Tag Archives: marketing

Return of the email newsletter?

Is the era of the email newsletter back?

With people gaming search engines in a variety of ways and the plethora of blogs, websites (old and new) and social media, there’s Too Much Stuff, so either A) The most “popular” and/or B) The best gamed pages win.

Will readers now search out summaries of information delivered directly to them?

Sounds very retro, but you’d be surprised what comes up when I start Googling my name… *sigh* for the days when I had a relative monopoly on the ‘net.


Lazy or swamped?

I’ve heard grumbling in some circles that marketing people are “lazy” – they don’t pass along leads to the sales force, theylean on external vendors to do everything, and they don’t have much of a marketing or communications strategy.

Having been an overloaded marketing person, I have to think twice about some of the criticism being valid.  I also think that sometimes there’s a serious disharmony between the marketing side of the house and the sales side of the house.

Sales people want good quality leads. An effective marketing program does this without having to force a sales person into a perpetual calling cycle. It also does so in an efficient and effective fashion… which is where some of the breakdown occurs.

Last week, I was sitting around with a couple of people and heard the all-too-familar horror story of Company XYZ coming back from a trade show with a stack of leads which joined the 2008 stack of leads in a dusty corner somewhere.

There’s also the “scan them all, let the sales force sort it out” philosophy, where media contacts at a trade show end up in the scrum and media people get cold call or email pitches for products – most unimpressive.  Waste the media person’s time, waste the sales person’s time, the sales person’s time *is* money, cuz if he’s calling a member of the press, he’s not calling a potential customer.

So, do you blame the above on marketing for not setting up proper procedures or the sales people not being trained in procedure or write it off to being swamped?

A Just Right PR firm

In the tech and telecom world, what you want, what you want, what you really want is a smaller to mid-sized PR firm with an established rep within the industry. Such a firm should have good references, both clients and reporters it has worked with.

A firm such as this is going to treat you as a big fish in a little pond, not a 6 to 12 month source of billables. The firm shouldn’t be afraid to tell you what you might be doing wrong — and you shouldn’t be too proud to listen to its advice. If you’re a typical marketing guy, you are going to need some advice and council on your moves one month, three months, six months, and a year out — because you also have to deal with all your other duties, like generating leads and helping the sales force close business.

Finding these firms is easier than you think. Look in your industry segment and find three to four companies that you hear about a lot.  Go pull their press releases and look at the names of who represens those firms.  Then go make some calls…

Case study on quality time: Boardwatch

Back in the day (well late 1997), wearing my Director of Marketing/PR hat for SkyCache (which later became Cidera), we wanted to brief the folks at Boardwatch magazine about our madcap idea to use satellite broadcast to bypass internet bottlenecks and places where there wasn’t a whole lot of bandwidth.

After a couple of phone calls, we got onto publisher Jack Rickard’s calendar to brief him on the whole scheme between Christmas and New Year’s.  We agreed to fly out to Denver and do the brief there.  Didn’t hurt that I knew Jack from my writing and he knew Doug Humphrey by rep since Doug had sold off ISP DIGEX earlier in the year.

Our flight out of BWI gets delayed, so we don’t roll into the Boardwatch offices until about 4 PM.  There are cigars present, and an open bottle of red.   Everyone has a glass, everyone is drinking.

We go through the briefing on a white board and go through about 1.5 bottles of red.

At about 6 PM,  Jack looks at his watch and says “Well, we’d better get going, I made reservations over at The Fort for dinner. ” He tops off all of our glasses and we get into Jack’s Hummer.  I wonder to myself if Denver or Colorado has an open container law.

At The Fort, Jack orders drinks before dinner, wine with dinner, and it all gets blurry from there. At some point in time, I realize that Jack and his right-hand man Brian Noto are professionals when it comes to imbibing, so I just step back and switch to water.   We all eat a lot of interesting cuisine, including roast bison marrow bones, Rocky Mountain oysters, bison tongue, and jalapeños stuffed with peanut butter.

After dinner, we climb into Jack’s Hummer and go to his “house.” We sit down for after-dinner drinks, which include sampling Jack’s home-made honey mead, and the (suddenly small and insignificant) bottle of port we’d brought along from Maryland.  I think we finish up talking at around 2 AM and back at our hotel by 3 AM.

Way too early in the morning, Doug and I wake up and get to the airport for our AM departure, heads sore, mouths dry.

A few months later (remember, this is print we’re talking about), Doug Humphrey’s caricature graces the front cover of Boardwatch along with a two page writeup from Jack describing the SkyCache concept.

I run into Brian Noto at a trade show and ask him if he and Jack did that sort of thing on a regular basis.  He says something like meetings of that sort were particularly exception on their end as well…

Net-net on my background in PR and Marketing

I realize I got a little CV-winded with my personal history of “Been there, done that, designed the T-shirt,”  so I’ll summarize.

I’ve been on both the buy-side and the sell-side of PR. Specifically:

Buy side:   As a writer/journalist/pundit, I’ve literally heard hundreds (if not thousands) of PR pitches over the years.  The good (rare), the bad (more often) and the ugly (oh, and it was ugggly).

During the dot.com era I also bought PR services from no-name and name-brand firms, and hired PR and marketing people.

Sell side: I also pitched my share of stories to the media during dot.com when I was at DIGEX and SkyCache/Cidera, plus I did a whole bunch of marketing… We did some legendary parties back in the SkyCache/Cidera days and hired Penn & Teller to perfrom at InterOp in Atlanta one year.

Alas, I could pass Penn on the street today and he wouldn’t know me…