I spent Saturday-Tuesday at the GE Momsperience event in Louisville, KY. And while I had an absolute blast and have some fun pics to share with you, what I wanted to write about first is the job they did working with bloggers.
We hear a lot of complaining about companies who ask bloggers to do a ton for them, without any sort of compensation in return; companies that know they “should” be working with bloggers yet they don’t have a clue how to do it; companies that end up coming off as offensive to those of us in the blogging community.
But, today, I’m going to talk about GE, a company that got it right. And no, I wasn’t asked by GE to write a post about this. In fact, I was told numerous times by various GE peeps that they don’t expect us to write even one post about it. While I’m sure they’d like us to, there was no requirement.
Here’s what GE did right:
1. It’s obvious they took their time planning this event: deciding who to invite and what to do during the event. While Regan, who is cute as can be, came up with the idea back during Blissdom, it took GE a few months to pitch the event to bloggers. Megan, who is usually the one tweeting for GE and who is not only darling but so incredibly personable, really took her time researching bloggers: she looked at authentic conversations on twitter and read our blogs. They also chose bloggers from a wide variety of areas: it was not the same incentuous little group of bloggers who get invited everywhere: most of us have very different audiences.
2. They took care of everything and valued our time. When I first got the email from Megan inviting me to this event, I scanned it, thinking oh, this would be nice, but I’ll never be able to make it work. Until I got to the point in the email where they said that all of our expenses would be paid and everything would be arranged for us. Would I have wanted to go otherwise? Absolutely- it’s GE! But, would I have been able to go if everything wasn’t taken care of for us? No, unfortunately not. In addition, anytime I thanked any GE person for having us there(including Nancy, who arranged all our travel- whom I may have almost knocked over because I hugged her so hard), they all said something along the lines of “No, thank YOU for giving up your time to be here.” There was no sense of “we are putting on this fabulous event for you, so you better be thankful to be here.” I WAS thankful, still AM thankful… but they knew that they wanted us there and acted that way.
3. GE had a mix of events for us, with lots of personal touches. On our first night, we had a martini party where we created fun hats that we’d wear the next night to Churchill Downs. We met and talked to a lot of GE employees in an informal environment. We went to the GE Monogram Experience Center on Monday, where we heard from a variety of the departments and got to explore the products. We donned aprons and cooked our lunches, as instructed by GE’s fabulous chefs. We went to Churchill Downs that night, all dolled up and in our hats for dinner. Tuesday morning, we went to the Kentucky Arts and Crafts Museum, and then back to the Experience Center for a wrap up session. While this doesn’t begin to describe all we did, GE had a good balance of events that were just for fun, ones to educate us about them, and ones where they were getting feedback from us.
4. Speaking of the blogger feedback, this one deserves its own point. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the sessions. I thought it might be possible that we would get talked TO a lot. You know: GE telling us how fabulous they are. And really, they are. How did I not know about the GE Advantium? And every time I think about the GE Profile Front Load Washer and Dryer, I actually say outloud “Hello, Lover” in my best Carrie-Bradshaw-talking-about-shoes voice. Even in my sleep. Because I dream about those things. A-hem, back to my point. Sure, they gave us plenty of info about their products and their company. But, everyone we talked to wanted our feedback. They wanted to know what WE thought about their products, what we wanted in a product, what we thought about the way they did things, and how we could work together. And they listened. And even took notes.
5. GE said that this is not an “in and out relationship”- they didn’t bring us there to make us fall in love with them and then never talk to us again. Once again, it was the feeling of being valued that really struck me.
Now, as much as I adore GE and loved the GE Momsperience event, I’m going to give you my very
petty short list of things that they could have improved on. It’s not much. But, I tend to trust someone who can give me both pros and cons, not someone who never has a bad word to say about anything. So, here goes:
1. Not everyone was invited. I know some of you are wondering why I was invited and you were not- because well, some of you asked me that. Or, for those of you who are a bit nicer about it: why you weren’t invited, too. But, they couldn’t possibly invite every blogger who would like to work with them. Yes, this could cause hurt feelings and they were even aware of this and felt bad about it.
2. They used the term “mommy bloggers.” Now, in case you missed it, I actually have a post about Why I’m Proud to Be a Mommy Blogger, but not everyone embraces this term- a few were not happy to be called this. “Bloggers” is probably the safest term for those who are easily offended.
3. Breakfast was early on the last day(8am- I know, I’m a big baby). Maybe have breakfast an hour later on the last day, because we were all tired. At least there was caffeine to perk us up.
The GE Momsperience could be used as a lesson for companies on how to work with bloggers. They truly did an amazing job. And yes, I’d totally go back if they invited me again and would work with them in a heartbeat.
Let’s get all legal here: GE did pay all my expenses to attend this event. However, all opinions are my own and I was not required to write a word about them. Really, they did such a fabulous job that it’d be near impossible for me not to blog about them.