I was at a luncheon today where a sponsor was given a few minutes to get up and talk about their product. They took their three minutes in front of a mostly-members crowd, reminded them that purchasing the product benefited their organization and then sat down. Not being a member of the group, I was a bit in the dark about what they did, so I asked the member on my left about the sponsor’s product. I had to laugh when she said, “All I know is that he’s from Connecticut and they are having a seminar on the product tomorrow.” Truthfully, she ended up with more info than anyone else at the table.
What a waste! This sponsor committed the sin of believing everyone already knew about his product, and so he didn’t go into any level of detail–he didn’t even have information on the tables for our reference. Of course, we’ve also been at events where the sponsors drone on in excruciating detail about every single feature or their product, which doesn’t help the cause either.
What to do? Well, first off it’s not enough to know your audience (and we could argue today’s sponsor didn’t). You actually have to know your audience’s pain and then speak to it. If he had said, “How many of you have ever had trouble getting a reporter to return your phone call or email?” Most of the room would have perked up. There isn’t a PR person in the world who hasn’t had that problem. And most of us HATE making more than one call to a lukewarm reporter.
Since I was trying to be fair and balanced in this blog, I took the extra time to do a little research on this product. The sad thing is, even with the company flyer that I went out of my way to pick up and a visit to their website, I’m STILL not sure exactly what their product does because I couldn’t find any mention of it on their website. For crying out loud! If you are going to market a product to PR people, do you think you should employ some basic PR or marketing principles???
So for the next hapless sponsor of this luncheon, I give you the following advice FREE:
1) Speak to our PR pain.
2) Give us collateral materials (i.e. printed brochures, flyers or even business cards) to reference while you are talking.
3) Make it easy for us to find out more about your product.
4) Grab our attention with well thought-out give away items.
5) Make your seminar irresistible and invaluable (especially if it is tomorrow).
In this economy, if you are going to pay perfectly good money to be a sponsor, you need to wring every last drop out of each opportunity. Otherwise, it would be cheaper and easier to save the plane fare or gas money and just hand it over to next homeless person you meet. Which, if you can’t get that product sold, may be you!