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Jonny Sundt

Interbike ’12: Day One Recap

16 Sep ’12 Comments (9) Adventures, Better Bike Industry, Blog, Event Coverage, Interbike 2012

Open Letter to Marketing & PR Agencies in the Bicycle Industry

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Marketing departments, CEO’s and public relations agencies this is for you

It is Sunday evening at 5pm eastern standard time. In 12 hours I will be at the airport on my way to Las Vegas for Interbike. Most of my collegues and friends are either in Las Vegas or on their way. They aren’t sitting by their phone or computer waiting…

We aren’t waiting to get your press release the Saturday night before a show that starts on Monday. We don’t want a meeting invitation hours before we travel. We want planning, we want to be prepared and we want to get your shit at least 5 days ago.

I do my best to walk into a trade show, conference or any meeting (with ANYONE) prepared. Product or person researched. Questions formed. Batteries charged. Clothes wrinkle free and brain ready to rock.

When you send me meeting request last minute, or photos of product being launched… or the best yet, a link to a website that doesn’t even have a page holder but a dead link. You have sacrificed your image and even more, you have put yourself into a class that I don’t believe you give a shit about your product or those you are asking to promote it.

Next time you aren’t prepared here’s a suggestion. Don’t message or email me unless you are telling me to stop by your booth for a free beer. No time commitments, no broken links. Just a text email, text message or phone call that shows you realize you are behind the times but want to connect when I can.

My job over the next 7 days is two fold:
#1 sell product for the brands I represent in the Southeast.
#2 to promote product I believe my readers will enjoy.

It is not to promote a product I believe will let them down, come to market late or backed by people that don’t have their goods straight. You aren’t paying me and every person that emailed over the past 5 days.. I don’t owe a favor to. The people that I owe favors to have been contacted and meetings (or beer) have been setup.

Who am I to say all this? I’ve brought many marketing campaigns and products to market bigger than your jersey or new bike wheel design. There is rhyme and reason to it. Being a class act and putting your best foot forward are PR 101.

Sincerely,

Arleigh Jenkins – Bike Shop Girl.

PS. I may stop by your booth to give you a hard time. I promise I’ll be smiling and I’m not there to piss you off. I want the bike industry to grow, be strong and have standards. Take this as my way of helping you get there.

9 Responses to Open Letter to Marketing & PR Agencies in the Bicycle Industry

  1. Rick Vosper says:

    “This is not ‘Mission Difficult,’ Ms Arleigh…” Welcome to the Bike Biz.

    And don’t forget the dozens of people who just want twenty minutes of your time to tell you at great length about their a: new invention b: racing team c: brother-in-law who needs a new bike and can’t afford one because he’s a college student.

  2. Or dear friends I can only see once or twice a year to drink a beer with.

    Yes Mr. Vosper – I’m talking about you.

  3. Lovely Bicycle! says:

    This will be my 2nd year at Interbike, but it’s the first year when I’ve signed up in advance, put my contact info out there for the industry, etc. Until read your posts on this topic I was really confused – because about 80% of the PR agencies and retailers who’ve contacted me have only done so over the past week. In fact, I am still getting meeting requests all day today (Sunday!). Well, good to know it’s not just me. Disappointing to know that this is “normal” for the industry.

  4. Ray Keener says:

    Two general comments about this, as someone who’s been setting meetings at Interbike from both sides of the aisle for 30+ years:

    1. IT’S A BELL-SHAPED CURVE. Some companies are bugging you for a meeting a month ahead of the show. Some, you KNOW you’ll never get a meeting unless you stop by the booth Wednesday morning. Everyone else is somewhere in between.

    Why? It depends on the company (how organized it is, how stretched thin everyone is) and the personalities involved. And these things hardly ever change. No names named here, no need. You learn with experience how each company works.

    2. YOU HAVE THE CLOUT YOU HAVE. I guarantee you, Bicycling Magazine editors don’t get The Goods the weekend before the show. They’re the ones who get courted a month ahead of time.

    When I’m calling from BRaIN to do a story or get a quote, I can hear them scurrying around when I call: “It’s BRaIN, pull them out of that meeting!” When I’m calling to sell THEM something, it may take two or three calls and a couple weeks to get a response.

    So Bottom Line, here, BSG, as a rep and a blogger, you don’t have very much clout. And because of the bell-shaped curve, some companies will treat you respectfully anyway, and some will practically ignore you.

    I wince at the veiled threat I hear: “If you don’t treat me the way I think I deserve, I’m going to pay less attention to your product.” Do you think your readers really want to hear that? Unless someone “owes you a favor,” you won’t “promote” their product?

    The failure in your logic: Some of the companies that are the slackers of all time about setting up meetings have the BEST products. Maybe they’re spending time on product development and serving their supply chain more than worrying about you?

    In my experience, lecturing, even scolding people about how they do business with you has very little impact, unless you’re placing huge orders or have millions of readers.

    Get the clout first. Then you won’t NEED to tell them how you want to be treated. They’ll already be taking great care of you!

    • Ray –

      I encourage you to read the complete post again. I promote or talk about products that I believe will benefit my readers. That is what I said.

      Clout.. funny you use that word. I’ve had appointments for 6 months with very recognizable names in the industry that reached out to me. It’s not my business to talk about that, it is my business to push the bike industry to be in a better place.

      These companies are sending blanket emails to 500 media contacts, Bicycling is in there too, on Sunday, about product and websites that aren’t even live yet. And I know I’m being treated the same as James or maurice as I see their emails in the to field.

      Is it wrong to want more out of the industry and not to sit idle to allow people to be slackers? Am I asking too much for companies to not send BLANKET emails to everyone?

      Thank you for the lecture, I will always ask for them for people like yourself that have been in the industry for a very long time.

  5. Ray Keener says:

    THEN you said, “It is not to promote a product I believe will let them down, come to market late or backed by people that don’t have their goods straight.”

    Which I interpret to mean, “If I don’t like the way you communicate with me, then your products probably aren’t very good.” There is no such correlation.

    I’m impressed that you set your sights so high. That by scolding these unnamed marketers, that you’ll “push the bike industry to be in a better place.”

    Good luck with that. I hope you don’t end up with WORSE communication by biting the hand that feeds you.

  6. […] of my new cycling friends, Arleigh Jenkins aka Bike Shop Girl, made a great point on her site the other day about trade show marketing and media. I’ve been covering trade shows for what […]

  7. Ray,

    Thanks for chiming back in with response! I don’t believe having open conversation of wants and needs in this industry is a bad thing, nor do I believe it is biting the hand that feeds me.

    I’m not going to point my readers to sketchy companies, with questionable websites, or product that isn’t reliable.

    This isn’t “scolding” but feedback. How is the industry going to grow by the same people saying or doing the same thing? Our industry isn’t growing or at least that is what your reports say. Why is taking notable practices from other (Growing) industries) a bad thing?

    Thanks again Ray, I welcome all conversation around this and yes – this was meant to be constructive criticism but not hating on anyone. We are all trying our best in this world and can ALL use reminding here and there.

  8. Greg Heil says:

    I definitely agree with your basic premise: I have gotten so many mass emails over the last few days from people that obviously don’t know who
    My target audience is nor care. My delete button has had a lot of use lately…

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