Did I mention we're in the news and information business?
DMNews constantly reaches out to the direct marketing community -- by phone, in person, e-mail and IM and often a combination of them at once. In that role, we often work with public relations professionals and media contacts, the intermediaries who help us get the right executives on the phone.
We're in the news gathering business. Most of the time, sources and their PR reps are gracious and responsive, even if they don't want to comment on a story. Then there are the bone-headed masters of "what not to do."
This week, one of our reporters encountered a prime example: Mrs. Fields Gifts. Rather than expediting her request, our journalist was met with obstructionist tactics designed to deflect any media contact. Mind you, this was not an investigative piece going after the company for a misstep of some sort. No, it was to speak with their executive about the possibility of writing an expert column for this fine publication. Oh, and on top of that, they're stuck in the 90s.
The e-mail reply to our request is re-printed here. It speaks for itself. (The editor in me can't help but note three grammatical mistakes/typos in the first two sentences. But I digress.):
Thank you for contacting us! We do not review Marketing request via email or phone. You will need to either mail in or fax in your request on your company or organizations official letter head to:
Mrs. Fields Gifts Inc.
1717 S 4800 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Our fax number is 1-801-412-8899 or you can email [e-mail address redacted]. Normally you will receive a response with in 3-6 weeks. Please do not reply to this email. Thank you for choosing Mrs. Fields gifts. Have a great day!
Fax? Letterhead? Snail mail? Three to six WEEKS? Seriously? Um, did I mention we're in the news business? 'Nuff said.