This isn’t unheard of, particularly at tradeshows, where many reporters and analysts might help make introductions for their sales people to the companies they speak to regularly. However, that process is usually (hopefully) transparent, and doesn’t take away from the value of the meeting.
Now, both from our own experience and with conversations with in-house PR and marketing pros at the show, it’s become common for a reporter or analyst to spend five minutes chatting with a given client and then handing off the conversation to her/his ad rep for the remainder of the meeting.
It’s a reminder for us to be diligent in our media and analyst outreach. We’re often under some pressure to land a certain amount of meetings, but we can’t lose sight of why we are booking these meetings – to secure coverage in the outlets that help our clients close deals and win new business. If a meeting turns into a sales pitch, not only have we damaged our credibility as media and analyst relations experts, we've also wasted an executive’s valuable tradeshow time.
With magazines struggling to keep afloat, this trend isn’t likely going anywhere, so it’s important for PR pros to put more thought into who we contact and be clear with those journalists on the topics our spokespersons are ready to tackle. Most importantly, we have to be ready to explain and defend that certain meetings will be more valuable than others, and why quality trumps quantity.
Posted by Dan O'Mahony on September 14, 2012 at 3:19 PM