Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

PR Watch: Horn Group To Keynoters - Get a Clue!

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 15, 2007

Sabrina Horn, head of Horn Group, Silicon Valley's top independent PR firm, says she has heard too many sales pitches from conference keynoters from large IT vendors--and they are making a mistake. appear almost defensive when you only talk about yourself and your products in these keynotes...

Ms Horn suggests...:

Audiences today really want to hear what you think about the industry and where it's going. What should we be worried about? What are you worried about? Where are our opportunities? What are your ideas? The dirty little secret is, if you did that, we'd probably like you more and want to buy even more from you.

Link to Horn Group Weblog: Get a Clue!


I agree. A CEO makes a keynote speech at large conference and delivers a sales pitch?! What a wasted opportunity.

A sales pitch can be delivered in a video, an advertisement, it shouldn't be delivered in a keynote. I usually skip them because 95 percent of the time they are sales pitches--and I know plenty of other journalists and bloggers that do the same. 

A Keynote Is A Unique Opportunity

At conferences, a cavernous, cathedral-like room is filled with thousands of people in a darkened space happy and willing to be there. It is a perfect setting to deliver an experience, something hard to forget.

Apple is very good at this sort of thing. I remember several MacWorld keynotes from Steve Jobs and guests that were unforgettable. (One of them was when Mohammed Ali was there, just a few feet away from me.)

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