Sales and Marketing: The HR Way
In anticipation of the big daddy SHRM 2011 Annual Conference and Exposition I had this post ready to roll. Then I read Laurie Ruettimann’s post today about “Corporate Ethics and Conferences.” Fair warning: there may be a kerfuffle in the toothbrush line.
Now SHRM has included me in their social media/blogger/press list for the conference, so for the last several weeks I’ve gotten tons of inquiries from various vendors. They’ve asked me to stop by their booth, meet with Joe/Joanne Big Shot from the corporate office, watch product demos and pick up information. I’ve received lovely phone calls and emails (flattery by telling me they read my blog IS appreciated) and handcrafted invites. I’ve had vendors with whom I currently do business ask me to write something, as their customer, and run on my blog. I’ve been asked by vendors to write about their product/service/latest research paper and have even had offers to write something for THEIR corporate websites/blogs about their product which will then allow them to ‘cross-promote” the HR Schoolhouse. You know, like it’s a real news source or something.
Look – I get it. Good outreach, building the buzz and Marketing 101. And I’m flattered. Really I am.
But I can’t do it.
I’ve got a pretty clear personal mind-set of how I’ll allow vendor relationships, this blog and my job to all co-exist together. And certainly while at the Conference I fully intend to learn all I can about HR products, services, and technologies that are in the market. Heck, I’ve got some comparison shopping to do myself in the Expo Hall. But I never intend to write about decisions I make for my job, nor will I ever feel comfortable ‘promoting” a product.
Will I write about programs or products that I think are nifty? Sure; I’ve already got a few picked out that I want to learn more about and if they’re intriguing I intend to write about them. But I’m never going to move into the realm of appearing to endorse something or use this venue to promote decisions we’ve made at my organization.
So I’m set. No one’s ever going to get my business because they served free wine at their booth at a SHRM Conference or picked my name as the winner in their iPad drawing. They may, however, get my business if they provide the solution I want/need at the price my organization can afford. And I’m pretty sure I never have to worry about facing this dilemma.