14/06/2013 by The Sorcerer
Press conference been happening for a very very very long time. Bloggers’ and power user’s meet however is somewhat a new concept in India.
i am skipping the crap and going to it:
1. Knowing your product: Especially the folks in the higher management post. There are certain comments countrywide managers make that can’t help you wonder how they became managers (they have worked hard, no doubt hands down. But you’re in a position that you should know your product in order to pitch your product to the right people). I am not talking about marketing or sales managers, I am talking about “IT” and Product managers. I’ve heard crap like “We don’t want IPS because shadows are created by the images displayed on the IPS panels!”. Now, if people from international source heard such comments from a manager working in a Tier 1 electronics consumer brand who also makes SSDs and memory kits, chances are there that such managers will get a memo from their higher up- or cause some damage to the company questioning the credibility of the management- or worse, stock markets of that market taking a nosedive.
Similarly, a particular processor manufacturer claimed that they are now selling a processor with 5 GHz clock speed.
Wrong on 2 counts:
- Its actually “upto 5 GHz depending on the conditions using turbo boost feature that bumps the core clock speed depending on the conditions and situation”.
- Its not available in retail, rather its available via system builders who have qualified for it- most likely companies like Dell, HP, CompKraft, AVADIRECT…. you get the picture.
Its written in press releases, though that company should have made efforts to mention the base clock speed and even with boost AFTER that. Why only clock speed via boost that too in the most ‘ideal conditions’? That’s the question you need to ask yourselves.
Similarly, calling it “Nintendo Y”, “CBU” (well..okay so CBU was said by the presenter and not by someone who is in the field nor working for the company), etc.
2. Dont use the same way of presentation everywhere: I have the most shittiest experience of being in few channel partner meets, an experience which can practical leave a scar on lot of fans and enthusiasts. Suffice to say: Mental virginity is taken away! And the sales pitch/presentation that they use! WOW!! If it such presentations was done in U.S. or such countries, expect an anti-competitive lawsuit, followed by bad PR shitstorm!
Lets ignore the exotic things discussed in channel partner meets, because honestly channel partners/dealers are those who will only understand when things are presented THAT way. No point in making them think. Hoping that the newer generation to replace them will be more competent is far more realistic hope.
If you’re doing a tech press meet or a power user meet and saying that ‘we’re going to explain in as non-tech way as possible’, then either 1 of the 2 things are happening:
- #1. None of these guys are tech press/power users/enthusiasts- and most likely called just to fill in the seats and maybe atleast get people to eat up the pre-paid buffet- and you probably called them because its way easier to flatter them by calling them “techie” or “techo-freaks” and they’ll write ‘lickety licket’ things about you/ your brand!Note: I said presentation- and not information. What do I mean? Well, some of you studied MBA, WEMBA, so figure it out how you should do that!
- #2. You don’t know if they are tech press/which beat/power users or not!
Some people have given presentation using day-to-day activities in such a way that I end up understanding after few days that they were basically explaining how caching in their product works. For tech guys, press/users- whatever! Giving technical (technically the accurate word is basic but the definition of basic here seem to be completely complex in this country) low on how it works is far more easier for us to understand. If they can’t, maybe a bit more basic explanation and I think it should be resolved. But on most counts, one would understand unless the explanation/presentation doesn’t make sense. Saying vague things and showing basic graphs without covering certain emphasized points will create multiple doubts in a techie’s mind- and that’s where your brand will get hurt if you don’t answer it properly.
3. Concentrate on gaining feedback to improve product rather than having people kiss your brand’s ass: Not that I am saying all asses are bad! Its not always bad. But, when someone is not giving you constructive feedback: Either it means your products under your brand was, is and will be perfect, which is practically non-existent unless you’re living in denial or a fanboy. Or it means they don’t know what to say or they know at the back of the head that asking such questions is useless because you don’t know what you’re probably saying.
Some feedbacks will be harsh, but with the hopes that it is used to improve the
4. ehh?? bloggers???: So we have these blogging “communities”. blogadda, Indi blogger, etc. I was in one of them for sometime before decided to cancel my ‘membership’ by deleting the account.
Basically, this is the concept on how it works: Most of the tech bloggers in India honestly don’t know what they’re saying/re-writing content/ saying something that they don’t understand, let alone others (yes, I know I’ve this just now!). The ‘upper categories’ are the ones who somewhat know what they’re saying but not much effort is being made to expand it because their readership would be ‘intimidated’. Long story short: they stifle the quality/intensity of the content due to fear.
