Citizen Marketers

Mack Collier wrote a review of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message on his blog on monday, and after reading that I knew this would be the next book on my list.

“But where CM shines is in explaining what exactly Citizen Marketing is, who these people are, and what motivates them. I’ll be honest, going into reading this book, I was a bit worried that this would simply be a collection of case studies providing examples of citizen marketing, bookended with an introduction and conclusion chapter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Ben and Jackie have done exhaustive research into the subject of citizen marketing, and instead of simply rehashing examples such as the CGM buzz behind Snakes on a Plane, Jarvis’ Dell Hell, or the liberation of Fiona Apple (quite possibly my favorite story in the book, which I’d never heard of previously), Ben and Jackie talked to all the parties involved, and discovered what they did, why they did it, and who they did it for.”

Good reviews also at and Duct Tape Marketing, but no need for that, I was sold already. I’m a bit struggling today with Life After the 30-Second Spot so a new book on my shelf will do me good. Don’t get me wrong, Life After… is a good book, but I’m not sucked into it for some reason. Maybe because it’s not all new, I don’t know, but it’s just taking too long.

I’m going to wait to buy the book yet though, since CK announced the MarketingProfs Book Club today for which I applied and what do you know, the first book is Citizen Marketers. I probably won’t be with the first 30 people, but it looks interesting and it’s definitely worth a try.

Whenever you’re also interested in this book (like me) then take a look as well at the interview Guy Kawasaki with the writers. Or read their blog: Church of the Customer Blog.

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A day with Shel & Rick

Last Saturday Shel Israel & Rick Segal where in Belgium and we had the chance to spend the day with them. The fact that we could have this meeting is for me one of the best results of blogging so far.

Back in the beginning of August I wrote about ‘Naked Conversations’ and Shel, who obviously is very much in the conversation, commented on that the day after. In the same week, Shel also announced his plan to do a world tour with Rick. I thought of this as a opportunity and sent an email to Shel asking whether they were interesting in traveling to Brussels as well to meet up with a few people and Shel & Rick immediately said yes. So we started planning for it as well. Originally this was supposed to happen at the beginning of September, but badly enough it had to be canceled/delayed. By mid September, the new dates were set and Brussels was on the schedule for October 21st.

So Simon McDermott (who had also been in contact with them) and I looked at what the most interesting agenda could be and we decided to do a dinner with bloggers and a roundtable with agency bloggers/strategists. The dinner to take place in a restaurant called Belga Queen and the roundtable at the H2O Towers. Since I travel quite a lot myself, but hardly ever see something of the cities that I’m in, I also proposed Shel & Rick to start a bit earlier so we could have a quick walk around the center of Brussels. I’m not a big fan of Brussels, but the “Grand Place” is definitely amongst the most beautiful in Europe.

(c) Pieter Baert

It turned out to be a very interesting day and I couldn’t thank them enough for this opportunity. We had a good dinner with Pietel, Ine, Peter, Luc, François, Damien, Jean Philip, Veerle, Bea, David, Geert, Tom, Coolz0r, Simon with our guests. And also the roundtable generated a really good conversation with Bert, Philip, Olivier, Evert-Jan, Tom, Tanguy, Peter and David, Geert & Simon again as well. I enjoyed the day, hope all the others did as well. Here is some coverage of the day (I’ll update when needed):

Or check out the Flickr sets of some of the guests:

So that wraps it up. Thanks to everybody for being there and to the others: the conversation is already going on, also for your brand, so you’d better join ;-)

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Naked Conversations

About a week or 3 ago I finished reading Naked Conversations. I honestly had my reservations on the book. Although Scobleizer was amongst the first blogs that I subscribed to, and even is the blog that made me think about WordPress when Scoble switched to it… I hardly ever am really interested in the posts. But Tom gave me the book and told me it was quite interesting and I had to read it.

