Long time readers will know that every once in a while I need to vent and express my frustration with some of the mindless things we see people doing in sales and marketing. This is one of those posts. Yes, I’ll whine, yes, many of you get the same things inflicted on you, and maybe we can let off a little steam and chuckle.
And, inevitably, I will alienate a huge segment in the sales/marketing world. In this case, it’s PR Agents and Media Consultants. I always dive into this with some level of concern, I do know a small number of PR Agents, Media Consultants, and Agencies who are very good, very focused, and create great value for their clients and the audiences they help their clients reach. Sadly, these are an infinitesimal portion of those people in this segment. But on the bright side, your professionalism stands out, compared to the piss poor execution of the majority of people/companies claiming to be marketing professionals.
It’s interesting, these people are supposed to be marketing experts of some sort. They are supposed to be people who are experts in creating awareness, driving interest, ultimately creating leads. But except for the small number I referred to earlier, the general practice–often from people associated with large agencies is mindless mass emails to anyone with an email address.
I have no hope for redeeming these “professionals,” and getting them to change their practices. With the majority of these, I truly believe in the tired joke, “What do you call 600 PR Agents and Media Consultants at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!” I hope to add another few hundred to that number.
My message is to the companies and people hiring these incompetents,. The way these people represent you and your offerings is not building the power of your brand, message, and company–instead it has the opposite effect, it is destroying your credibility in the market, particularly with influencers and others who have some sort of social visibility.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly outstanding agencies through my careers. As we looked at campaigns, they focused my team on targeting the right people, segmenting, targeted messaging, relevance, and impact. This is what one should expect of these PR and other Agencies. In doing this, they build your visibility, credibility and amplify your brand with people that care and with those that can influence.
But to the majority of these “professionals,” including some very large agencies, this is not their practice. All they want is an email, that they’ve purchased or scraped, inflicting not just one, but dozens of meaningless messages on thousands or 10’s of thousands. As a recipient of those mindless outreaches, I wonder, “Why would a great company or individual hire an organization to represent them and their brand so badly. Is this what they really stand for, perhaps I should stay as far away from those brands, running as fast as I can in the opposite direction.”
Because I have a fairly widely read blog and have some level, though not large, of social visibility, everyday, my inbox is filled with announcements from agencies. They think I am or should be interested in what they send. They often want me to write about it, to interview executives, to promote them in some way.
Here is a sample of the headlines of things in just the last 3 days that these agencies thought I had deep interest in and want me to promote:
- “Company X Announces Move To Austin!” Congrats to Austin, hopefully it helps your tax base. But why do I want to interview the CEO of this company about the facility they are building? Why do I want to write a blog post about their new facility on State Highway 183, 6.5 miles from the airport? Why is this important to my audience (many of whom do live in Austin)?
- “French Wellness Guru [Name], introduces Hypnomagnetism to Southern California.” Just what my audience is waiting for! Something that clearly will help them sharpen their business strategies, more effectively engage customers, and drive business growth! Thank goodness, his agency reached out to me, my audience is at the edge of their virtual seats.
- “Sous Vide Cryo-concentration and Delta Cooking” Again, the thing that is top of mind to all the executives I work with is “What do I cook for dinner tonight?”
- “Expert Interview Opp: California CEO Finds Success In Luxury Flooring After Working In The Diamond Industry For Years.” I do have a person I mentor that owns a very large flooring business. He already knows about this company, but how did this agency look at my profile, what I write about, or our clients, thinking this is relevant to what we do and the interests of our clients/audience? This CEO has been, apparently, very successful, but it’s not in a segment that we care about or address.
- “Research, 79% of recruiters fear AI will fully replace them soon” I can imagine huge, genuine, interest in this, and the infographics that are offered. But not me or our company! I don’t address recruiters or HR directly. There are audiences that care deeply, but they are not my audience and if anything, my “influence” might be perceived as negative (I am sometimes perceived as off-putting to recruiters and HR people).
