A Tale Of Two Vendors

When I started to receive emails and phone calls from vendors asking me to stop by their booth and chat with their CEO/CFO/some kind of O, I thought it was how vendors reached out to attendees prior to the massive annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference. It took Matt Stollak and his True Faith HR blog to explain to me that I was receiving those strange pitches because I was going to be a ribbon-wearing member of the social media press.

I felt kind of special for a few minutes. Then I received this phone call.

[Phone rings. Answered by daughter because I am feeding dogs.] Daughter yells at top of lungs: “MOM! Somebody about HR!” [Brings me phone]

Me: This is Joan.

Caller: This is (blank) from (blankety-blank). I’d like to see if you would list our client on your blog.

Me: What do you mean, “list”? Like a blog roll for vendors?

Caller: (silence)

Me: Well, I don’t have a vendor roll on my blog. I don’t have a blog roll at all.

Caller: (silence)

Me: Um, who’s your client, anyway?

Caller: (blank)**

Me: Well, they do sell to HR – I’ve even used their product.  But I don’t know any HR bloggers that have a vendor roll, or a vendor blog roll. I’m kind of busy right now, so email me at ginsberg dot joan at gmail dot com, tell me what it is you are looking for, and I will try to help you out later.

Caller: Thank you. (hangs up.)

A few minutes later I received this email:

Hi Its, (blank) from (blankety-blank), if you could refer different media publications or bloggers that would be interested in included our client that would be great. Thanks.

Really. This exact email (I deleted the names).

To this day I am really not sure what this marketing company wanted me or any other blogger to do for their client. I emailed back and asked for clarification but never received a  response.

Contrast that bizarre tale with an email I received from a different vendor a few days later, also included here without any change at all:

Hi Joan,

Congratulations on getting a press pass to the SHRM annual conference! I’m excited to see your SHRM posts – whether they will be rants or raves – and how you enjoy the conference. I’ll definitely be checking back tomorrow to see how your SHRM series starts. As the only Michigan blogger on the press list, I wanted to reach out to you and say hello! Baudville is located in Grand Rapids, so I’ll be making the long trip out to Vegas this weekend, too.

I’d love to connect with you at the conference, but as a VIB (Very Important Blogger), I know you have lots of people clamoring for your attention at SHRM next week. Vendors, authors, and speakers who all want you to know about them.  

 At Baudville, we’re different. We want to know what you think about employee recognition.

Cori Curtis, Marketing Specialist at Baudville and the author of this email, had obviously read my blog and went out of her way to make a very personal connection. I emailed her back that I would love to drop by her booth and visit. I wish I had done so (if you are reading for the first time, click here to see why I didn’t), because the videos were marvelous.

I think it is pretty obvious which vendor gets a big pat on the back in my book, and, most importantly, will be remembered as a great company when a time comes in the future to make a recommendation.

**I don’t wish to embarrass this company or their marketers by identifying them, but the client was a national insurance company who uses a duck in their promotions.

5 Favorite Blogs From SHRM11

One of the things I was most looking forward to at the recent SHRM Annual Conference was working on my ability to blog faster and more in the moment. Right now I have a problem writing my blog because it takes me . . .  forever.  I’m too busy thinking and analyzing and considering and deliberating. I intended to force myself at SHRM11 to post at least once every day, and even more if I was able to find something to video.

Since I wasn’t able to attend, I read lots of  blogs and watched the tweet stream as much as I could, because I still wanted to see if I could learn the secret to blogging fast and well. Here are some of my favorites that were posted during the merry madness that was SHRM11. (During means not before Saturday and not after Wednesday).

1. FAVORITE SNIPPETS BLOG

In a large conference like this, I like someone to give me a paragraph or two about several different topics, so I can get a real overview of the total conference experience. Long, involved posts about a particular session have their place – if you are interested in the topic and like the writer. But telling me about the weather, the crowds, the lines, etc. really gives me a feeling of being there.  My favorite in this category was “Notes From SHRM11 – Day 1, written by Steve Boese and posted on his HR Technology blog.

2. FAVORITE ANALYTICAL BLOG

Attorneys analyze everything to a fault, and I’m no different, so I am a sucker for a blog that takes some kind of fact and scrutinizes it closely. Sometimes I want to argue back, and sometimes I want to jump up and pump my fist in agreement, but the key is that it makes me think. I’m still thinking about this post days later: “The New CEO of SHRM . . . 2011 Version . . .” from Kris Dunn at The HR Capitalist.

3. FAVORITE ACTION PLAN

A lot of people like to blog about the keynotes and their speeches, and I saw a lot of cool quotes from all of  keynotes. What doesn’t happen as much is translating something a keynote said into a real, actionable “go do it” kind of takeaway. In this category, I like how Charlie Judy, author of HR Fishbowl, took one single quote from Arianna Huffington and turned it into “here’s what to do”  bullet points in “The HR Tribe of Trust.”

4. FAVORITE LIVE TWEETING

Tweeting is a micro-blog, remember? Nobody, and I really mean nobody, can live tweet an HR event the way Jennifer McClure (@CincyRecruiter) can. Based on the #SHRM11 stream, I am not alone in this opinion.

5. FAVORITE VIDEO BLOG

In my opinion, more and more written blogs are going to be replaced with videos in the coming years. I watched tons of interviews, but sound quality and rambling answers made me cut many of them short. My favorite? Not an interview blog at all, but Laurie Ruettimann‘s 2011 SHRM 63rd Annual Conference & Exposition Swag Video. Sure, it’s funny and she talks about a lot of “goofy shit”, but her message about marketing and branding isn’t goofy at all.

SHRM11 – Day Minus 5 – Michael J. Fox – Rant or Rave?

When it was announced last year that Al Gore was going to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference, the HR web exploded with a firestorm of  negative comments on his selection, and a whole rash of people claimed they weren’t going to attend because of his persona and his politics. I even chimed in on the issue, although my blog post argued against avoiding an entire conference because of one speaker.

So I was a tad surprised when no one seemed to care this year that the speaker chosen to close the conference and send 15 or 20 thousand attendees forward to impact the HR field was Michael J. Fox. Seriously?

Don’t get me wrong – I loved the guy as Marty McFly in the Back To the Future movie franchise, and I applaud him for starting a foundation to address Parkinson’s disease after he was diagnosed with the illness. But in this day and age, when jobs remain scarce and HR is increasingly addressing its corporate relevancy, do we really need to hear a semi-retired actor talk about Parkinson’s disease?

SHRM says Michael J. Fox will “close the 2011 conference with his incredible story; he will talk about his struggle, his outlook on life and how to remain positive, even in difficult times.”

I would rather have a dynamic leader – or several of them – talk about how HR can help create jobs and give  workers a better career experience.  The Dallas Mavericks Cheerleaders Dancers shaking their pom pons didn’t help that team win an NBA championship, organizational excellence did.

I’ll be flying home Wednesday morning and missing his speech, and I can’t say I’m too unhappy about that.


 

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