Off-target

Published: March 28th, 2002
Off-target

I hold in my right hand something called a Teepaq. It’s a small, stamped metal case containing a number of golf accessories — tees, a divot repair tool, etc. Not very tech-related, I know, but its provenance is enlightening.

It was given to me by Computer Dealer News writer Patricia

Zyska, who does not golf. According to the flurry of press releases she received, the product announcement was sent to “”targeted contacts who we feel are most appropriate to receive it.”” I checked. Computer Dealer News does not golf, either.

But I do. So when, on a whim, Zyska asked for a product sample for review – just to see if anyone was paying attention – and actually received one, she passed it along to me.

To be fair, I suppose, I should review it. It’s silver, and constructed in the ever-popular palm-size form factor. There’s tight integration of its minimal functionality, but scalability has suffered – there’s room only for seven tees, a divot repair tool, a ball marker, pencil and enough business cards for your foursome. On the plus side, though, it’s an open standards tool – any old manufacturer’s tees can be inserted. And, as ITBusiness.ca Shane Schick pointed out, it’s wireless.

Conventional wisdom has it that with the minimal incremental cost of e-mail solicitations, it doesn’t hurt to take The Spaghetti Approach to marketing – throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks.

Resources were wasted to send the review product to Computer Dealer News, a magazine that clearly isn’t aimed at a golfing audience. The press release was supposed to be aimed at “”targeted”” contacts. Not only is there the inherent wasted effort, it creates the subtle perception that whoever is doing the targeting doesn’t get it and/or doesn’t care. That’s not the kind of brand recognition you want to build.

I’m considering a second experiment. I’ve been receiving a lot of “”targeted”” e-mail about an obscure method of brewing coffee that dates back to the 1800s in Europe. The coffee syphon is an elaborate system using heat, steam pressure, gravity and vacuum to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Watch for my review in this space.

dwebb@itbusiness.ca

When he’s not golfing, Webb edits eBusiness Journal. His column appears every two weeks

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