Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2003

E-mail marketing and the art of a good news site…

 Jim Horton points to a Cyberjounalist.net article on sixty ways to improvide your news site.

 Phil Gomes over at the G2Blog  links to a feature in Inc. on how marketers are trying to manage effecitive (legitimate) e-mail marketing amidst the volume and the spam filters.

 On a related topic ClickZ provides a checklist for a B2B E-mail-shot.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 31, 2003 at 1:42 pm

Posted in General

The problem with PR agency HR

Loren Pomerantz, a partner at PR agency Combined Forces, is performing what can only be described as a public PR service.  She’s writing a column over at MediaBistro that addresses some of the myths that surround PR.

In her first column she raises an issue close to my heart, namely why in the majority of PR agencies is media relations merely a stepping stone to senior management?

“The way it works in most agency settings is that the more senior you get the less contact you have with reporters and editors. These higher-level people�the ones with the intelligence and experience�spend most of their time managing staff, clients, budgets, and strategies.”

Now before you start giving out, I know a lot of agencies don’t follow this practice, but in my experience it is the norm.  I myself remember gazing up the organizational structure and longing for when I wouldn’t have to “do” media relations.

Now that I’m older and more boring, I realize I was mistaken.  Good media relations skills are a blessing. It’s not something to be given up for spreadsheets and meetings.  The ability to work closely with journalists serves many purposes, but first and foremost it means you have a connection with the coalface.

Good media relations should be cherished by PR companies, not used as boot camp training. I know this first hand, I went away and came back.  And I found I missed it.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 30, 2003 at 3:32 pm

Posted in General

JP Morgan Chase: Quote of the day

I couldn’t resist this quote from JP Morgan Chase on their SEC settlement over the Enron scandal. (Courtesy of the ever-dependable Corporate Babble):

 “JPMorgan Chase has neither admitted nor denied the SEC�s allegations, but has consented to the order sought by the SEC enjoining the company from future violations of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws and requiring it to pay a total of $135 million, consisting of $65 million of disgorgement of revenues, $5 million of interest, and $65 million of penalties.”

Written by Tom Murphy

July 30, 2003 at 12:28 pm

Posted in General

PR Boo

I have just finished reading boo hoo, the inside story on Boo.com.  You might remember them as the “urban fashion” dotcom that managed to burn through $185 million in under two years.

It’s written by Ernst Malmsten one of the co-founders and it’s a staggering read.

The founders, Ernst and Kajsa Leander, successfully founded and sold an online bookstore before venturing into the world of high fashion.

You have to give Ernst respect for putting the history in print, because he does not come out of this account with glory. Of course, it would be unfair to take the book out of context.  When you are reading it you have to remember back to the height of the dotcom madness.  A time when managing costs was for wimps.

The first thing you realize reading the book is that Ernst is a fashion snob. He spends a lot of the book commenting on the dress sense of advisors – I kid you not.

It’s like watching a trainwreck as you read mistake after mistake – one of my favorites is when they started evaluating new business lines BEFORE the site even went live!

But what was of most interest from a PR view was Ernst’s experience with PR.  He is the nightmare client.  He expects his agency to set up interviews with Vogue and every other leading fashion magazine even though they are unheard of.  After a meeting with his agency he makes the caustic comment that he would have been better off doing it himself. Sound familiar? Of course the nice part is he realises in hindsight, his agency did a fantastic job. And they did.

Its a little ironic that the Ernst Malmsten domain is actually owned by a disgruntled boo.com supplier.

Best dotcom trainwreck book I’ve read to date. And he needs the cash.

Other links:

  • Here’s the transcript of a talk Ernst gave post-Boo

Written by Tom Murphy

July 30, 2003 at 9:36 am

Posted in General

Another PR blog

Jeremy Pepper has launched a blog to document the start of his new PR firm. Pop! Public Relations.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 30, 2003 at 9:08 am

Posted in General

Turkeys, Corporate Speak and Entrepreneurs…

 Adele Ravella over at productmarketing.com has a good piece on removing marketing speech from your communications.  (Thanks to B2Blog for the link)

 Entrepreneur magazine – which has been promoting PR a lot recently – advises its readers to take PR seriously.

 The latest winner of the “Turkey voting for Christmas/Thanksgiving” award goes to Wally Roberts whose job was promoting and enhancing Barre’s (VT) central business district.  It’s reported that he has resigned after being quoted saying that Barre’s downtown was �dying slowly�.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 29, 2003 at 2:58 pm

Posted in General

Larry Weber takes to the weblog road

I have been catching up on my e-mail and after my post yesterday on the I-PR anti-blog discussions, I see there were even more negative posts yesterday. 

I really don’t understand PR people’s problems with blogs.  Get over it.  If you don’t think they matter, ignore them.  There are loads of clients who will benefit from your ignorance. (The discussion has even descended into “well blogs are just a web page”).

But it’s not all bad news.  Along with you, who by reading this are already participating in the blog world, Larry Weber, the driving force behind what is now Weber Shandwick [FLASH Warning] thinks that there’s some gold in them there hills.

In an interview in the Boston Herald, Larry unveils his plans for providing marketing services built around the new tools and techniques for reaching and building relationships with audiences.

He (Weber) talked about “viral communication,” or using virtual communities to spread a message. “That’s what blogging is,” Weber added, referring to the Web’s proliferation of open but focused bulletin boards called Web logs, or simply blogs, that anyone can use to post a message. “You really can’t underestimate that,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a consolidation of marketing,” Weber said, as enterprises seek better ways to use technology to reach target audiences.

Amen to that Larry.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 29, 2003 at 10:28 am

Posted in General