Event PR and the mystery meeting

When a major supplier is about to gather all of its friends, its partners and, they hope, analysts, consultants and journalists and put on a show, at-show briefing offers fly.

VMware is about to throw a party and has invited its customers, partners, analysts, consultants and journalists. Members of the VMware ecosystem appear to believe that everyone who comments on the topics of virtualization technology or could computing infrastructure are going to attend. So, the meeting and briefing invitations fly. This, by the way, is no different from any other vendor-sponsored event.

Here's an example:

I'd like to schedule some of your time at <insert the name of your favorite event here>, we're going to be at booth #X. <Insert your favorite supplier here> is going to announce a product that your clients and your readers are likely to want to know about. What times are you available at the event?

Best,

<insert the name of  some PR professional>

What are these PR folks trying to do?

Often the invitations are based upon the attempt to create interest by presenting a mystery. They hope to offer as little information as possible to grab some time on the analyst/consultant/journalist's calendar. I've read things such as "You won't believe what X is going to announce at <name your favorite show here>," "A unique technology is going to be revealed at <name your favorite show here>," or "X is announcing an industry first at <name your favorite show here>."

Furthermore, the PR person simply assumes that everyone is going to that event.

What's really interesting is how many meeting or briefing invitations I get from previously unknown suppliers.  Are they newcomers to the party? Are they long-time members of VMware's community who have just been very quiet about what they're doing?

Commentary

As I've said in the past, I would prefer to work with people who are going to play it straight with me. That is they say what they mean and mean what they say. The product or the service announcement should be the "star" of the message not some contrived mystery.  In the end, this means that the PR person has respect for the analyst, consultant or journalist he/she is trying contact.

I am still amazed by how far a few PR professionals will stretch a company's messages in the attempt to arrange a meeting (One could replace "stretch" with "lie about".)

I've pointed out before that after a couple of experiences of that nature, I no longer am willing to respond to messages from that PR professional. If several professionals from the same organization use that tactic, I no longer will speak to anyone from that organization and I advise my spam filter to escort any future messages directly to the spam folder.

For the most part, however, I view PR professionals as a partner in the Kusnetzky Group's quest to gather data on market dynamics, analyze that data and turn it into some level of insight that will help both Kusnetzky Group clients and the PR company's clients.  We simply can't watch every corner of the market for system software, virtualization technology and cloud computing infrastructure. We just don't know about each and every startup or moves of each and every established company in those markets. In the end, we welcome the calls and messages from PR professionals.

When there is too much drama involved, the message simply is sent to the trash.