Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for June 2004

A beginners guide to what PR is actually about…

When I was studying marketing, the last practice area I wanted to work in was Public Relations. 

The image of Absolutely Fabulous, glitzy parties and widespread “air kissing” was too much to bear. How I ended up in PR is a longer story but suffice to say my ignorance was a barrier to entry.

Richard Bailey has posted a short essay explaining what Public Relations is about, written by one of his first year students Katherine Shenton. 

I wish I had known about this all those years ago…

“As I mentioned earlier, PR is not always sexy. You may find yourself working in a political PR agency or working within a pork pie factory’s in-house PR department; you�ve just got to focus on what you want to do and be determined. PR is a difficult industry to enter so you�ll need to be enthusiastic and confident. People don�t understand all the work that goes into organising a trade show but I hope you do now.”

Written by Tom Murphy

June 25, 2004 at 5:08 pm

Posted in General

PR Opinions Blog Announces Blog Post on Blogs…

Hurrah it’s been a full week since I posted anything about blogs.  Fantastic. My neck has nearly recovered from the awful cramp I got from all that navel gazing :-).

But now my neck has recovered sufficiently for me to dip back into the navel (so to speak).

Mike ManuelElizabeth Albrycht and Jeneana Sessum are debating whether you should “announce” your blog with a press release.

Now first of all let me say up front that I don’t buy all the anti-press release sentiment that is around today.  I think press releases serve a specific purpose and continue to have some value – even if it’s only that it provides a standard format for communicating news – regardless of how sloppy it is.

But I don’t think press releasing a new corporate weblog is a great idea and here’s why.

The whole point of a weblog is to provide an informative source of first person information that hopefully offers a human face to your organization.  It should try and engage your audience, inform them, promote debate with them and in general communicate with them.

A blog, IMHO should be launched organically.  You should absolutely promote it on your website (ideally by pointing to some interesting posts), use the content from the blog to provoke discussion in your newsletter(s).  Engage other bloggers in your sphere of influence, target journalists with relevant postings.

But there’s a clear disconnect between those activites and a press release.

If you build it (think a lot about it, write honestly, add real value and get involved in open debate) they will come…. really they will.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 25, 2004 at 4:34 pm

Posted in General

Gmail.. a case study in creating consumer advocates…

Tom Hespos over at MediaPost takes a look at the very effective marketing campaign Google have executed around their Gmail beta program.

“At first, I didn’t want one (a Gmail account). After all, I need another email account like I need a hole in the head. But simple curiosity, as well as the prestige that had become a part of the Gmail brand, forced me to succumb….Of course, given the Gmail prestige, I immediately sent a couple invitations out, thus becoming a Gmail advocate.”

Google really has demonstrated amazing innovation in building their business and it’s not just marketing.  They have built useful technology that lives up to your expectations.  The combination creates a powerful market presence.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 22, 2004 at 7:54 pm

Posted in General

Hey dude, you're confusing me…

I just came across a weird piece from Infoworld’s gossip column this week: 

“Keep the perception man … anytime I can see a flip mo like this, it’s a beam of light.”

I received these words of praise (I think) about one of my many recent swipes at Microsoft. The strange part is they came from an account rep at Waggener-Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR powerhouse. Memo to Ballmer: I don’t know what you’re putting in the water up there, but I think you used too much.

I haven’t anything to add to that really. Very strange.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 21, 2004 at 7:17 pm

Posted in General

Survey: PR people are…

Someday in the future, probably a long time in the future, a survey is going to appear which has a stunning set of findings. Those findings will include the discovery that journalists are overwhelmingly happy with how PR people deliver information, liaise with them etc.

Unfortunately I’ll probably read that study from a nursing home, but I’m confident it will appear.

In the meantime we’re stuck with surveys which find that PR people are simply doing a bad job of targeting, informing and engaging with the media.

The latest is a very detailed study (PDF) from the UK sponsored by the “Internet Press Centre” measuring “is the PR industry using online effectively to communicate information to the press”.

You won’t be terribly surprised when I tell you that the answer (according to the study) is a resounding no.

Among the findings:

  • Journalists believe the Internet is the most effective ‘reach’ channel.  PR managers believe face-to-face is best
  • 32% of journalist say that less then 10% of the press releases they receive are of genuine interest
  • The most popular reasons a journalist will read a press release are that it comes from a trusted source and that it originates from a company they follow. The third reason is an interesting subject line.
  • The leading pet hates when it comes to e-mailed press releases are poorly targeted stories, poor contact details and attachments

Here’s my take….

People expect more personalization on the Internet.  This isn’t just journalists, it includes customers and prospects.  It seems companies in general are bad at segmentation and building databases that cater for specific interests. This isn’t a PR-only problem, but it’s important nonetheless.

PR teams need to do a better job sharing information and intelligence, whether that is by using large databases or using new tools such as internal blogs

There is a clear difference (from the study) between the needs and desires of PR people and journalists.  There will always be differences and there are limits in how close you can bring the different parties together.

The corporate website is continuing to grow in importance for all audiences.  PR people need to get involved. 88% of journalists surveyed said they visit a company’s website when they’re writing a story. Of course our track record in this category is poor.  The one area we do primarily own, i.e. the online press room, still isn’t meeting the media’s needs. This is an area we can fix very quickly. It’s not like it’s a surprise to any of us!

Here’s hoping for utopia.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 21, 2004 at 1:20 pm

Posted in General

This is the last weblog-related post (for a while)…

OK, this is the last weblog-related post for a couple of (working) days at least. 

Reading back over the past week it seems the world is awash with nothing other than content about the wonder of blogs. I’m personally getting a little bored with it, so I can only imagine how my poor reader(s) feels.

So to finish off the current blog binge, there’s a survey that has just been released by Blogads which tried to discover what kind of people read blogs.

You’ll be surprised to discover that of the 17,159 blog readers that were interviewed:

“Exactly 61% …..are over the age of 30, and 75% make more than $45,000 a year….nearly 30% of the respondents are between the ages of 31 and 40…. over 37% spanned the ages of 41 to 60….. nearly 40% have a household income of $90,000 or higher.”

So if you’re reading this weblog, then statistically it’s likely that you are an affluent old fart.

Now while I would agree that it’s unlikely that a survey, sponsored by a company who sell blog-based advertising, would discover that no one reads or values blogs (it’s the equivalent of a survey about the benefits of white meat sponsored by the nation’s turkeys in November), the figures are interesting nonetheless.

Additional findings included that over 79% of blog readers (should the term be blogettes?) read blogs to get news that they can’t find elsewhere and over 77% read them to get a “better perspective”.

So that’s it.  No more posts on the topic of weblogs for a while.  I can feel the weight lifting from my shoulders already….


Thanks to Lean for the story!

You can read eMarketer’s summary of the research here.


Written by Tom Murphy

June 18, 2004 at 1:45 pm

Posted in General

Retro Marketing Plans

I have meant to post this link for a few days now.  It’s for those of you, who like me, are sad enough to be interested in old technology marketing plans.

It’s the launch plan for the original Apple Macintosh.

I first saw this plan in Guy Kawasaki’s book “Selling the Dream” where it’s reproduced as it was printed at the time.

The site also has a wealth of links to other related Apple marketing documents from the time.


Thanks to Caterina Fake for the link!

Written by Tom Murphy

June 17, 2004 at 9:51 am

Posted in General