Have you ever been invited to a party and then later un-invited? Well, something like this happened to me earlier in the week.
I received a personalized email from an IT industry journal telling me that because of my stature as an industry leader, I was being invited to attend their upcoming Premiere 100 IT Leaders Conference next month in Orlando, FL as their guest (and receive a complimentary $1795 valued pass to the conference) . I thought that their attendance was likely down this year due to financial times, and would want to boost their attendance by having industry leaders in their audience to further promote spinoff attendance.
I clicked on the registration link in the email, where they asked for further information so that they could process my invitation. THEN — when I had filled out and submitted the registration form, — the response screen said that my attendance would need to be APPROVED and that I would receive a confirmation email within hours. Excuse me? The journal management had invited me as their guest – why would someone need to approve me?
The promised email arrived only after I had sent a follow-up query – and, to my amazement – they denied my “Invitation”. It seems that, despite my email address clearly indicating showing my company name, they had overlooked that I am an independent consultant who advises CIO’s and other “C” level executives in large corporations about how to maximize their returns on their IT investments. I was now un-invited as their guest because I was not a senior IT executive employed by a big customer corporation (in other words an employee of a company who could be sold to by conference sponsors/vendors) – but, if I still wanted to attend, I could do so at a hefty new pricetag!
Maybe I am out of touch with the recessionary tactics that the industry journals such as this one use today, but it reeks of the tactics that banks use to lure people to their credit card programs — you receive a “pre-approved” credit card application in the mail, only to be “rejected” due to the fact that they sent out a mass mailing of applications to everyone with an address. (Perhaps you remember when dogs , whose owners had opened a bank account in their name, received personalized pre-approved credit cards in the 1980’s?) While this new mode of operation is a twist on the banking scheme, it is really the same tactic, and deserves the same the “bad taste in your mouth” response. The simple fact is that this industry journal didn’t do their own homework – and prefers to invite “industry leaders” upfront, then un-invite them if they don’t meet the demographic they had in mind on their guest list. This journal drops down several notches on my list for their haphazard way of treating IT leaders and subscribers. Their tactics of un-inviting in a bait and switch style of marketing is telling – this journal is interested purely in how much money they can wrestle from the hands of the IT world – not to impart knowledge or advance the industry as they purport.
Comments? Has anyone experienced a similar situation? It’s really quite comedic in these recessionary times, and somehow I am reminded of the old Groucho Marx line: I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
Wishing you continued optimism – even on the most depressing of newsdays!
Contact Carol to keynote your upcoming event – her style translates technical matters into digestible soundbites, humorously and forthright.