Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo: Worst Marketing & Promotion of 2011 Award "No Riff Raff!"

Ladies and gentlemen the Worst Marketing and Promotion Award of 2011 goes to.... Envelope please... A Linked in group in Japan called the Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo!

Clap! Clap! Clap!

The flunky association with the funky title gets the award for an extremely lame attempt at building their data base by obtaining contact information and details of company owners and executives. Then they can use this information to market those people and probably use/sell this data to obtain sponsors. How clever! How original! Took a page right out of Marketing 101.

Fantabulous and superbulous are words that come to mind..

Hello? Guys! I think that most people, who would matter to you, for this sort of thing (a thinly-veiled crass attempt at data-mining), are pretty protective of their personal information.

But, that's just me, I suppose.  

First, let's look at what the commotion is all about:

The Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo plans on holding a "Shacho Night" (President's Night) at a bar in Tokyo. The charge for the event is ¥10,000. The invitation, in its hoity-toity, manner claims that:

"This is a “members only” event. Attendees must be a Company President, Owner, CEO or Country Head and an approved member at www.tokyoexecutives.com or our Linked in Group "Tokyo Executives."

Wow! High-powered clientele! There must be some great speaker and entertainment lined up for this event, right? Or, heck, maybe even some hot belly-dancers? Well, if you thought so, you thought wrong. Go to the back of the class!

At the top of the invitation it says:

"We are pleased to introduce the first ever “Shacho Night” – A Special Dinner Event especially for Company Presidents, Business Owners, and CEOs. This event will be organized and hosted by Tokyo Executives.

This will be a great opportunity to meet with other CEOs and we expect the dinner discussions to be lively and engaging."
No entertainment? No famous speakers? "Expecting the dinner discussions to be lively and engaging"?! Not much of a killer line up there. No wonder they didn't try to book Tokyo Dome for this gala event.
And just who are Tokyo Executives? Must be a well known and long established company in Tokyo, right? Wrong. A look at their web page reveals that the company was established way back in (August?) of 2010 - ancient! Coupled with  that long and storied history, the company also boasts a staff of three people.
Count them: One, two, three.
Far be it from me, though, to trash some small businessmen trying to make a buck, but, guys at least have some basic manners - as well as a tiny bit of common sense - before you go off acting like the King of Siam. 
I showed this invitation to my friend Roger Marshall. Roger, of course, is merely a rookie only having been living in Japan since 1971 and a managing partner at one of the most reputable executive search companies in the entire world. I sweep floors, empty waste bins and clean the latrine twice a week at Roger's offices. So while I am shining his shoes, sometimes Roger will talk to me. Roger laughed when he saw this invitation and this was how our conversation went,

"Mike?" Roger said as his lips curled on a hundred dollar Cuban cigar.

"Yes, boss?" I muttered.
"It's OK what they are trying to do. How they are doing it is idiotic." He added.

"Yes, boss." I replied

Roger then tipped me a dollar and walked off in the rain towards the train station. 

The qualifications listed on the Tokyo Executives web page might be good enough to get an teaching job or job at a restaurant (nothing at all wrong with gainful employment). May I suppose that it stretches the imagination to think it  qualifies these people to decide who is "presidential enough" to fit into their little club? Does, say, the president of a large car manufacturing company have to apply too? How about someone who has received funding from a major Japanese corporation for their project? Or does the application requirement and approval process only apply to small businessmen and riff raff like me?
Let me allow you, dear reader, to decide if I am just over-reacting to some pompous nonsense from some amateurish clowns or is this really insulting? Here's their email notice:

There's several problems here that I'm sure Miss Manners would take offense to. Please refer to the amateurish writing skills and redundancies as designated by the arrows 1 & 2. 
#1 says: "Please Note: This event is for Company Presidents, CEOs, Business Owners, and Japan Country Heads only. All participants must RSVP in advance. There are a limited number of spaces available. "
#2 basically says the same thing: "This is a “members only” event. Attendees must be a Company President, Owner, CEO or Country Head and an approved member at www.tokyoexecutives.com or our Linked in Group "Tokyo Executives"
This invitation made me laugh at just how preposterous it was. I suggested to these eager beaver business men on their Linkedin page:

"...You should have added to the invitations, 'No riff raff allowed and only pompous twits need apply.'" 