And there are people who write about social marketing/SEO, who for some odd reason termed as ‘techie’. Okay. some of these guys do genuine research, but why put them in an already crowded genre called ‘tech’?
And then there are the samples. They will kiss your ass as long as a brand will entertain them- and those who will write guides on how to earn money from reviews, those types who publish it in the site itself that they will charge $100 for any reviews: shows, socks, swarosky crystal coated underwear, lingerie, flurry handcuffs, (don’t ask me! ask tools). What makes me say he maybe reviewing those- well such people say ‘reviews of any products’ so…
Then there are biggies! massive reader base, 10,000+ rss subscribers, multiple comments, full fledged hata-kata “About Me” page talking about the ‘CEO & Founder’ about series of incidents probably been written based on events that happened since his/her birth (probably).
No matter how much ROI, influencing, loud mouth they are: they’re as good as the knowledge. people with half the knowledge start websites and make such huge claims, and don’t know C2D systems and the latest generation i7 uses difference chipsets, sockets, etc but ask the questions ‘why don’t your old motherboards compatible with newer processors?’. Now, if such people are asking such questions, imagine the knowledge he or she must be spreading around.
I wouldn’t say its such communities fault: I would say that many tech bloggers in India in general- are like cakes!
5. Know how to do contests and get a proper presenter who has prepared properly and how to address the crowd: Okay, so this is what happened. it was bloggers’ meet and all expense paid from Bangalore to Mumbai- flights, food, transport, very nice hotel (the hotel’s food could be bit better though), etc. Bangalore- far better/cooler/cleaner/organized city than Mumbai. I honestly why they hire such presenters, why not ask the managers to give the presentation themselves? As it is they know/they should know whatever they need to know about the product and things relevant to it, so wouldn’t that be much better than hiring someone and then getting few printouts to make a person to rehearse something at the last moment.
But what made me walk away from the room to catch the fresh air? Whatever I’ve said on top+ few more incidents. They had a contest where 2 bloggers were chosen and they were asked to collect as much as coins as they can. The guy who won a thingy asked the presenter what to do with the coins. She said “You can think of it as revenue and keep it!” on the microphone infront of others, including couple of managers responsible for couple of international operations.
Lady!! What the hell did you just say??
Well, its another point that my reaction would be ‘aggressive’ as it would be termed by some people, but this gentlemen seem to be happy about it- or it looked that way judging by the excitement he showed.
Okay, so maybe it worked well but honestly, a lot of people are not going to like that. Majority of people write because they love doing it (whereas others write it for SEO and all that crap that flies above my head!!!!) . With respects, if you are keen on insulting people who are been called with the hopes that they are going to promote your brand, it will backfire.
6. Hire the right people for the right job: So from where should I start: When back when I was 16 years old when I met Ameya Dalvi for the first and told him I am The Sorcerer, and then pointing out to Gigabyte management back then who claimed that S.M.A.R.T. is their proprietary technology (most likely sure its not the same management because many people now seem to be the new guys)? Shahrukh khan doing chamak challo with graphic cards? Samsung style… from where do such people gets such ideas? How, where such knowledge is assimilated?
See, now I know that some companies gets massive/not-really-massive budget from their heads for marketing/promotional purposes, but that doesn’t mean you waste lakhs of rupees!!
For some reason, we’re having dancers and modeling shows in tech conferences and even in some blogger’s meet. hopefully this will not happen in power user’s meet (if there’s a chance of this happening, most likely i will warn some people not to come to save their sanity). Someone who made a hardware networking device with firewall setup using a flash NAND and Debian based OS is doing modeling shows: 4 times the entire time which easily can be accumulate as 1 hour being wasted. When they had to talk about the product they said “Finally we’ve launched this!”….. THAT IS IT!!!
