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Gini Dietrich

Prom Queen or Prom Geek?

By: Gini Dietrich | July 11, 2011 | 
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Something weird is happening: We’re the pretty girl who isn’t getting invited to Prom because everyone assumes she’s already been asked.

In the past month, I have had three different people ask me if I can recommend a PR/digital firm. With all three I asked more about their needs (because I assumed they already disqualified us) only to realize we’d be a perfect fit for them.

So I’ve responded with, “Uh…us?”

To which all three said, in some form of the same response, “OH! You’re taking new clients? We’d love to work with you. We thought you were too busy.”

At what point, while you’re growing a company (or two) does being too busy equate to not taking on new clients? Maybe I’m weird, but growth equals more clients, in my mind.

But, like I always do, I took those three conversations to heart and became introspective. What are we doing that makes people think we’re too busy to take on new clients?

Is it because we’re working to launch Spin Sucks Pro, which will have clients in a non-traditional, non-client service way?

Is it because I, personally, am really busy?

Is it because people trust me to make recommendations, but don’t want to work with us?

Is it because I don’t make a clear enough delineation between the blog and the work we do for clients at Arment Dietrich?

Is it because there is a perception that we’re too big or too expensive or not the right fit?

Is it because no one really knows what we do?

It it because our accounting process is the Sort ‘N Bank, which apparently makes people nervous?

I don’t have an answer, which is why I’m blogging about it.

We want to go to the Prom! It’s not fun sitting at home brushing your hair and painting your toenails on Saturday night because no one is asking you out.

What are we doing wrong?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

207 comments
ParkRidgeDDS
ParkRidgeDDS

There is definitely some truth to your analogy about not getting asked to the Prom because you appear to be so popular and beautiful that the assumption is you probably already have 200 Prom dates....your popularity can create that kind of illusion but that is not necessarily a bad thing....You have worked hard to create a community and the credibility and respect that you have generated is well deserved and due to lots of hard work on your part. In regards to people assuming that you are too busy to take on new clients...ironically I think that is because of the business model that you have set up that talks very little to almost not at all about self promotion. You are so generous with your support of not only your clients but colleagues and friends as well that you rarely spend time promoting yourself. I completely understand the philosophy behind that...it is very attractive to deal with someone who is not cramming hard sell down your throat...I get it....but at some point, you may want to throw in an occasional "and that's exactly what I can do for you" here and there. Or, "the information that I share on Spin Sucks is just the tip of the iceberg...call us to find out what else we can do for you" Maybe with those gentle reminders, people will have that aha moment and think..."wow...she's brilliant, awesome, funny AND she's available to help me!!" Buy me a glass of wine and I'll share a story with you ;-)

bdorman264
bdorman264

When I was in high school this new girl moved to town. She was extremely cute and very easy to look at. She fit into the 'A' crowd right away which meant she was untouchable as far as I was concerned. I knew her peripherally but would have probably jammed a pencil in my ear before I would have asked her out. You just assumed she's out w/ the quarterback and whoever she wanted to go out with.

Fast forward 10 years and I had a chance to talk w/ her and we reminisced about high school. I told her how nice I thought she was but never had the nerve to ask her out. She said she was miserable in high school; she said nobody was asking her out and certainly wished I would have.

My point is, other than letting everyone know I was a total dorkamundus in high school is, you reach a certain stature, pinnacle or perception and people assume you have it made. You don't need someone asking you out or you could take or leave new business. How you let someone know yes, we are open for business and always looking for new clients is maybe something you just need to make more obvious. I didn't even know you did PR; I thought being Bones on TV was keeping your plate pretty full.......................just sayin'.................

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

Maybe you could just charge by the comment. I think that you would make a killing!

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Newish idea: plop a video on the side bar with the title "What is Arment Dietrich" and from there you expand on the business, the work you do, etc. It's a reminder that hey, you have a business and by the way, we're more than the blog. It may also be a more palatable piece of the puzzle for you than the Work with Us option or more sales-like approaches mentioned. Just a thought.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Forgive my tardiness to the party, Gini. I tried to scan all of the meat down below before commenting, but not sure if what I'd like to share has already been stated? Forgiveness, please. As said via Twitter, this is a conundrum -- you're a product of your own success; however, Arment Dietrich has been sorely neglected.

The Spin Sucks et al brands are powerful and have amassed a boatload of, likely, non-paying clients gleaning from your learnings. Who knows where for art a referral amongst us? If we don't know what AD does and for whom, then how can we push your firm front and center?

Like @shonali who was encouraged by you to blog about her awesome Blue Key campaign for UNHCR (is that correct), I'd like to see more case studies around AD (ala what was also suggested).Case studies can be open-ended crowd-sourcing opportunities to ask "how would've you managed this?" blah blah.

