Why don’t publicists get it?

I get a fair amount of email from public relations experts, publicists and marketing folk, but every so often I get something that just makes me gasp with amazement at how poorly this person has done their job. It’s not that it’s full of typographical errors – though that certainly doesn’t reflect well on the sender or the product being hyped – but more that the basic idea of publicity, of marketing, is that you need to appeal to your target audience and that the more you can engage them the more likely they are to read your material.
That’s not rocket science, is it?
But how do you explain this message I received today?

Hey _____,
My name is             – I work with a publicity and communications company called                     that is responsible for bringing interesting new entertainment information to the most influential sites on the web.
We’ve recently been working with author               and have been promoting his new novel, “                   “,   as well as setting up author interviews and book reviews. I am doing PR for the book and I was reading your blog and thought it would be something you might be interested in. If you are, I would be happy to send you a copy if you would mention it in the form of a review.
I have included the press release below.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Best Regards

The irony here is that I am interested in reviewing a copy of the book in question, but for a company focused on publicity, don’t you think they could spend the time to figure out my first name and replace the underscores before clicking the ‘submit’ button on my form? (note: the entries marked “             ” I removed to avoid embarrassing the company, which has assured me that this message was sent out in error)
But perhaps this is symptomatic of the reality of marketing in the trenches, when important projects like book publicity become numbers games, and when tapping into the blogging “zeitgeist” is about spamming, about quantity, not about identifying people who would have something intelligent and thoughtful to say about a given product or service?
Marketing into the blogosphere is happening, and it’s going to happen more in the next few years – just watch – but please, folks, this just isn’t how it should be done.

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