Asking the wrong questions

I hear lots of questions about the state of the media and how companies can communicate their messages in our current situation. Most of them are not to good. Here's a few to consider:

What's your circulation? (Asked in reference to New Tech Press)

That's a really bad question, at least if you're honest about what you want to accomplish. Most companies have stopped advertising and supporting B2B media because they claim the circulation doesn't reach their target market and they don't want to advertise to a bunch of people they don't care about. That's why I said "if you're honest." The real reason companies don't support mass media is because they think the can get it for free through PR.

Can you get us into EE Times/Information Week/BusinessWeek? (asked in reference to Pr services)

Again this is both bad and dishonest Companies that ask this question don't spend anything to support the media because they claim it doesn't "reach" their target market, but they still push their PR companies to get the broadest possible coverage in as many magazines as possible. Why? Because the see that as "free" advertising. After all they pay the PR reps very little now adays so it's a good deal for them. the problem is that the media has figured that out and is no longer supporting that model. So the answer to the question is, probably not unless you have a technology that is so stupendous that they can't help but see the value. As Patrick Mannion pointed out yesterday the semiconductor industry hasn't yet figured out why they aren't getting the coverage they used to get. What Patrick didn't say is that there are few companies in technology who have figure that out.

What experience do you have in this technology?

What job seeker hasn't heard this before? It happens to PR agencies, Ad agencies, and even publications when they are talking about reporters. How's this for an answer: Well, you've just said you have no competition, therefore you are either doing something so new that no one has experience in it or it is so useless that no one else wants to do it. At least, that's an answer I heard a VC give a company that told the investor that the company had no competitors.

Let's be very clear about what our situation is. What you remember being the case 10 years ago no longer applies; there are no guaranteed results anymore because everything has to be done different than you've ever done before; and there are customers for your products and services out there that you don't know about and, more importantly, don't know about you. The mass media is the only way to reach them and you better figure out how to work with them and support them if you want to succeed.