Monday, February 21, 2011

Round Two of: Know Your Target Audience 101, feat. Gin!

In a recent I skewered both The Door, a slick-looking PR firm and Rachel Ray's magazine. You, gentle reader, might ask why, so click here to find out. Now in this latest entry I look at another press release that I received on the same day as the previous gem about how Rachel Ray can make you a wine expert overnight.

The kind folks at Anderson Group, located in sunny Los Angeles, sent me a slick looking email inviting me to a release party for "Martin Miller's Gin". I know absolutely nothing about Martin Miller or his gin, however I am a huge gin fan, especially of premium brands such as Hendrick's.

Hi Beau,
We would love to invite you to join the ultra gregarious leading gin maker/hotel owner/entrepreneur Martin Miller and his world famous ultra premium Martin Miller’s Gin for a relaxing cocktail mixer at the Miami’s Raleigh Hotel to kick off the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
·         What: A relaxing mixer to meet Martin Miller himself.  Complimentary Martin
Miller’s Gin cocktails will be served and mixologists will be on hand to answer
any brand questions.
·         Where: Poolside at the Raleigh Hotel
1775 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
·         When: Wednesday, February 23rd from 2-4pm
·         RSVP: To be on the list, you must RSVP at (email removed)

Born of “Love, Obsession and some degree of Madness,” Martin Miller’s Gin is made of juniper from Tuscany and India, Cassia bark from China, angelica from France and florentine from Florence, which is delicately blended with pure Icelandic spring water, to create a marriage of rare softness, clarity of taste and appearance. 

As the trailblazer of the Gin Renaissance, Martin Miller set out to save premium gins.  In a time when premium vodkas were dominating the market and gins were only made for Gin & Tonics, Martin set out to restore the seduction and romance of premium gins.  The eccentric, quixotic gypsy began jotting down ideas on a napkin and decided to make a gin that was made with not only the best ingredients but distilled by using only the most traditional methods. 
Among many awards, Martin Miller’s Gin has taken home two out of three possible gold medals in the blind-tasting 10th Anniversary Strength gins by the International Spirits Challenge, and is undoubtedly one of the most popular premium gins of our time. 
If you have any questions about the event, you can reach me via email at (email removed) or by phone at (phone number removed)
(name removed)
“Gin: The Dutch invented it.  The English Refined it. And the Yanks glamorized it.  NOW MARTIN MILLER HAS PERFECTED IT.”


 That's a nice looking press release, complete with cool pictures and some very specific information. Upon closer inspection a few things show up that can only lead to questions from me. Here are questions I thought of as I read through the press release. They illustrate my point, which is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

1. In what capacity am I being invited? Private citizen? Blogger? Journalist?

2. What is expected of me should I attend? A series of articles on Martin Miller's Gin? A single post recap of the event? Twitter and Facebook use to promote the brand?

3. The Anderson Group is in Los Angeles, just up the freeway from me. Think about that for a second. Why then, am I being invited to South Beach, Miami, with no specification on how to actually get there? Did the person sending this email not do any background research? I counted at least five ways to figure out where I am located, all taking about two minutes. Less than that if you are smarter than a spatula.

4. Why is this particular mailing list that I'm on not broken down into better categories than "bloggers who write about booze and live on planet earth"?? My blog is almost entirely about wine, I've never reviewed a spirit before and while I do want that to change, I present that as evidence that this mailing list is way over-generalized.

As in my last PR-critical blog post, I'll say that I don't have any public relations or marketing experience, I studied finance and economics in college. I do have a little common sense though, and I am a blogger who is truly passionate about my subject. After all, I am doing this for free. For those reasons I feel like I can offer some advice to PR firms.

A. Please, know who your audience is, compile some background on whom you're targeting as brand ambassadors. Take the extra time to build a better database and your portfolio of brands will have their respective messages heard by the right people.

B. Like I said before, I absolutely love gin and would love to get a sample of Martin Miller's Gin. That is something of value to me and my readers. Inviting me to some schmoozy release party on the other side of the United States will not allow me to share anything positive about this brand with my readers. I am not asking to be flown out to Miami, just that PR firms look at who they're communicating with.

C. Be specific about you want and expect! I'll relate a little side story; back in late January the Social Media Manager for Kobrand contacted me about some wine samples for Valentine's Day posts and listed a bunch that all looked wonderful, so I requested several. I apparently requested too many because I got a follow-up basically asking me to pick one or two. So I did pick two that I thought would be fun to write about, and never heard back from the guy. That's borderline rude but also illustrates how important it is to BE SPECIFIC about what you want from us and are willing to do for us. The best wine/industry PR/Marketing companies (Folsom, Balzac, Boss Dog, Brand Action Team, etc) all ask if you are interested in what they're offering while being specific about what they are willing to send. Smart move and that's why they're among my favorites in my short time as a blogger.

Thank you for taking the time to read all the way through this, I realize it's a bit longer than my typical wine reviews. As always, I appreciate any and all comments, discussions, and feedback. I am not out to humiliate anyone necessarily, nor should anything I say be taken as a personal attack.

Beau Carufel

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