Rodney Gedda's piece of the Web

Striking a chord on surveys


It’s good to know my blogs are useful for some people. What am I saying, I always knew they would be.

If there’s one thing that’s really satisfying about being a journalist it is when one of your readers sends you a message thanking you for writing an article that provides information helpful to their job. It’s even better when you’ve provided the kind of information a reader can refer to in order to strengthen an argument which saves time in their everyday duties.

And blogging gives journalists an opportunity to convey their stance on a variety of issues they might not otherwise be able to communicate during their regular beats.

So it was quite pleasing to receive and e-mail the other week from a PR friend of mine at a multinational IT vendor (which shall remain nameless) thanking me for stating my case about the irrelevance of surveying the media to gather company, and competitive, market intelligence. Basically your typical client survey from a PR agency.

The message is as follows…

BTW read your blog yesterday…

I especially liked your comments on media audits – every year I get asked to do one by the PR bosses and refuse but they think I must be trying to hide something. I keep saying “media hate it” and “you pay me to know this stuff so we don’t have to ask”. Now I have proof – thanks!

Unfortunately I couldn’t convince the person to fork out a donation for exclusive reprint rights to the post, ah well…

The key phrase here being “you pay me to know this stuff so we don’t have to ask”. Excelllent, I thought. If your remember, I stated…

“So before you pick up the phone and pitch me a client survey, go back and ask them (the vendor communications intelligentsia) what they have done to proactively build up public perception. If they can answer that then they will at least have half a clue about where to direct their future media relations efforts. If they can?t, unfortunately no survey will help anyway.”

In other words, “you pay me to know this stuff so we don’t have to ask”.

Taking that approach will ensure the marketing team are accountable for the public perception it has built up for the company – which is definitely a good thing. Resorting to making decisions on “but Journalist ABC from publication XYZ said we’re number two in this market” rubbish is clutching at straws, big time.


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