Building relationships

This is truly brilliant! Thanks Darryl for sharing, it’s probably the best take on brands building direct relationships with their customers ;) And I guess for all women who can relate to this… there’s always The Women of course.

Check it out.

Famous Jaffe

Last Friday I was invited by Famous to come to their annual BBQ at the Africa Museum in Brussels. They also had arranged for Joseph Jaffe to come and talk about The Conversation to the audience of marketers and advertisers. I had wanted to see Jaffe present again as last (and first) time I saw him was in November 2005 and it was good. Given the post about that presentation was only the second one I had ever written on a blog, it’s fair to say it was part of the reason that I got into blogging to begin with (just like reading “Naked Conversations” was another one). Another reason why I was interested to go was because it would be a good opportunity to finally meet face to face, after several conversations online.

And just like in 2005, Jaffe never seems to disappoint as a presenter. Reading his books always leave me somewhere in the middle, I like them because they’re well written but most of the content is not new to me so that makes them less interesting. But then again, I don’t belong to the core target audience for these books either. The marketers and advertisers invited by Famous do belong to that audience though and I really hope they will read the book. Since everyone received a free copy that shouldn’t be too much of a challenge :)

ConversationalMarketingConstruct

One of the slides that interested me most was the one above about “The Conversational Marketing Construct”. I thought it was an interesting exercise on defining the innovation process, and something we ought to use to check on our own progress with Bring The Love Back.

Overall, very good presentation and glad to finally meet Joseph in person. There were a lot of good statements being made during the presentation but since Clo captured most of them in her Twitter stream, I suggest you check that one out. My favorites:

… And this is my social security number and my bank account. Since you’re all marketing professionals I know you’ll be too lazy to use the data to get into contact with me anyway” (when showing his AMEX, bank account, etc details on his ‘who’s Jaffe’ slide)

Or this one…

It’s not enough to get your foot in the door. Consumers are now so powerful they would break it. They would have to ask you in.

Consumer terrorism

I was rather surprised just a few minutes ago while reading a blog post from fellow Belgian blogger Ine. The post is in Dutch so I’ll translate a bit for you. Ine talks about an email she received from the BDMA – association from Belgian Direct Marketers – about their new congress: “Revenge of the I”. The email has some of the almost standard mumbo-jumbo in there like ‘in ages of consumer empowerment, social networks…’ catch my drift? And that’s all fair to be frank, but then there’s this rather odd sentence saying (and it’s a translation, I’ll do the best to keep the original sentiment):

“During the congress we’ll deepdive into the current era of ‘consumer terrorism’ that is coming up with the rise of digital and social technologies such as blogs, social networks and email.”

Consumer terrorism?! No speakers have been announced yet but I expect to see people from the Computer Crime Unit and others to learn direct marketers how to deal with dangerous bloggers and Facebookers.

Although on a slightly different note, it reminded me of another marketing event/congress organized in Belgium: Customer First… or should I say Digital Marketing First, since that’s what they’ve changed the name to for this year’s event. What’s the idea behind that? Who decides these things? It’s like saying: forget about the customer, this event is about us against traditional advertising and stuff so we have to change the name here!”

In the meantime the Belgian marketing publications ‘MM’ and ‘Pub’ are still as they were 5 years ago, so are their websites (and yes it’s still forbidden to link to MM.be) so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised of all this Belgian Digital Marketers against Consumer Terrorism stuff anyway I guess…

Out of Focus Reply

Why complain about email overload? Take advantage of the fact that you get a ton of email every day, especially when you’re away. It’s interesting that hardly anyone uses a creative “Out Of Office” message these days (I admit, nor do I).

Today I got an interesting OOF message that immediately caught my attention, from an agency using it to promote one of their clients.  Here’s what I got from Tom De Bruyne (Boondoggle Amsterdam):

Bye,
I am currency out of the focus. I will make my comeback on Tuesday July 28th. Please contact my comics at Boondoggle for surgeon matters. I will cancer your male asap.
Kind rewards,
Tom De Bruyne

Below this message it had a small banner for Berlitz:

clip_image001

The banner obviously referring to the fact that people say strange things whenever they are not good at foreign languages.

I just loved it! Berlitz is known for creative advertising (just thinking about the ‘What are you sinking about’ video makes me laugh) but I never had seen such an original auto-reply just yet. Great stuff Tom! Just tell them Berlitz people to do something about their website, it looks horrible.

Beyond the hype

Content is King! Content is dead, Community is King! Context is King.… etc etc. What is right and what is wrong about all this? There are a few things I learned over time that I think are important values in marketing today. Let me know what you think. And by the way, it’s not one or the other right, it’s the combination of all of them.

