I can’t imagine how difficult it is for those who sell IT services and goods to reach the people that would buy from them. Every organization has a different structure and we are all inundated with requests for our time and attention. Many attempts to get our attention are complete failures; for example, when it isn’t clear what exactly the person is trying to sell.
I have read complete press releases or magazine advertisements without understanding what is being sold, so I have an appreciation for those that are able to craft a clear, efficient pitch. Some go the route of being very creative, and I thought it would be fun to share some of those.
I recently got a package in the mail. Not only did it include an innovative giveaway (a bottle of BBQ sauce), but I really appreciated the attached letter. It starts with: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, CommVault Simpana, blah, blah, blah, modern protection, blah, backup and recovery.”
They really understand how busy people read their marketing materials. They satirize those traditional materials and still communicate the most important message — what they are selling. If I were someone who was currently seeking that type of solution, I’d be inclined to look a little closer.
I think I am comfortable accepting a $2 bottle of BBQ sauce. But anything more valuable than that would strike me as crossing the line from attention-getter to an actual gift, which is subject to several additional policies. Ministry has a policy regarding gifts from suppliers which includes the following guidance:
- Decisions made by Ministry associates in the course of their duties must be objective and based solely on the best interest of the organization. Decisions should never be influenced by any considerations of personal gain or gain to any personal associate of a Ministry associate (such as a friend or relative). Purchasing and other decisions are made solely on the basis of the supplier/business associate who offers the best value for the goods and services required.
- Ministry associates must avoid doing anything that could give the appearance or suggestion that a purchasing decision may be influenced by any irrelevant or improper consideration, whether illegal (such as a kickback or bribe) or technically legal (such as personal friendship, favors, or gifts). Ministry associates shall carry out their interactions with suppliers/business associates in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Corporate Integrity Program.
I am much more comfortable with things I can share in the office than something I would take home.
Lastly, I am NOT a fan of the ploy where the supplier will give me a gift if I sit through a sales pitch. Typically those enter into the realm of the gifting policy. It is important that I do not create an impression that I am deciding how to spend my time based upon personal gain.