- “Meet [Name]: 30 years in block chain solutions for digital transformation” Again, I can imagine this individual might have great insights that might be of great interest to certain audiences. But I am neither competent in understanding the issues around blockchain, nor can present a credible/interesting POV to my audience. Many of our clients are involved in blockchain, but they don’t look to me for insights about blockchain.
- From someone who claims to have been a reader of my blog for quite a long time, the offer to publish an article on “In 2022, What will be the IT Service Desk’s trends?” First a long term reader would know we don’t publish guest articles. Second, while this is an interesting issue, it’s not one that my clients or audience looks to me for perspectives. My lack of understanding of these issues could, possibly be a set back to the company trying to offer this information.
- Or a similar one, “Having difficulty finding developers, Try these 5 things…” Again, an important issue to lots of people, but not one that people look to me for a point of view.
- Or another issue a PR agency wants me to promote, “[Company X] News: [Company X] Adds Anomaly Detection To Ransomware Protection In It’s New Release.” An important topic to many, but most of my audience is concerned with business strategy, growth, engaging prospects, improving sale and marketing. I looked up what anomaly detection is, but it’s not an issue around which I try to develop a point of view or get my audience to think about. Undoubtedly, it’s important to someone, I hope this company has a well targeted ICP and is informing those customers. Clearly their agency doesn’t understand the concept of an ICP.
- “Exclusive Data: US Study Showcases Student Coding Skills Gap” Again, an important topic, but not one I spend any time thinking about.
- “Will Americans suffer a candy shortage…” This was deeply concerning to me, I rushed out to the grocery store and stocked up on my favorite Lindor chocolates (also, decided I might need to stock up on toilet paper, as well.) I also started worrying about the supply chain issues, what does this shortage mean to the businesses of dentists in the coming months. Perhaps I have done you, my audience a disservice by keeping this market research to myself. I wonder if the executive is still available for a podcast interview.
- “Early News, [Company X] closes 2021 as another year of record sales growth, product innovation, strategic partnership development.” Congrats to the company, but why do I want to interview a CEO to brag about this record. and promote their products. We don’t do that in our blog posts or in our social engagement, we stay agnostic and don’t promote individual companies and their products. We are not a channel partner to these companies. I get constant announcements of corporate performance, organizational announcements, new product announcements, for which agencies offer me the opportunity to interview execs to, rightfully, brag about their performance. But that’s not what we do, so why do these agencies want to waste my time, or that of the execs they are trying to push on us.
As you can see, a lot of these are very legitimate, important topics–but not for me and my audience. And if through some sort of mental lapse or lack of attention I chose to promote this, my promotion may not be to the right audience, nor might my promotion be credible or helpful.
Yet these agencies, go back, reporting to the companies about the campaigns they are conducting and how they are getting great visibility. I know, just that these are marked (often automatically by my system) as read, the report back the opens and attention they have gotten.
And this represents only about 30% of the requests I have gotten from PR Agencies and Media Experts in the past two days. Their sloppy, thoughtless work impacts your reputation and brands. And they are charging you for this mindless work! Please join me it putting another 100 of these at the bottom of the ocean.
End rant. I do have to confess. I think I have made a mistake by ignoring one of these outreaches. I’m beginning to wonder about the implications of leveraging Hypnotmagnetism in influencing our customers’ digital buying journey. I think I will try to do a podcast–and perhaps convince this individual that his approach is valuable beyond just Southern California.
Afterword: As you might expect, I just received the usual automated follow up email. It’s from the person who claims to be an avid reader of all my content and want to publish something about IT Service Desk Trends. She said how much she enjoys my content and wanted to publish a post of her own on my blog. I thanked her for following me and for consuming all that I write. I suggested she might have missed something important and sent her the link to this post, with the statement, “You are bullet point 7. Thanks for inspiring this post.” Sadly, I think her automation system will ignore this and send me another email next week…..