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PROs and events organisers need to wise up to technology

Marketing is all about attention to detail. To make sure that you don't contribute to the R50 billion that is wasted in South Africa every year because someone wasn't thinking things through. Take functions and events for example. Or even plain and simple meetings.
It probably sounds petty and pretty well unimportant but there is nothing worse than trying to use an onboard satellite navigation system in your car to get to a function or event only to have it laugh in your face and spit in your eye. But in marketing terms this is vitally important because it could have guests or important customers arriving at your venue or office in a filthy temper.

It is hugely frustrating and is becoming an issue because thousands of motorists now have these gizmos and they don't work unless one has the full address of where you are going.

Now, it used to be only people who owned top-of-the-range Mercs and Beemers who could afford these GPS-based navigation aids but portable models are becoming cheaper and cheaper and I would guess that more than half of all the guests invited to your average corporate function will have one in their cars.

So, it is time that the public relations and events industries gave just that extra little bit of thought to the addresses they put on the bottom of corporate invitations. Far too many are just plain wrong. And people who are in charge of company letterheads and business cards.

The first criterion is the kicker - a street number. While some gadgets can simply find a crossroads, most of them need some sort of number.

But, the most vital piece of information is the right suburb. Unfortunately a lot of these gadgets don't work on cities but insist on one entering the suburb name. And this is a killer because I have found that a lot of companies and events destinations have no idea what suburb they are in.

I remember when the IMC first moved to their new offices their letterhead gave the address as Central Avenue, Houghton. In fact they weren't in Houghton at all but some other little suburb next to Houghton I had never heard of before. My GPS system really beat me up over that one.

And this is what is going to drive the PR community crazy. Because it will be no good asking their clients what the suburb is or the street number because my experience is that they won't know.

But, it will make an enormous deference to those high-tech motorists who rely on GPS navigation aids to see information on invitations specially for them.

And, let's face it, good PR is all about attention to detail. So who is going to be first to pick up the challenge? Or, maybe someone has already.

About Chris Moerdyk

Apart from being a corporate marketing analyst, advisor and media commentator, Chris Moerdyk is a former chairman of Bizcommunity. He was head of strategic planning and public affairs for BMW South Africa and spent 16 years in the creative and client service departments of ad agencies, ending up as resident director of Lindsay Smithers-FCB in KwaZulu-Natal. Email Chris on moc.liamg@ckydreom and follow him on Twitter at @chrismoerdyk.
Chris Moerdyk
Chris Moerdyk, the former head of strategic planning at BMW SA , is an independent analyst and marketing advisor, consulting to several blue chip local companies and multinationals since 1997.
Hmmm, that was an interesting read. Letterheads also have telephone numbers, so how about phoning in advance and double checking the address. I keep imagining Mr Wilson (from Dennis the Menace)... he'd write something like this and moan about something... well, trivial!
Posted on 3 Dec 2008 16:31
Staying abreast of change...-
The O was dropped from PR when pa fell off the stoep
Posted on 4 Dec 2008 15:38
The Land Before G.P.S...-
I gather from your tone, Mr. Moerdyk, that you have been very frustrated by this issue recently. To play Devil's Advocate, assuming you're in a calmer state of mind, whatever did we do to find our way without G.P.S. technology? Personally, I leave little to chance, in a pedantic kind of way, so I'm the one who checks an invitation's venue is fully listed, and usually calls the company concerned beforehand for directions. And I keep an old, dog-eared map book under my car seat...G.P.S. doesn't navigate blank robots or Gautrain roadwork deviations either. Is it not in the interests of the attendee, as much as the invitor, to take responsibility for correct addresses being arrived at timeously? I do hear you, and on point of principle, professionals ought to get it right. But, as you mention, given the lack of foresight evident in the corporate world today, surely it behoves us even more to be extra vigilant, and not leave these things in the hands of the courtesy-challenged?
Posted on 4 Dec 2008 15:46
Kan like-
to not write English so well, innit geys?
Posted on 5 Dec 2008 08:46
Crisis! "Chris Moerdyk, the former head..."-
...of strategic planning at BMW SA, is an independent analyst and marketing advisor... HAS NO ONE TO PROOF HIS COPY. Undermines your message and your capacity somewhat, Christopher.
Posted on 5 Dec 2008 08:49


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