing on your site to people buying your product, and everything in between,” said Geerts.

“It can be very damaging for a company if they don’t keep an eye on analytics,” he said.


Geerts said he hoped the finalists left with an understanding of what was possible for their business that can help them be more successful and to start with the basics before spending money.

“Google Analytics is a great free starting tool and YouTube has a lot of videos on doing standard measurements. All the information is there and available for free so there is no need for them to spend a lot of money on expensive analytics people yet. Get the basics done first and once you are confident and want to increase your conversions, then start investing the money,” said Geerts.

Fourteen start-up companies are taking part in the Academy, an eight week accelerator programme, in the hopes of winning a prize worth €200,000 for their business.

Amanda Swan from The Little Pharma said she was going to focus much more on their analytics after today’s class. “This morning’s session was brilliant. I knew about Google Analytics but I just haven’t had the time or enough knowledge to get the full use out of it, so didn’t really bother but I definitely will after this morning. Pulling out the data (will help our business); who’s looking at the pages, from where, what the demographics are and then you can target your campaigns towards those people, so we’ll definitely be doing that,” said Swan.

“The key to successful media engagements is to understand the media and work with them,” said Kieran Garry who facilitated the afternoon session on PR. He gave the finalists an overview of the Irish media and how to develop a media strategy.

“Irish media has been transformed in the last decade, it’s going through a very rough time, it’s an industry under pressure. I hope the start-ups can come away today with an understanding, an appreciation of where the media is. And also that they would adopt a more active approach to their media while they’re consuming it, watching it, listening to it, that they can see a point where they can go: 'oh, that was an interesting way he dealt with that question, or that was a tricky one', so to come away with that sort of appreciation of it so that when they themselves are in that situation, they’ll be able to take those lessons on board,” said Garry.

“Going on national media can be a great opportunity, a great platform for your business but if you don’t perform adequately it can be an opportunity missed or it could leave you in a terrible situation if you were to “die on air” or give incorrect quotes, it could be very negative for your business,” said Garry.

He advised the finalists to leverage their contacts and friends they might know in media or marketing.  “It is a cheap way and can be a great way to get success because if you know one person and they were to write up your business it could actually lead to lots and lots of opportunities,” said Garry.

Stephen Pennington from Atturos said he has a much better understanding of the Irish media landscape after today and how it will affect their media strategy from now on.

“We have to get our story out there but because we’re a medical device in the medical arena it needs to be really carefully placed, it has to have integrity to it so we can’t just grab a quick headline, I think that could have a very negative impact so I think actually defining a strategy for what we’re going to do about the media moving forward has been the most important thing I’ve learned this afternoon. So rather than just being reactive to anything that’s been presented to us, which is I think the way we’ve been in the past, actually having a planned strategy for how we’re going to handle the media and PR is important,” said Pennington.

This is the third year of the Start-up Academy which is a joint venture between AIB and The Irish Times to help start-up companies develop as the 14 finalists follow an eight-week programme where they have the unique opportunity to network and learn from entrepreneurs, industry experts and each other in a mentoring and training programme.

The 14 finalists are:

Frankman Grooming, who produce men's grooming products

Tipperary Boutique Distillery Limited, who distil Irish whiskey from their own barley on their Tipperary farm

Bakers & Cakers, which is an online marketplace connecting cake makers to those who want to buy them

Izzy Wheels, who create a range of customised spoke guards for wheelchairs

Origin Bars, who produce handmade high fibre protein bars

Atturos, a molecular diagnostic solution to help patients make their decisions

Ostoform, who produce a product that manages peristomal skin complications for people with ileostomies

The Little Pharma Ltd, who produce hydroponically grown barley and wheat grasses

Kiki Moon, who create high quality organic cotton blankets

Oathello Network Limited, which is an online app that allows you to find, book and pay to have legal documents sworn and notarised

FEED who produce a range of healthy meal pots designed for athletes on the go and for every Feed pot sold, one meal is donated to a child in the developing world

Hydrasure, a Wicklow-based company providing smart-stabling solutions to the equine and agricultural industries that use technology to improve animal health, welfare and performance

Dynomed, a health care application to tackle sleep apnoea by improving the effectiveness of therapies for patients using positive airway pressure devices

Fresh from, who produce a "Rustic Smoked Fish Pâté" called Fresh from the Pier

Next week, facilitator Barbara Lynch will be with the finalists for Sales and Negotiation.

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