Some of these event managers (maybe), PRs (maybe)- in-house or third party, even these blogging community who earn money from naive people’s dedication and naive/short sighted approach- somewhere or the other have to be blamed. I mean in one corner, there’s a huge 3rd party PR agency that handles a lot of tech clients and those guys are doing it well so far- whereas in another corner there’s this particular Bangalore based PR agency who handles Corsair and now Antec (and now foxconn), trolled out the only PR who did things well until (in my vague observation) was trolled out and taken over by a person who preferred to send 2133MHz Corsair Platinum dominator kits because I refused to do reviews based on their restrictions and a particular set of benchmarks where the values doesn’t really count in real-world applications (if that PR agency is planning to decline it, I still have THAT email with me) and are under the impression (in my opinion) that reviewers are probably nothing more than advertisement tools- and if they give feedbacks based on reality- it means they’re bashing the brand (That too “brand” and not the actual product model), despite pointing out the obvious cons. At one point they even said “Can you atleast write pros first and then cons?” when I and another contributor met at a coffee shop (you can deny this too, but I have a recording of the conversation this time). if you’re a person who things that you have the “power of grayskull” and that you should not be in touch with such people, even though its the truth, then best of luck! but if you’re a person who thinks otherwise, and you know that the agency is doing something that is wrong, then you know what to do!
It should be noted that the cons and feedbacks that I’ve given to this PR agency was never sent to the right people (or the ‘right’ people are same character types who think that their brand is always superior because they posses the “power of Grayskull!”). The fact that multiple cases worth between 4k-8k from 2 major online stores with pictures was not forwarded to the management by the PR agencies itself shows that even though criticisms and feedbacks are something that can save the brand and always help the users to get a better thing at the same time, will not be forwarded. Why? because according to such people, you’re a brand basher if you’re that person! Excellent flow of logical reasoning, captain!!!
If Corsair and Antec are assuming that I m bashing your brand: I am not. I am genuinely disappointed that some of these series of events happened with well-known/tier 1 brands that even I respect for many of their stuff. FYI, one of your sales guy asked someone who builds system for a living to do a power supply “review”. Seriously??? maybe that guy should ask dealers to do that, instead! why not do that “power saving” thingy instead? i am sure real power supply reviewers will get a good laugh at it the same way I’ve showed one particular psu review put in one particular Indian tech forum!!!
Very few power user meets/ tech conference made sense: Asus power user meet and a particular QUALCOMM conference. Okay, so I am not into mobile but the entire presentation was talking about relevant tech: actual processing unit. Those manager never said ‘I’ll get back to you!’. One of the other best times was when I spoke to one of the Lenovo India’s manager about notebooks (and about the socket 939 days). They knew what they were saying- and a little more than that. That is how it should be done.
No offense to some PRs. There have been more such events other than these (except that particular one who was using a model to pose a thin external hard drive by slipping in the jeans’ back pocket for some journalists taking photos in that angle, which now I regret not taking photo of the journo taking photo with that post using a long DSLR lens with pretty long range but so close to the subject..). Its just that I am not able to recollect them.
But if you’re one of those who say starting with sentence “This is India…”, no disrespect but with that kind of attitude how can you grow a brand in a country where you already such point of view about the people in general? Okay, we have idiots, and we have idiots who unfortunately are influencers but their work ‘ethics’ are crooked but have a large and genuine traffic unlike some bloggers who use services where you can get 50,000 unique pageviews per 100 rupees (how to know if its fake or not? Insanely high bounce rate and average time on site). But that doesn’t really justify such opinion. If people slowly make efforts to change their approach and the way people think, then only things will improve. That’s the purpose of having bloggers meet or power user’s meet (well…mostly power users’ meet assuming the right people are called in). People want good stuff, you want customers. Use influencers to know about the people and use feedbacks to improve the products and other stuff around it.
I hope people had fun reading an annoyingly long and exhausting post. Many grammatical and spelling mistakes maybe there, and I didn’t bother to correct it other than basic spellcheck. Those who are offended, I feel sad because the whole point of this is to make a point and make people understand.
But if you want ass-kissers, I am sure you know who they are. Trouble for you is, so do readers! And best part is I didn’t had to point out the obvious! You can use blogging communities who will spam twitter with your brand’s hashtags if you want to! :D. Heck, I can point to you a particular Indian based magazine who will give certificates to usually crappy produ…..oh wait! You know who they are at the back of your head! ;).
P.S.: I think we should ditch the word “power user” meet. End user meet is more appropriate, unless some wants to boost ego of some people- like calling those people who don’t know how to insulate a motherboard as ‘extreme overclocker’ *runs away from Delhi*!
Jokes apart, lets all start making some efforts. Asking you to have similar ethics like the Japanese may make you sweat and maybe feel intimidated, but lets start making such small steps.