Today, we’re expanding InkHouse’s series of interviews with journalists and industry analysts to include a trade association of interest to the Bay State’s technology companies. I sat down with Ruth Morris, a senior director at the MassTLC, to talk about new opportunities for PR practitioners and marketers with the association.MassTLC’s mission is to accelerate growth and innovation in the Massachusetts technology industry. For more than 30 years, MassTLC has served as the premier network for thousands of companies and entrepreneurs seeking valuable connections.
Q: Give me the quick elevator pitch for MassTLC. What is the typical profile of a MassTLC member? Is it by company or by individual?
A: I like to say that our overarching goal is to support and promote the tech industry in the region. Obviously Massachusetts is a longtime epicenter of that. Our membership is by company, and we have about 500 of them at this point -- and every employee at every company can take advantage of the membership.
Our typical constituents within a company are executives or in marketing or HR and talent acquisition roles, as well as the software development folks.
Q: Why should marketers or PR practitioners encourage executives to join the organization?
It's a great way to connect them with their peers and give them a chance to collaborate on issues that affect their entire industry. For example, a few years ago the Commonwealth’s legislature passed a tax on technology goods and services without getting any kind of input from the industry. The industry wanted to respond but had no mechanism—so we stepped into the breach.
Beyond the advocacy, we do a lot of events which offer sponsorship and speaking opportunities for our members to give them visibility. And in our super-competitive hiring environment, that's key.
Q: You’re expanding the content on the organization’s website. What drove that? Is this just open to MassTLC members?
We always had it in theory but the website wasn't a very good vehicle for it. We had been producing a lot of content, but if you didn’t attend an event, you missed it—or it was hidden on the website. With our new website, we can showcase all the amazing things our members are doing.
Q: I know you’ve just begun adding original content (the profile of Raj Shanmugaraj, CEO of InkHouse client Acacia Communications, was among the first original pieces on MassTLC’s site). What is your planned content cadence?
Well, the Raj profile was the first one we did on the new site, and that certainly caught a lot of people’s attention. Suddenly I’m getting a lot of calls and emails asking how we can get a company or executive profiled. We have a few written and are planning a regular cadence—we have these members doing amazing things and we really want to help get their thought leadership out there.
Q: From where do you source news and information? What do YOU read?
Really, a little bit of everything. The obvious local sources like BostInno, the Boston Business Journal, the Globe—and the national dailies. It’s partly because of my own curiosity and I’m trying to get us engaged in bigger conversations.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your annual “State of the Tech Economy” report.
So it started out as a project, trying to put Massachusetts in context with other tech centers—where do we stand in terms of startups, hiring, openings, how do we do with women and other underrepresented groups? We've continued that but over the years it's become much more insight driven. This year we're looking more at the macro trends that are driving dramatic changes across the world. So things like the future of work and how automation is impacting that.
You can read more about MassTLC and its events here. You can follow Ruth on Twitter @ruthmorris11 and MassTLC @MassTLC.