Post 67: The experience gap and the resulting PR mismatch

I don’t want to blow my own horn too much here, but the premise for this post is that I’ve been hanging around IT for 13 years now.

A lot of the PRs I speak with have not. They’ve been at it for many fewer years.

This creates an interesting phenomenon when my long involvement means I know their arguments are a nonsense.

Take, for example, an exchange I am currently having with Microsoft.

The company’s PR are asserting that the company is currently trying to “democratise” business intelligence which has hitherto been so hard to implement, the argument goes, that small businesses have not been able to adopt it.

Now this flies in the face of at least two things.

One is Microsoft’s frequent and (not a little) proud assertion that Excel is the world’s most-used BI tool. For me, if making a spreadsheet and having users turn it to a different function (BI) is not an example of democracy at work then have me tarred and feathered.

The second is that I have personally been involved in the launch of Microsoft partners’ BI products aimed at small business, which Microsoft has lauded as doing just what it is trying to do now …

Of course a young-ish PR has no way of knowing these things. Dumped onto the account with (I deeply suspect) minimal training they cannot have the same depth of experience on the issue. And PR in general seems to have little interest in historical positioning or explaining how a product category has evolved to the point where clients now have a different stance.

It makes me wonder how many PR pitches are essentially nonsensical because they are informed by the latest round of messages, instead of having an understanding of how to genuinely advance the meta-narrative.

Perhaps worthy of even more investigation is how often writers do not have the background to put the latest pitch from vendors and their PR into perspective …


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