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Sunday 23 September 2012

Business development #fail on Twitter: How NOT to pitch to me.

I believe passionately in the power of professional networking. Specifically, reaching out either in-person (usually at networking events or professional seminars) or via wonderful tools like email, LinkedIn or Twitter to cement a solid business relationship. Almost every day I receive an approach from an advertising/marketing agency, media owner, technology provider (particularly around mobile apps right now) or people looking to work for or with me (job opportunities).

I can’t speak for every brand/client-side marketer but I assume that I’m not alone or particularly unique in receiving these requests. I strongly suspect that marketers’ at most big brands are facing the same issue. Why wouldn’t you want to approach a Marketing Director, Digital leader or key decision-maker at a great brand like adidas, Chanel, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, NestlĂ© or (in my case) Samsung?

When done right it opens you, and the company you work for, to wonderful opportunities, better media and marketing and of course, great new partners. The problem is that very often, it is done so poorly or with such little consideration it often comes across as rude or ignorant. That’s why your calls or emails are not returned.

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Firebrand Talent, which goes into detail on how best to approach client-side marketers like me. I've written a commonsense set of 6 guidelines that I hope more people will take to heart. If followed, you're guaranteed to improve your sales success and build better relationships. The article, titled Agencies, media & digital companies: Your sales pitch sucks can be found here:

So with this in mind, I recently had a very strange encounter on Twitter that's left be frustrated and bewildered. I was asked by a supposed expert in social media and digital reputation management in the Philippines Tony Ahn if he could pitch for Samsung work, and get an introduction to the local marketing team. I say supposed, because the Twitter exchange ended in him insulting me personally - isn't that something a digital reputation expert hoping to win new business should try to avoid?

Here's what happened: 

If you are not familiar with the terms MAYABANG or YABANG, they roughly translate into arrogant or conceited in English.

Now sure, I might have come across as harsh but I hope the criticism would have been taken in the spirit of improving the communication or finding common ground. After all, my time is limited and I could simply ignore the conversation right? That may be a fair call. But to then take it to a personal level and get to insults, well that's not cool at all. What I find so bewildering about this exchange is how this is coming from an expert in digital reputation management and social media, who is clearly interested in winning new business.

So what do you think? Was I too harsh and deserve the insult? Or is this a case of a senior PR/social media person forgetting where they are (Twitter) and not practicing what they preach? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Update 1: There's a little more fuel that's been thrown onto the fire. This really doesn't seem like the best way to manage a relationship online...