Content is King

It’s clear it’s some people agree and some don’t on this statement, more than anything else this has sparked many discussion already and also I have written about it before. Mitch Joel says content is everything, Doc Searls said right the opposite and I respect them both, still I’m with Mitch on this one. And this is not just an online thing either. Whether you talk about Google’s search index, a blogpost, … it’s where it all starts. What has changed most vs. when we started using ‘Content is King’ in the nineties is the fact that creating content has become a lot more democratic these days, today you and I can create a lot more and easier than ever before.

Distribution is Queen

But content is not all. I think it was when email marketing really began to take off that we added ‘Distribution is Queen’ to the first statement about content being king. All of a sudden we were talking about push vs. pull, permission marketing, etc and it was clear that getting your content out there using more channels than the one it was initially created for was a good idea. That was back then. Today we have RSS, widgets, SEO, APIs, … and all kinds of different ways to get content distributed. Taking the example again of Google’s index being content, then we have to recognize that the clean and fast landing page, fast search, AdSense, etc etc also have been crucial in their success. Distrubution trumps destination.

Context Matters

You got great content and I can access it the way I prefer… still I need to be in the mood for it. Is this the right occasion, or that right timing? John Dodds recently said (when talking about content): “Your focus should be on giving people content they want, when they want it and realise that as soon as you don’t, they’ll move on and remember your content as being irritating multi-media spam in their noise-filled lives.” Microsoft Advertising and MEC Interaction did some research a while back on context which you can download here. Take the context into account and your message will become more relevant… and so will you.

Age of Conversation

Make it social. Get people involved, for real. Some people find the term conversation overused, I don’t. It still is a very good metaphor – yes a metaphor – about how consumers want to interact differently with brands. I’ll take the liberty to repeat this definition of ‘conversation’ found in Wikipedia: Conversations are the ideal form of communication in some respects, since they allow people with different views of a topic to learn from each other. A speech, on the other hand, is an oral presentation by one person directed at a group. For a successful conversation, the partners must achieve a workable balance of contributions. A successful conversation includes mutually interesting connections between the speakers or things that the speakers know. For this to happen, those engaging in conversation must find a topic on which they both can relate to in some sense.” And yes it’s a cliche, but that conversation is already going on, you don’t have to set it up.

In the comments of Mitch’s post about ‘Content is everything’ which I referred to earlier there’s also a nice quote made by Kneale Mann putting it like this: “Content is king, context is the glue, community is the soul.”

Anyway, that’s my take. Tell me what’s yours.

Geek Marketer

I’m what they call a geek marketer. Steve Rubel wrote a post about this late last year in his Ad Age Digital column saying:

“Enter Geek Marketers. These cross-trained specialists are fluent in both worlds and bridge them. They are marketers by trade, yet they also have a hard-core interest in technology and social anthropology. As curious individuals, they are constantly studying how digital advances are changing our culture and media. Armed with these insights, they regularly apply them in a marketing context by working closely with brand teams to codify new best practices.”

Now I’m not saying that I’m a specialist necessarily, nor that I’m fluent in either of them 2 worlds, but as Steve stated before in the article “For those who are deeply interested in both technology and marketing, this is your time. A new kind of career is emerging: Enter the Geek Marketer.” than I recognize myself in there very much, I’ll get fluent later ;)

I was reminded of this when I participated in an internal meeting at Microsoft in Munich where Steve came to present his Open Files presentation (which he would present at the Next 08 Conference in Hamburg the day after as well – video here). In this presentation Steve talks about trends in digital and divides them in 3 categories: Faint Signals (here and now and with real business models), Watch List (new and emerging trends not ready for primetime) and the Hallucinations (trends that aren’t really even there yet … sort of). It’s during that meeting that Steve called me a Geek Marketer and I decided to change my blog tag line the same day. Thanks for reminding me Steve :)

Here’s the presentation:

One conversation. 275 voices.

When 2 guys come up with an amazing and unique idea and manage to deliver it, what do you do next? Do something even more amazing? Exactly :)

The Age of Conversation learned me a couple of things:

  • If you’re passionate about something, any kind of collaboration can work. Look at how someone in the US and someone in Australia figured out how to get a book written by a 100 or more people living all over the world.
  • When you’re sharing a passion with other people, it creates a bond that you didn’t imagine to be possible in a situation where you’ve actually never met most of these people. I’m pretty sure that everybody who was part of the original Age of Conversation will testify to that.
  • The internet enables conversations globally, but nothing beats meeting people in real life – hence why some of the same people driving the AOC are now also driving the Blogger Social event in NYC. I’m not sure how big the overlap is between the 80 Blogger Social attendees and the AOC, but believe me when I say it’s big.
  • Even if the length of the article is about the same as a regular blog post, writing for a book is harder than for a blog. Now this may seem very logical to most of you, but it became really clear when I did my writing for the AOC.
  • The term ‘conversation’ is not overused at all. I’ve mentioned before how powerful it is as a metaphor and as long as it takes to make sure more people get it… we’ll have to continue the conversation.