My error! I should have written:

"...You should have added to the "insultations", 'No riff raff allowed and only pompous twits need apply.'"

This is a crass and shallow attempt to data mine information for marketing purposes. And just how does one become an "approved member" pray tell? Well... Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! They must register at the Tokyo Executive website and/or register by sending in their email and contact information. Like I said crass, low class, no common sense, poorly written (redundancies) and pretty transparent what they are trying to do. 

When I went back to see what other people had responded to my own comedic and low class remarks, I found that I have been blocked from the site!


It says, "Sorry! You're not permitted to view the information you requested."

Oh for shame. I guess I'm out of the club! What'll I ever do?

I guess, though, that I can console my devastated pride by remembering the words of that great and genius businessman Groucho Marx when he remarked about club memberships:

"Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member!"

Actually, I wouldn't. I would, though, think that people would take some common sense advice on manners and professionalism when it is obvious that they have been very amateurish and lacking in writing and marketing skills with this very poor presentation.

If they can't do that, they could at least have a sense of humor... But, nope. Doesn't seem like a sense of humor is what these guys are strong in.

Sounds like it's going to be a fun night!

NOTE: Of course, on this blog, I rip these guys. They deserve it for this   neanderthal effort. It is unfortunate that they are the target of my derision today. Recently, I have been saving such criticism for high-fliers like Groupon, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. So, in a way, I am complimenting Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo by putting them in with such a big name crowd... As if it actually matters what I think anyway... 

Whenever I write a post and blast some big name company, that article will get at least a few hundred and, sometimes a few thousand reads - especially if they are rewritten and posted on Lew Rockwell where they will get several hundred thousand reads. Alas, that won't happen with with this article as Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo isn't a popular enough name to justify an article like that. (And my piddly reputation isn't big enough to carry it alone...)

So, let's let bygones be bygones. May I suggest to Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo that, had we met in private, of course I wouldn't be blasting them in public like this. But, as this is a blog, readers are not interested in niceties and pretty things. It seems they are interested in cutting straight to the chase.

They blew it big time with this arrogant effort. They used public media to promote their effort, they get blasted in the same public media for doing so poorly. It's called the "Free Market". By the way, it is laughable that they block me from visiting the page that they sent me. I guess the free market only goes so far... Perhaps they should write to Linkedin and try to have me banned? (But don't think I am complaining, you can freely associate with whomever you wish)

Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo? All entrepreneurs are equal. Some are more equal than others.

I find it astounding that I should have to recommend this to people who supposedly head an organization called "Entrepreneur Association Of Tokyo" but may I suggest reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnagie? 

If we all would read and practice the wisdom of that book, we could most probably double our response and, most certainly wouldn't, at least, have people thinking we are stuck-up, rude or incompetent.

Good luck. 

(I wonder if I'll get invited to this year's Christmas Turkey dinner?)


boo said...

I predict the event will be attended by lots of one-man companies with names like "Tokyo Global Financial Services" trying to peddle their wares to each other. Who'd want to miss that?

Andrew Joseph said...

Hi MIke... I am the President and Head Nerd at Strange Fun Comics, as well as Publisher Idiotus Eternum for Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife. I am also Da Man over at How To Survive Women blog... if only I was in Tokyo... perhaps I could have go an invite.
Dude... next time you actually have to sign up for something like this and go and check it out. It's worth Y10,000 to get the full scoop and then totally rip them a new one.
Upper Class Twits... and Nigel-san has run himself over!
Excellent blog. It is a nice try for the Association, but like Marshall says... it's a stupid way to go about doing it. A Y10000 meal? That's it? That won't even cover half my sake tab!