On April 2, 2010, a display ad in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye; the words “perfect pitch” stood out in the headline, and that being my language, I paid closer attention. The advertisement headline “Engage journalists and bloggers with the perfect pitch” declared that Dow Jones Media Relations ManagerTM was the right tool for media relations professionals to “connect with writers who are receptive to their pitch.”
The half-page below-the-fold advertisement to media relations practitioners was the first I’ve seen in a national daily. I read the ad several times because it struck me how odd it was for Dow Jones to waste ad spend targeting me and corporate “flacks” aka publicists. I was intrigued enough to tear out the ad and save it for my later response during which:
- I attempted to hit the download url for a complimentary e-book called “Monitor and Engage.” There was a typo in the url. The last word “today” was in bold and appeared to be part of the link to access the book; however, it was part of the ad.
- The download link url included “PRSA” and everyone knows the Public Relations Society of America is our profession’s venerable certifications and standards group. My initial thought was “Oh, PRSA is collaborating with Dow Jones to offer this new media relations tool.” Oddly, the url re-directed to a Dow Jones url with NO PRSA mention. After Googling the product, there’s still no mention of PRSA on the Web page. Apparently, it may be a hidden affiliation?
- I downloaded the e-book expecting to learn more about Dow Jones Media Relations Manager. I didn’t really need a dozen pages of tight, cluttered, repetitive information I already knew to ease me into the sale.
- After hitting the e-book link, I remained confused. The e-book title was “How to Win Friends and Influence Audiences in the Age of Conversation,” although the words Monitor and Engage did match. The ad’s sales pitch told me I could “pinpoint influential writers and keep your executives singing the right tune.” Somewhere along the way, the creative team responsible for the ad lost site of the copywriting for the book. Seems like another disconnect to me.
- After skimming the e-book, the product is mentioned with nice charts, but what I failed to see is any marketing collateral (e.g. how much does the dang thing cost already?).
I’m surprised I learned about the existence of this media relations tool via advertising; although, my take-action-on-the-first-viewing response should be an exciting statistic, eh?
I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal; these guys know my reader profile. Why wouldn’t they pitch me direct via e-marketing?
Dow Jones, you’ve got a boatload of marketing dollars in your budget. If you’re pitching PR people why don’t you treat us like influencers and sell the product like IT people do? Give some bloggers a beta and have them tweet and blog the heck out of it? (Or, perhaps you’ve already done that and I missed it. Or, perhaps we smaller fry can’t afford your product anyway.)
For my first time being pitched by a Dow Jones print ad in a Dow Jones sister publication for a media relations tool I probably need and would like to consider buying…I think a C- is in order. Let’s hope the product performs way better than the grade.