The last point is also a good intro the the AOC v2 as all participants voted for “Age Of Conversation: Why don’t people get it?” and this time 275 authors will contribute to the book, more than double the amount of last year. Hopefully we can duplicate that effect as well on the proceeds of this book which all go to charity.

Here are all the 275 contributors, myself included:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brent Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley, C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Doug Hanna, Doug Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, Gi Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Reginald Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Eric Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Helipern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Berg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkins, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Raj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, R.J. Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Marketing is an investment

John Dodds wrote down a good ‘description’ of what marketing really is as a response on the ‘marketing is the price you pay for creating mediocre products’ statement that was repeated heavily at SxSW.

“Marketing is not an expense, it’s an investment cost that is inherent in the creation of your product/service from development through promotion and distribution and on to the sales experience and post-sales service. That’s a subtle accounting distinction but a crucial one. The price you pay for not understanding marketing is much worse than mediocre products – it’s commercial extinction.”

Make sure you read the whole post, as I think it’s spot on!

Marketing accountability

Marketers have an image problem and it’s their (our) own fault. Marketers need to become more accountable for themselves and for the benefit of the business. This words come out of a presentation from Futurelab, but they’re not the only ones to realize that accountability is exactly one of the key issues marketers have to deal with.

“We can’t compete on price. We also can’t compete on quality, features or service. That leaves fraud, which I’d like you to call marketing”
– Dilbert’s boss

A couple of months ago, Gregor Harter, Eward Landry and Andrew Tipping wrote an interesting article on The New Complete Marketer, like they called it. Apart from ‘putting the consumer at the heart of marketing’ or ‘live the new agency paradigm’ (thinking also about my agency2.0 post) they focus on the ‘make marketing accountable’:

“For many enterprises, the development of accountability follows much the same path, as marketers learn to transform raw data into actionable planning. Stage one is evaluating what is being measured and how it is being measured; stage two is condensing scores of diffuse reports and metrics down to a useful few; and stage three is creating targeted analytics and a core report to gauge performance and help determine where best to focus going forward.”

Back on Futurelab Jon Miller talked about the 5 stages of marketing accountability and asks in which stage you are with your organisation. The stages are:

  1. Denial: “Marketing is an art, not a science. It can’t be measured. The results will come, trust me!”
  2. Anger: “You just don’t understand how marketing works. Why is marketing held to a higher standard than everyone else?”
  3. Confusion: “I know I should measure marketing results, but I just don’t know how.”
  4. Self-Promotion: “Hey, come look at all these charts and graphs!”
  5. Accountability: “Revenue starts in marketing.”

ANA think it’s a trend to watch in 2008 though, they think this is the year marketers will get serious about marketing:

“In ANA’s 2007 marketing accountability study, it was startling to find that, despite enormous efforts, 42% of marketers were dissatisfied with ROI measurements and metrics. In about half of the companies, marketing and finance don’t speak with one voice or share common metrics. Enough! Recognizing the critical importance of accountability, companies will appoint a czar — the chief accountability officer — to lead a disciplined, internally consistent approach to marketing measurements, metrics and productivity.”

So the question is, where are you as a marketer? I believe it is indeed something we marketers need be a lot more serious about, for themselves and the business. What’s your take?

 

Into reading again

Books that is, still doing more than enough reading online, but it’s been a while since I read my last book. Today the first bunch of books I ordered on Ebay a couple of days ago have arrived so I’m ready to get at it again. First books to arrive where ‘Blog Marketing‘ by Jeremy Wright and ‘The Dip‘ by Seth Godin. I met Jeremy in Paris at LeWeb3 and it was interesting talking to him. I didn’t know he had written a book though (sorry Jeremy) so I decided to buy it right after I got back. And Seth, well that’s easy, I’m behind on Seth Godin so have some catching up to do.

Also ordered, but not delivered yet are ‘Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure‘ and ‘Round Ireland with a fridge‘ by Tony Hawks. They were both recommended to me so let’s see if I like them as well. Especially the Googlewhack Adventure is already 3 years old so it’s about time :)

And then today Joseph Jaffe reminded all of us on Twitter about the UNM2PNM initiative he’s doing for ‘Join the Conversation‘ (or Use New Marketing to Prove New Marketing). Just like with ‘Life After the 30-Second Spot‘ everyone who has a business/marketing related blog or podcast that agrees to review ‘Join the Conversation’ in it will receive a free copy of the book. That is… the first I don’t know how many (150 or so). So thanks Joseph, looking forward to the book.

Other books on my wishlist: ‘Welcome to the Creative Age‘ and ‘Herd‘ both by Mark Earls because of this podcast with Hugh, Mark and Johnnie Moore that I listened to today. And that’s about it for now.

Any other books you would definitely recommend? Let me know in the comments.