PR People are Worthless

By John Honovich, Published Mar 15, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

To say, "PR People are Worthless" may be going easy on them. Indeed, it is probably fairer to say that PR people are a total waste of money. It boggles the mind how truly inept the PR people who contact us are.

Here is a great example from this morning, exhibiting a litany of errors:

"I understand you will be attending ISC West. Would you have some time to meet with [Person x] and [Person y] for a briefing at ISC West?  We'd like to fill you in on some news and announcements we'll be making at ths show.  If so, please let me know what day/time would work best for you and I'll lock it in.

Thanks!

[PR Person]"

Here are they key problems:

  • We have no idea who this person is. That's the first time the person has ever contacted us. It is a completely cold contact.
  • This person does not even indicate they know who we are.
  • We actually have dealt with person X many times before, a person we respect. Why isn't this person contacting us?
  • They offer no rationale about why this meeting would be valuable for us. Is there any major new announcement that would motivate us to meet?

This email is fairly typical of PR blunders we regularly receive. However, that is not the worst. We actually received an unnamed form email blast earlier this week from a person we have never heard of asking for a meeting. The PR person said that he had a PhD, in what I do not know though evidently it is not in common sense.

Improving Manufacturer Communication

Here are a few ways manufacturers can improve communications with us (or any other firm that respects their time):

  • Never have a PR person contact us. They do not know the market nor technology and act as glorified secretaries.
  • Have an executive or technical leader contact us. Think about it. We want to talk to people who know the business. Do you want to talk to someone who is completely clueless?
  • Build rapport over time: If the first time you are communicating is a week or two before the show, you are out of luck. Over time, comment on the site or our group, exchange emails, set up a phone call, etc. 
  • Talk 'shop': There is _no_ value in basic pitches. We can get that from your website, youtube videos, marketing brochures, etc. Tell us things that are interesting, not only about your company but what you are seeing in the market. Then we will be happy to provide feedback on what we are seeing and what we think about your company.

Bottom line - end the worthless boiler plate PR inquiries and build smart relationships based on honest exchanges of high quality information.

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