So I did, and I’m happy I did. I enjoyed reading it and I suggest that everyone interested in blogging should do as well. I don’t want to go rambling out which parts are good, which are less, quote some pieces here and there… just read it. And in a true blog-like way, I will now pass on my copy to Geert, I’m sure he’ll like reading it as well.

Read it before Hollywood does

TheOldManAndTheSee.jpgThe good thing about The Da Vinci Code is that a lot of people did read it before the movie got created. The movie which – read the reviews – is quite bad actually. The Association of librarians of the Czech Republic ran a funny campaign that relates to this subject in order to get people to read more books. Some say it’s an old campaign already, I hadn’t seen it before but must say I think it’s quite good.

More examples to be found at AdArena.


Well I'll stick around for a while at least, but a couple of posts I wrote just before the weekend are gone, disappeared due to the WordPress issues we experienced the last days. Nothing bad to Matt or anybody else at WordPress, they've been working whole weekend trying to fix things and it seems like it worked for most of the WordPress users.

There was the welcome to Niall Kennedy, happy to have him on board at Microsoft working on Windows Live. I wrote some crap about crap, or better Craprr (kudos to Tom, Miel & Jason) and then I asked myself "Is it just me or is everything shit" which also is the new book I'm reading and that's worth reading, here's a fragment:

Geographically inaccurate racism
At school, pop sensation Darius would get called 'Saddam'. In fact, his father is Iranian – only one letter and one very long war away from accuracy. Radio One Asian DJ Nihal once got sent a charming picture with words 'Go back to India' written on with an arrow pointing to the Indian in the picture. The picture, carefully snipped from a magazine, portrayed a Peruvian Indian.If people do have to be racist, do they also need to be so droolingly braindead that they can't tell which ethnic group they are rabidly insulting? Maybe they should make special racist maps.

If that ain't an idea for a maps mashup :-)

The Art of being Belgian

While I’m reading this book “The Art of being Belgian” there was an interesting piece that made me think of online advertising in Belgium versus the rest of Europe. Let me explain.

“The Art of being Belgian” is written by Richard Hill, an Englishman living in Belgium for more than 40 years, about his experiences of the country. In the second chapter he talks about Bunkers and bricks – “Belgium is a country invented by the Brittish to annoy the French”. It’s about a certain scepticism we have, developed through the ages.

When you have had almost every European nation marching through your living room (which someone with a deviant English sense of humour called the Lebensraum), it’s not surprising that you develop a defensive tick. That’s exactly what many Belgians have: a healthy scepticism plus a tendency to batten down the hatches at the slightest sign of trouble, what I call a ‘bunker complex’. History has taught them to react to developments rather than to initiate them. Hardly surprising in the circomstances!

What does this have to do with online? Well it made me think of the fact that we in Belgium are still way behind our European neighbours when it comes to ad spend online. We hardly have 2% of total media spend in invested in online, where the online spend in the UK for instance is already at about 6% if I’m not mistaken. Richard continues:

This bunker complex translates in daily life into an apparent suspicion of other people’s motives, particularly foreigners’ behaviour that is in stark contrast with the other overriding feature of he Belgian character, an innate humanity. It extends into business: the Swedish manager of a well-known photocopier company told me that, while he could sell his machines to the Dutch on the strength of a catalogue reference, the Belgians expected a week’s use of a demonstration model to make up their minds. This suspicion is evident in the problem of selling PCs on-line to the Belgians: Apple, Dell and HP have all had disappointing results.

So if you ask me, this might very well be the real reason why we are so much behind in online advertising spend versus our neighbours. My only question would be, how many free photocopiers must we send out before the market is convinced of the quality of the product?

All marketers are liars

“Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe. Marketing is the story marketers tell to consumers, and then maybe, if the marketer has done a good job, the lie consumers tell themselves and their friends. Those stories are no longer reserved for television commercials or junk mail. They are everywhere.”

All marketers are liars [Seth Godin]