I went to follow your company page on LinkedIn; had no clue your firm is the size it it; was duly impressed. Although your name is on the door; when I provide you with link love in posts, my inclination now is to use the Spin Sucks brand. Before I knew you, I used the AD brand to showcase your talents.

So, these were just some thoughts to share...nothing earth shattering but more fodder in the fuel.

Leon
Leon

G'Day Gini,

I'm sorry. This is one temptation I am far too weak and self indulgent to resist. Now.....

The first thing is phrasing questions. From what you've said the question you should be asking us us is something like; "What should we be doing to ensure that prospects call us to discuss what we could do for them, rather than call us for the name of a PR company we'd recommend?"

Next, you seem to have a marketing problem. If genuine prospects are asking for advice instead of preliminary consultation with a view to agreeing on an assignment, you are not representing AD as a viable PR option to them. You may think you are. But it seems clear that 's not the way they see you.That's a marketing issue.

Finally Gini, never, ever again ask what you're doing wrong. It gives all us lot carte blanche to make suggestions even though we may not have the faintest idea of what we're talking about or what's good for Arment Dietrich.

Remember what Henry Ford said when asked why he didn't ask people if they wanted a motor car. "They'd have wanted a faster horse" he's said to have replied.

Well.....you did ask, Gini. If in doubt, please reread para commencing, "Finally Gini."

Jump on your bike and go and have some fun.

Hang Loose

Leon

janbeery
janbeery

Maybe you might add a brief bio to your blog page?

Gini Dietrich leads her team at Arment Dietrich positioning her clients.......

It happens when people see you as extremely successful and ultimately, too busy. I'll invite you to the Prom!!!!!

Griddy
Griddy

You know what's funny - well maybe not funny but whatever...I've had a few clients ask me the same thing over the last few months - whether I could refer them to someone. They figured that since I blog now that I was no longer working with clients. I corrected them but it did get me thinking...

Griddy
Griddy

Maybe they think you only offer lawn mowing services ;) lol.

Hey Gin - this might sound silly or maybe you don't have it cause you don't want it but ever consider having a "Hire Us" type tab up ^^ next to AD and Follow Us?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I appreciate this tons, Jayme. I guess I've been so focused on using Spin Sucks to build the membership base for Spin Sucks Pro (big email coming to the private beta users today!) that I have been neglecting Arment Dietrich. We gets TONS of inquiries because people read the blog, but my concern (and the genesis for writing this post) is that two of the three people who called me looking for a referral are close friends. As in, it'd be like you calling and asking me. So I don't know if it's a too top-of-mind thing?

MSchechter
MSchechter

@Leon I so have to disagree with you here. There is a massive difference between asking what you're doing wrong and acting on everything your told.

You're never going to learn much from asking people to pat you on the back. @ginidietrich had a question, asked it honestly and now has a pool of 180+ thoughts to come up with a better way forward.

Don't forget that Ford also said this: I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work.

Not everything is an innovation, sometimes it takes a few good observations and Gini just got a hell of a lot more eyeballs and opinions on her problem (and likely a few people thinking of reaching out).

Call me crazy, but I have faith that she can separate the wheat from the chaff in these comments.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Leon I was kind of hoping you WOULD take carte blanche. What's the fun in it if you don't? Good point about Henry Ford. We don't want a faster horse.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@janbeery Well really, Jan, I wrote this blog post for you because I've been waiting and waiting for the invite. My work here is done!

Griddy
Griddy

Yes...I'm replying to myself to remind myself that it's something I should consider having on my blog as a separate tab as well ;).

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

@Soulati@ginidietrich | PR I would have to say you are totally top-of-mind. And you do have...well..a certain 'celebrity status' attached to you. So, I don't believe that people don't know WHAT you do, it's likely they think they are out of your 'sphere'... Sigh. The price of fame...

Leon
Leon

@MSchechter @ginidietrich G'Day MSchechter,

Aint perception an interesting thing? Never in a million years would I have thought that I was asking anyone to pat Gini on the back.

But if that's what you read, that's what I said.

THanks Leon

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@ginidietrich @Griddy when people ask me what you both do I say you are bloggers and that you aren't accepting new clients but for a small fee I sometimes can help them change their minds.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Ditto that, Elissa! Celebrity = Untouchable = Unaccessable = Bling yet Gini is far from that and shouldn't change. The fact she's created this, ahem, Monster, ahem means what I said -- she's the product of her own success.

Which begs the question -- should she tone it down, keep it toned up like her quads and calves, or should she just ignore all this and keep on bikin'?

Oh, hi, Gin, how are you today?

@ElissaFreeman @ginidietrich@soulati

MSchechter
MSchechter

@ginidietrich @Leon Perhaps I hadn't quite eaten my after-nap snack before I responded :)

That said, the idea of "never, ever again asking what you did wrong" just sounds so very wrong to me.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Leon @MSchechter I didn't take it that way at all, Shrek. I took it as....If you really want to hear what we have to say, here it is! Which is precisely what I want to hear.

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