Post-Acquisition PR Temptations to Avoid

by Affect Team on October 27, 2009

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Acquisitions can be a fun — and scary — time for communications pros. I remember during my days at 24/7 Media, at the height of the dot com boom, we acquired nine companies during my tenure. Nine!

omnitureAt the time, not all of the companies brought into the fold were also brought in to our existing marketing programs. But I can understand why, when Adobe acquired Omniture on September 15, Adobe would want to introduce itself to Omniture’s customers. I’m just not sure they went about it the right way.

I’m not an Omniture customer. I follow their news because staying abreast of analytics trends is relevant to my industry and to my clients. I’ve downloaded their whitepapers and have possibly attended a webinar in the past several years, but I’m not an Omniture client.

I received a joint Omniture/Adobe email this morning — more than a month after the acquisition — addressed “Dear Omniture Customer,” with the subject line, “Omniture is now an Adobe company.”

It made me laugh. Nope, not a customer. And this is old news. These days, I’m so attuned to stories breaking on Twitter, the thought of sending an email like this out even a few days post-acquisition would be a little beside the point.

But maybe I was being too hard. I examined the email further to determine if there was a more substantive rationale for sending it. Does the Adobe communications team want to whet my appetite with some exciting news, development road maps, or visions of what joining forces with Omniture will mean to me?

Eh…you decide:

By combining Adobe’s content creation tools and ubiquitous clients with Omniture’s Web analytics, measurement and optimization technologies, the company will be well positioned to deliver solutions that can transform the future of engaging experiences and e-commerce across all digital content, platforms and devices.

I read further and noticed that tucked away into the body of the email was this gem:

To best serve our customers, we may choose to integrate Omniture’s contact database, including your information, into Adobe’s database in the future.

Adobe/Omniture just sent me an email announcing that I was officially being opted in from Omniture’s database to Adobe’s database. But without using those words.

Why not just come out and say it? I’m not going to bite.

Clarity of message is such a key part of tech PR. Can we let the buzzwords die once and for all and just talk to people?

In summary: wrong target audience (from a company that should be experts at parsing lists). Incoherent, misleading message. Pointless email.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Yasmin Bendror 10.27.09 at 10:52 am

Thanks Leslie for a great post! I got the same email in my in box this morning, and thought exactly the same thing. I could not have summed it up better. It may seem trivial, but every communication touch point, small or large, is vital to the overall success of the company, brand and product.

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