Like many of my Gartner colleagues, I get inundated daily with requests from publicists. They want to get on my radar, help me see the “Next Big Thing” before anyone else, get me introduced to the “In Crowd”. I used to feel guilty about not replying to publicists, or public relation folks, or analyst relations people. My neighbor does PR for a living, my daughter did it. And “legitimate” news folks disdain it.
But I find that I get so many requests it’s almost impossible to reply within an eight hour day…even if they ask me to with two or three attempts. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.
It seems that serendipity is really the “next big thing”. The accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful. It used to happen at a cocktail party, or while on vacation. Serendipity happens at the most unusual times, during the most prosaic conversations. On a plane. Or at a family gathering.
In world of email, online chat, and webcasts, it seems, the traditional serendipitous ways of having chance encounters are being enhanced by supercharged reaching out…and this is the way it works for PR. Not that there isn’t a method to the madness of who to reach out to by the PR people. Like looking for high value targets in branded, visible situations. So it is with Gartner. All in the name of “getting the word out”.
A lot of what I do is calculated, planned, measure, folded, stapled, and mutilated. But there is still room for serendipity. And sometimes what comes across my desk (or a phone call), even matches what I am working on, or a need I have. But most of the time it doesn’t. Or it’s just overwhelming, and filters kick in.
The trick is building a relationship with key folks in PR, or AR, and relying on them. But how does that get started? Serendipity.
But where I draw the line is with unsolicited, automated, predictive dialing calls from political candidates. “Hi, I’m <enter name here> and I am calling to make sure you get out to vote for me on Tuesday”. As much as I hate ignoring a PR call, in that context the unsolicited reaching out is a surefire way how NOT to get my vote. I suppose that, in a way, is serendipitous too. Damn shame that in my career I was a part of the business decision to move ahead with those automated systems…not serendipity: karma.
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