VON PR Workshop
I am sitting in the press room at VON which has been taken over for a VON workshop for press people. They have distributed a booklet called "A Step-by-Step Exhibiting Primer" and they have a speaker telling us what Marketing is... he wrote a book called "The Paradox of Excellence." He has just told the collected PR people that they are "trunk monkeys..."
Why am I blogging about this? Because of the posts that I recently made -- PR is Broken and More on the Death of PR... and also the corresponding posts by Andy Abramson (who is sitting right next to me), Jeff Pulver, and Tom Foremski. In other words, a growing concern that the way in which companies, their hired PR reps, and journalists interact is NOT WORKING.
The choice of Michael Weissman (author of Paradox...) as the speaker here strikes me as being entirely wrong. His message seems to be that the better the job we do, the less praise we will receive because our clients take us for granted. He used the analogy of the water district -- they always deliver water, so we don't praise them anymore. Well, PR is definitely not delivering. This is not the water department that is dependable and thus I can ignore them.
Looking at the "Step-by-Step Exhibiting Primer" what I see is a marketing brochure about why companies should attend VON.
I don't blame VON management for not solving this problem -- this is not limited to the VoIP industry, this is a major crisis for the PR/Media co-dependent relationship. Here is my brief take on the core problem, and it comes from following the money.
Companies see that advertising is becoming less and less effective. But people still read articles, so less money is spent on advertising and more money is spent on PR.
This has two unintended consequences -- on the Media side, as ad budgets shrink, editorial budgets shrink. So a smaller number of reporters are being paid to write about a given topic (VoIP in this case). On the PR side, more and more money is being spent to reach this smaller group of journalists.
The result is that PR companies are flooding a shrinking number of journalists with less and less relevant information. This model will ultimately fail.
What is the solution?