As published in American Executive
September 2007 Issue
By Michelle Rivera
Steve Momorella talks about this company’s revolutionary niche of cost-effective, online newsroom software.
Tekgroup International not only produces excellent software, it also helps its clients save money. “Lucky for us, saving money is something people have an interest in,” said Steve Momorella, director of sales and marketing and co-founder. “That has
been our biggest component of success.”
“So far this year, we have more new clients than we did all of last year, and we’re looking to double our growth over last year in which we experienced double-digit growth from the year before,” Momorella said.
The public relations and marketing software enables clients to take all company press materials, such as press kits, press releases, photography, and video of their product, and collectively put it all on a Web site, enabling ease of access for journalists.
“We are really not doing anything revolutionary—we are putting an old process online and helping to automate it. Typically, a journalist will call a company and say ‘We want to cover this new product you are rolling out,’ and the company would send them a CD of slides or pictures,” Momorella said. With Tekgroup’s software, that process is eliminated, as the journalist can go online and retrieve everything s/he needs.
Ford Motor Company, one of Tekgroup’s largest clients, was previously sending out thousands of press packets per month, spending a significant amount of money on faxing and postage. “That entire process went away,” Momorella said.
The cost savings are measurable, according to Momorella. “If a company sends out 1,000 press kits per year at $20 each, that’s $20,000. We save companies money and enable them to take and keep control of their marketing and press materials.”
According to Momorella, Tekgroup’s biggest advantage is that it’s considered one of the leaders in its industry, often referred to as online newsroom software. “We started this industry, and we got our first client in 1998, during which no other software company was doing what we were,” he said. “Because of our level of experience and the fact that we’re seen as industry leaders, people call on us as subject matter experts.”
Tekgroup has worked with Ford on its Firestone recall, as well as with Delta Airlines during its period of bankruptcy and restructuring. When clients ask Tekgroup how it differentiates itself from competitors, Momorella and his team mention that hundreds of top-level corporate executives use Tekgroup’s software every day, which enables the company to receive constant feedback to incorporate into newer versions of its software.
“Our competitors have a different approach: to get as many customers as possible, even though they don’t have the experience of working with the bigger, more established companies,” Momorella said. “And although they’ll have more clients, most are unhappy and unsatisfied.”
Customers in mind
To maintain the company’s growth, Momorella and his team have heavily focused on customer service. “We don’t want to grow too fast and forget our customers,” he said.
Tekgroup has a client services manager in place, which enables each client to have a single point of contact if they should have any problems or questions.
According to the co-founder, many of Tekgroup’s competitors provide a number for customers to dial, and they often are put on hold or are left talking to a machine. “We’ve heard some horror stories about people calling in with a problem, and they are on hold for two hours and completely forgotten about,” Momorella said.
The company also provides 24/7 customer service and technical support, free of charge, without having to buy blocks of time. “We feel a client should be able to call in at any time and reach someone. We make sure we are available for clients at all times.”
Tekgroup is on version eight of its newsroom software. Every year the company puts out a new version, explained Momorella.
As interest increases in Tekgroup’s software, the company receives more feedback and processes those ideas as new features into its software faster than its competitors.
Some of the company’s
long-term goals include the development of new products that would enable it to cross sell to its existing client base of more than 50. In addition, Momorella and his team will focus on growing their sales force organically rather than relying on partners.
“We are not one of those companies that is looking to skyrocket and become an IPO in three years; we prefer long term and slow, measurable gain. My partners and I have always had the philosophy of doing as much as we can and hiring people as
we need them in the future,” Momorella concluded.
— Michelle Rivera