When Industry Vendors Erupt

Posted on September 2, 2015 by - Also by this author

Hell hath no fury. . .like a business wronged. Or one that thinks it was.

One of the more unpleasant tasks of being LCT editor is the occasional eruption from a vendor who believes a competitor has received more exposure or attention in the magazine, or at a trade show. I like to compare it to small children fussing about who got the biggest scoop of ice cream.

You would be amazed, maybe even shocked, at the emails and conversations I’ve either had or observed with a handful of aggrieved vendors about coverage or trade show exposure. (They’re almost as bad as ones among operators fighting over affiliate payments).

Over the years, I’ve been confronted angrily on the show floor by a vendor who I had interviewed multiple times and thought was just the nicest gentleman; been chewed out and cursed on the phone; been badmouthed about perceived slights; and gazed upon emails with tones nothing like the sender in real life. (OMG, was he, like, drunk?)

I can say in each instance the vendor was jealous or angry about coverage or mention of a competitor. Never mind that each complainer had received the same, and sometimes more, coverage and exposure than the target(s) of their furies.

I understand and appreciate that for many business owners and entrepreneurs, the business is like a baby that triggers all the protective parental instincts. So let me walk anyone who’s interested through some basic realities about media coverage:

  • It is never in our interest to alienate or ignore a vendor, exhibitor, paying customer, advertiser, source, etc. LCT exists to be a big-tent marketplace and information clearinghouse. Being biased is bad for business.
  • When assessing coverage of vendors in the same industry niche, you have to step back and look at it over a span of months and even years, not weeks. There is no way a 72-108-page monthly magazine can accommodate everyone at the same time, regardless of the topic or format. I’ve noticed we eventually get around to everyone in due time.
  • If you as a vendor or a business feel off the radar, just call or email one of us editors and let us know about your business and accomplishments. Our news section, for example, is first come, first serve. We’re always trying to broaden the scope of people and businesses featured in the magazine and on the website.
  • Sometimes urgent news or subject matter dictates what we choose to focus on at a particular point in time. LCT cannot control external circumstances, and therefore must adapt on short notice at times.
  • Like all industry vendors and suppliers, LCT is a business first and must earn a profit to thrive. Being profitable means knowing how to engage readers, viewers and attendees. So we have to choose content and pursue articles that resonate with the widest, most consistent audience. Some topics and business invariably will be more interesting than others — at particular points in time. Nothing personal.

Finally, a word to the business wise: Tantrums and exaggerations get you nowhere long-term. An angry tone always obscures the message. People who demand apologies are weaklings, in my book. Those who voluntarily apologize when they’ve done wrong are the strong ones.

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