Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for January 2004

Internet Marketing: Then and Now

Dan Gillmor one of the most popular blogging journalists on the web (3.5 million visits during 2003!) points to an interesting article from Doc Searls on Internet Marketing.

“Through the Internet, however, consumers can do more than just consume. They can participate in marketing communications. This can allow marketing communications to evolve from a peripheral activity to a primary function — one with close ties to sales, customer service, marketing, R&D, operations and just about every other activity that stands to benefit from customer participation.”

It’s an interesting view and an interesting piece – particularly given it was written in January 1995! It’s weathered well.

Dan also points to a story in Washington Post on how Wall-Mart is trying to soften its public image by putting the sales messages in the background.

“Wal-Mart’s surveys showed consumers mistrusted the company’s labor practices and its impact on the community. Shortly after the ad began airing in late September, Wal-Mart suffered another blow when federal agents raided its stores around the country and arrested about 200 undocumented immigrants working on cleaning crews.”

Written by Tom Murphy

January 28, 2004 at 5:36 pm

Posted in General

Comments on RSS and PR

To follow up on my recent postings regarding RSS and PRElizabeth Albrycht and Mitch Wagner (who has also updated his blog) kindly took the time to post some additional comments to the discussion and if you’re interested in RSS (and media relations) I recommend you take a read. You might even add your own opinions!

Written by Tom Murphy

January 28, 2004 at 5:30 pm

Posted in General

A new home for the Strategic Public Relations Blog

Kevin Dugan has moved his blog “Strategic Public Relations” to a new home at Typepad and he’s rather happy to be providing an RSS feed at last!

Written by Tom Murphy

January 28, 2004 at 5:26 pm

Posted in General

Spam Act only affecting the innocent…

Well as we move towards the end of January has anyone seen a decrease in Spam?

It seems to me that the volume of spam keeps growing and the only people who have taken any notice of the CAN-SPAM Act are legitimate businesses who only account for a tiny fraction of the spam we get every day.

So as usual, legitimate businesses have been trying to understand the Act and its implications. Legitimate businesses have been changing their e-mail practices to adhere to the act and in the meantime the major source of spam, i.e. the people who inform you of new wonder drugs, illegal software and amateur photo opportunities have continued on regardless.

We need more than CAN-SPAM and given the impact of spam on global business I’d expect a more concerted effort to stop those people who are causing such grief on a daily basis. Mr. Gates says the spam problem will be solved in two years… I won’t be placing any bets on that prediction.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 27, 2004 at 1:22 pm

Posted in General

A new old PR blog

Phil Gomes who previously wrote his own weblog before hosting the G2B Group’s version has re-started his original blog.


Written by Tom Murphy

January 27, 2004 at 7:56 am

Posted in General

RSS is a tool not a cure…

Mitch Wagner took the time to comment on my post last week on RSS. I think he raises an interesting issue.

He ponders “how is an RSS feed going to make you more effective at PR? Why should we assume that the RSS feed will contain content any more interesting to me than any of those (irrelevant PR) e-mails and phone calls?”

Of course the answer is RSS doesn’t mean the content is any better. The fax, the word processor and the Internet have failed to change the nature of PR information and how it’s delivered. However RSS does add one additional feature to the mix.

If there are companies worth tracking, news can be quickly and easily scanned in one place (the RSS reader).  Furthermore, RSS is completely democratic.  You decide if you want to subscribe or not.

So if I do a good job with a journalist (or a customer or a partner) they will add my feed(s) to their RSS reader and there’s a much higher chance of them seeing and even reading the news. That’s a big win for PR and can (when the majority of companies in a market are using RSS) help everyone keep up with breaking news in a far easier way than e-mail or even web sites.

As E-mail continues to die on its feet, then if a growing number of people begin to use RSS to keep up to date, every company must work hard to ensure the content they are providing is relevant so that people will remain subscribed.

I admit we are at the very early stages of RSS, however as it gathers momentum it should have benefits for the company and the media. Now if I send rubbish across my RSS feed I know I run the risk of people unsubscribing.

Will it stop stupid phonecalls? No.

Will it stop stupid irrelevant e-mail? No (in the short run)

Does it provide a far easier way of keeping on top of the latest news from hundreds of companies? Yes.

In summary, RSS is a tool that helps in managing the exponentially growing volume of data.  Unfortunately it’s an addition and not a replacement for what went before.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 26, 2004 at 6:22 pm

Posted in General

Why RSS is good enough for PR

Dylan Greene has some well argued points on why RSS is not ready for “prime time”. While I think many of his thoughts are absolutely valid, in my opinion they don’t preclude the use of RSS today.

Here’s why I think that’s the case.

The simple fact is that the best solution to a problem, particularly a problem related to technology, is not always the one that wins. In fact the best, most complete and well built solution rarely wins – think Microsoft Windows.

From a PR perspective what we want from RSS is a mechanism that can automatically communicate with our audience (journalists, analysts, customers, partners etc.) and inform them when there is something new and noteworthy taking place.

Why do we want this mechanism? Well it is an alternative to the spam-filled inboxes of our audience.  It is cost-effective and very efficient at alerting your audience and delivering the content.

It is also a very effective tool for overwhelmed PR practitioners, who can quickly and easily keep up to date with the latest news and developments from key publications and companies.

Does it offer archives? No.

Is it user-friendly (or is my mother likely to use it)? No.

Is it interactive, offering the ability to make comments? No.

Does any of this matter for the purposes of communication? No.

Sure there are improvements that can be made to RSS.  But the fact is, it is highly efficient at publishing information. If someone needs an archive or the ability to add comments then visit the website where the content originates.

The more we try and add bells and whistles to this thing the greater the opportunity for missing the point.

RSS works today, a growing number of companies offer the feeds, a growing number of journalists and customers are subscribing to them warts and all.

Of course RSS isn’t a replacement for e-mail and there’s no doubt that many people will treat RSS as some techie fad. That’s always the way.  But we’re already getting the benefit of RSS and it can’t hurt you to try.

What’s wrong with that? Nothing.



Written by Tom Murphy

January 23, 2004 at 1:37 pm

Posted in General