Friday, June 01, 2007

"Experts"

About two months ago, the company I work for hired an outside marketing firm to help us navigate the maze that is the Microsoft partner site – an overwhelmingly complicated web portal with literally thousands of pages on how to market and sell Microsoft’s business solutions.

We hired “experts” who could help us “maximize” our Microsoft marketing dollars.

I was perfectly okay with this.

In fact, I thought it was a fabulous idea because a) I honestly didn’t know how to make sure that Microsoft would match the money we spent on events and b) Even though I’ve been doing this for 17+ years, I’m always, always open to the opportunity to learn new things from “experts”.

Well fuck that. Hard. And with much hatred.
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I’ve said it before: Marketing is not rocket science. By any stretch of the imagination.

It’s a field for people like me – with average intelligence and perhaps above average creativity. Of course, big tits and a good personality will more than compensate for those pesky intelligence/creativity requirements in a pinch.

Marketing people are NOT the folks you want leading the charge in blood-all-over-the-dashboard situations.
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Unfortunately, before too long, it became apparent that even the simplest, menial tasks were challenging for these marketing “experts”:
  • Numerous typos on the snail-mail invitation delayed printing until less than three weeks before the events were to be hosted in Chicago and Minneapolis
  • A typo in the e-mail version of the invitation sent Minnesota contacts to a registration link for the Chicago event
  • Half way through the registration process, the “experts” questioned whether or not registrants were receiving confirmation e-mails automatically (even though when we met during the planning phase this concept was confirmed repeatedly)
  • Nearly 50% of the registration data gathered by the “experts” hired to make follow up calls was incomplete and/or inaccurate
  • After spending $12,000 on two events (nearly quadruple what we typically spend) there were a whopping SEVEN PEOPLE registered for each event
  • And finally, the people registered for these events were mostly from car dealerships and community churches – not the type of organizations that would ever, ever need or use my company’s services.
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“Guess what?” I ask my boss, the VP of Sales & Marketing. “Bill Hybels is coming to our event. Do you know who he is?”

The founder of Willow Creek Church?” he says, with a bewildered look on his face.

“Yep,” I say. “Maybe we can get him to pray for more registrations.”

Bill Hybels is not only the founder of Willow Creek Church, he’s the inventor of the McChurch concept. He's like Oprah Winfrey for born-agains.

He’s NOT attending a breakfast seminar to learn how to use software to help manage his financials.

How do I know this? God told me.
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Hedy! You've never made a mistake?

Of course. I've made some whoppers over the years.

But never, ever this many on one project. And certainly not when someone was paying me $12k for my "expertise".
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The last event I hosted – sans experts, mind you – had 40 people in the room. This is an entirely respectable number given the yawn of a topic we covered.

And the event before that? More than 170 people attended. In two cities.

This is still small-time marketing for sure. Again with the tits and personality.

But I can fill a room goddammit. I can fill a fucking room.
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I’ve never been a big fan of “experts.”

And I’m especially wary of the self-proclaimed ones who want you to pay them thousands of dollars for stuff you could readily do yourself.

What pisses me off most?

I honestly thought I’d learn something from these incompetent fuckwits.

Maybe I should start calling myself an expert.
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I am listening to: The Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues
I am reading: Bleh, sorry, Three Cups still
And I am: Looking forward to the weekend

5 comments:

DewMama said...

I kinda have to take exception to the use of the term "fuckwits." For obvious reasons.

Hedy said...

In your case, it's not at all what you are. It's what you two do.

Love ya, buddy. :)

phatdoggy said...

Sounds like they're event planners, and not very good ones. If so, I've used a company that has done good things for me. Let me know if you want a contact.

-Mr.Uk

dr. detroit said...

DON'T PAY THEM!.....

It's time to Bitch about it!...Show your past numbers to them and show them how they PLUMMETED when they arrived. Quit sitting there like a bunch of pussies and do something about it!

Start with, "The results you gave us were less than satisfactory......here is $4,500!" ......then see what the have to say about it.

This is hard earned money...quit dickin around! You're the suckers if you let them get away with it.

Hedy said...

Update: Not ONE person showed up for the event this morning. 17 years of marketing events and that's never happened. Unbelievable. And get this: When we called the 'expert' to get an explanation -- she tried to push it off on me. "Wasn't Heather sending out the reminders?" Yes, you silly bitch, I sent out the reminders. It was the only thing that was actually done right on this project. Dr. Detroit is right -- we're not paying for any of this.