Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for October 2002

Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:33:40 GMT

Contradicting the recent spate of positive PR studies, research from Silicon Valley PR firm, McKie Headstrom has found that PR spend in the Valley is down and won’t improve in 2003. On the bright side respondents reported increased coverage and eighty nine percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the return on their PR investment.

There are in-depth reports on the study in Technology Marketing and O’Dwyer’s PR Newsletter. You can request a free copy of the study directly from McKie Headstrom.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 19, 2002 at 1:33 am

Posted in General

Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:23:16 GMT

Following on from the Microsoft snafu, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO has been quoted saying “If (the false Switch testimonial) that’s right, I will certainly castigate the offender” in an article in Australia’s The Age newspaper.

Also, Deborah Branscum has an interesting entry on the Microsoft episode entitled: “Bashing Microsoft a Love Story”

Written by Tom Murphy

October 19, 2002 at 1:23 am

Posted in General

Wed, 16 Oct 2002 12:32:59 GMT

The difficult trading conditions are continuing to cause problem for PR firms and publishers alike. It’s reported that Manning Selvage & Lee have let go thirty consultants and closed their global technology practice while Porter Novelli has cut forty positions.

After a lot of rumors of its demise following substantial layoffs over the past few weeks, Computergram has been bought (saved?) by UK research firm Datamonitor plc. It’s good news that the news service won’t be lost…bad news the money ran out.

In the UK a new survey from accounting firm Willott Kingston Smith found that salaries in the top thirty UK agencies have climbed ten percent over the past twelve months, though ominously they expect those figures to begin to fall in the coming year.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 16, 2002 at 1:32 pm

Posted in General

Tue, 15 Oct 2002 21:24:05 GMT

Following on from my two Microsoft stories yesterday, Richard Bailey writes: “you’d think they (Microsoft) were the most incompetent and irresponsible marketers ever – judging from the many gleeful accounts of the pulling of the Apple switch ad (see Tom Murphy and Dan Gillmor for the background).”

Now maybe Richard has taken me up the wrong way but I don’t think Microsoft’s marketing is incompetent or irresponsible. I never meant to give that impression.

IMHO Microsoft are one of the most effective (product) marketing organizations on the planet. But Microsoft’s achilles heel is that they are very very agressive as an organism. And this agression has meant they have never fully replicated their product success in the corporate world and also is the driving factor behind blips like the faked Switch campaign. And there’s the rub ladies and gentlemen, its a fake. It was a mistake and they should be commended on their speed of correction but it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. It also doesn’t change the fact that in Microsoft’s most recent Marketing report they get two stars for the blogging program but lose one for the Switch episode.

For the record, many moons ago I worked on a Microsoft PR account and I have never before or since come across a more professional, passionate and effective PR machine. But let’s get some perspective, if I praise them when it’s right they should be knocked when it’s wrong. No one’s perfect. Just look at the spelling, grammer and waffle on this page…. [Comments]

Written by Tom Murphy

October 15, 2002 at 10:24 pm

Posted in General

Tue, 15 Oct 2002 01:28:42 GMT

So Microsoft is working with bloggers and gaining a competitive advantage. It’s legitimate and rewards their innovative marketing. But then they go and undo all that good work with sloppy, unimaginative and ill-advised tactics.

Apple�s Switch campaign � which I think is quite compelling advertising � is obviously annoying Microsoft.

And as I discussed last week, when companies feel threatened they do the oddest things.

In this case Microsoft initiated their own “Switch” campaign – but of course this time it detailed Mac users who had switched to Windows.

One problem, they weren�t real users, they were Microsofties � using stock photography trying to pretend they were real people. Doh!

If the Internet has taught us anything, it has taught us that manufacturing untruths is a very very dangerous business.

Of course at the first sniff of trouble (They were rumbled on Slashdot) Microsoft removed the page, but the wonderful Google has cached it and Dave Winer has a screen shot!!

Written by Tom Murphy

October 15, 2002 at 2:28 am

Posted in General

Tue, 15 Oct 2002 01:16:26 GMT

Microsoft is one of the most effective product marketing organizations on the planet. Full stop.

While it’s corporate marketing and public affairs activities can sometime err on the wrong side of agressive, their product PR machine is astonishingly effective. They monitor blogs in all their target markets and have a full proactive outreach program to the bloggers. Nick Denton points out just how fast Microsoft are.

Mitch Ratcliffe raises concerns that Microsoft will be able to exert undue influence on bloggers who don’t have the training to cut through the noise.

Doc Searls gives his, always readable, tuppence on the matter.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 15, 2002 at 2:16 am

Posted in General

Tue, 15 Oct 2002 01:07:44 GMT

I�m sure you have by this stage heard about Ross Irvine�s latest missive on PR and the Internet. It�s been posted to every PR mailing list I�m on. Ross� focus is primarily focused on activism and NGO�s but it�s relevant to a wider audience.

Ross does make a lot of very valid points in the piece, entitled �PR Kittens� though sometimes I wish he would reduce the number of crass generalizations about how incompetent PR people are online. While I would agree our profession is not a stellar online performer, I find some of his views a little patronizing for my taste. However having said that, you could do worse than have a read of it, at the very least it�ll provoke a response. He has other opinion pieces on his site which are also worth a browse.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 15, 2002 at 2:07 am

Posted in General