PR blunders or "mystery meetings"

From time to time, I receive a note from a public relations person who represents one company or another that is clearly a disaster in the making. These notes appear to designed to pique my interest without giving me any information about the product or service to be discussed.

From time to time, I receive a note from a public relations person who represents one company or another that is clearly a disaster in the making. These notes appear to designed to pique my interest without giving me any information about the product or service to be discussed. As I pointed out in a recent interview (see Meet the Influencers: Dan Kusnetzky) and I decided to post something about it here.

Here's some text from a recent example:

I wanted to gauge your interest in speaking with <insert your favorite supplier here> under embargo about a new product and a product enhancement they are announcing at <insert your favorite conference here>. Please let me know if you are interested in hearing about this news before hand.

Best,

<insert the name of  some PR professional>

What is the ideal behavior for a PR professional?

As I pointed out in the Speakerbox interview, 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'm often 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".) On more than one occasion, company representatives and I mutually agreed that the meeting was a waste of both of our time and the meeting was terminated after 10 minutes. What the company wanted to discuss and what the come-on message was were simply too different.

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.  Since we simply can't watch every corner of the market for system software, open source software or virtualization technology and know about each and every startup or moves of each and every established company in those markets, we welcome their calls and messages.

The message from this PR person hit one of my hot buttons. Let me say it plainly. I absolutely hate "mystery messages" that some send. If a PR professional wants to tell me something, he/she should tell me. Messages that tell me that company X is going to announce something interesting next week and then invite me to attend a meeting usually end up in the trash.

To offer the best possible service to KG clients, I have to prioritize the use of my time. Unless the PR person tells me more about what's the topic, the market, etc. I'm not going to waste my time.