Friday, April 28, 2006

When A-Listers clash: How to write a successful blog

Guy gives his tips for writing a successful blog. Tara doesn't get it.

I'm going to side with Tara on this one. What I got from both of them was that Guy was saying you should present your blog as your product, Tara says present it as your passion.

Gotta go with passion everytime. In fact I left a similar post on BMA back in December, and here was my top tip for having a successful blog:
1 – Write about something that you are passionate about. This is key. Passion can’t be faked, and visitors to your blog won’t come back if you try. But if you are passionate, and effective at communicating that passion to your readers, they’ll love you for it.

I don't want to hear about your product, I want to hear about your passion.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Honda goes back to school to market Fit

This is just too cool. Honda has created the Honda Fit Marketing Challenge a contest where Honda provides 18 universities with a $2,500 operating budget, and let's them design a marketing campaign for the Honda Fit. In the brochures that the students are given, they are encouraged to 'push the envelope' in creating the materials.

This is gold. What Honda has done is taken the Fit's target market, and give them the chance to create the campaign for the product. The campaign judged to be the best will receive $5,000, with 2nd and 3rd place teams receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. As a huge bonus, the top 3 teams will be flown, all-expenses paid, to Honda headquarters in Torrance, Calif., on June 1 to present their campaigns to top executives from Honda and RPA, Honda's advertising agency.

The only question I have about this campaign is, why didn't Honda supply the 18 schools with a Fit to test-drive while preparing their campaigns? Often times the target market is attracted to qualities of a car that might be overlooked in the factory. Still, this genius, you put control of the marketing in the hands of the target market, and give them the motivation to create the best work they can produce.

This is what happens when marketers join the community.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Some notes on the Top 25 list

Really glad that everyone seems to be enjoying the list. I'll be updating the list every Monday, and when I do, I will also list how many spots in the poll each blog moves up or down, and how their Alexa traffic ranking changed, again, up or down. I'll also make special mention of the blog that moved up the most in both categories. This will be a great way to track how a blog is performing long-term. Alexa tends to be sporadic in their updating, but they usually update the rankings every 4 or 5 days, so that's why I decided to have a weekly update.

Also, I have started doing a similar list for advertising blogs over on BMA, and will be updating it each Monday as well.

Finally, there seems to be some question about why this blog was in, why this one wasn't. The biggest rules for the marketing blogs is that marketing has to be one of the primarily topics for your blog, and your blog can't be primarily a link aggregator, and your content can't be primarily news-related. IMO, both Marketing Vox and Micro Persuasion are heavy on links and news. Most marketing blogs lean more toward commentary and theory discussion, whereas with the advertising blogs, it's the exact opposite. Now if I were going to do a list for PR blogs, MP would likely be #1, but I'm not.

BTW keep those links to your blogs coming, as I will definitely check all of them out. However keep in mind that I rank them based on Alexa's traffic rankings, so if I think you have a GREAT blog, but your Alexa traffic ranking is 1,200,000, that's not high enough to make the list, at least not yet. I am obviously partial to THIS blog, but the Garden's Alexa ranking simply isn't high enough to be added, at least not yet. Just so everyone realizes that the judgment call is on whether or not to include your blog on the marketing list, not on where to rank it.

Thanks again to all the commenters and for the emails!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New Line's brilliant move? Realizing the community is smarter than they are.

"I've never seen anything like this -- where people actually have a vested interest in going to see this film. People are talking about dressing up in pilots' uniforms and flight attendant uniforms. There are the crazy people who will probably show up in plane outfits. It's moved beyond being a movie into 'How can we make a party out of this?' Who doesn't like a good party?"," - Stephanie Wasek, founder of the Snakes on a Plane community on

Perhaps we can't fully appreciate it right now, but 2006 could end up being a watershed moment for marketing. In the last year, community-generated content, and the blogosphere have exploded in unison. Want to make fun of a product? Make a spoof commercial and upload to YouTube. Then blog about the creation process. Think you can do better than the talking heads on the radio? Make your own podcast. Are you a musician? Make a MySpace page and share your songs with the world.

So as we are just discovering the beauty that is CGC, it seems as if it were fate that a movie like Snakes on a Plane would come along. A B-movie with a title so absurdly honest that you have to make fun of it. For a community that is just learning the joys of CGC, SoaP gave us the perfect chance to spread our wings. Go crazy.....make posters for the film, songs, trailers, t-shirts, hell let's even make blogs about it.

But there's still the matter of the studio, New Line. If history shows that SoaP was the right movie at the right time, then history will also show that New Line made the perfect move in EMBRACING the community. They didn't squash community-created blogs, or YouTube videos, or any other CGC. Basically New Line told the community 'You know what, this IS a stupid's your chance to go crazy, have at it!'.

Kids. In. A. Candystore. And New Line unlocked the doors and held them open for us. Hell they even went back and re-shot scenes to incorporate dialog from the trailer for the movie created by Chris Rohan and Nathaniel Perry.

And that's the key. When Snakes on a Plane opens, the viewers aren't going to see a movie, they are going to watch a product that they helped create.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing blogs

I added this nifty Firefox extension that gives a blog's Alexa ranking and Google PageRank when you visit, and I thought it would be fun to do a Top 20 ranking of the marketing blogs, a la the AP Top 25. The rankings are according to Alexa, and basically if I think your blog either focuses mainly on marketing, or marketing is at least half the content, then I added you(and the content couldn't be all news-related, like Marketing Vox). Certain judgment calls had to be made, like including Creating Passionate Users and What's Next, and not including Micro Persuasion and AdRants.

So according to Alexa, here's the top marketing blogs, at least all the top ones I could find ;) Each blog's Alexa ranking follows their position:

1 - Seth's Blog - 11018
2 - Guy Kawasaki - 14793
3 - Gaping Void - 18059
4 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18562
5 - Creating Passionate Users - 22087
6 - Marketing Shift - 53816
7 - HorsePigCow - 53986
8 - Brand Autopsy - 85385
9 - Church of the Customer - 87685
10 - What's Next - 90302
11 - Coolzor - 108026
12 - Emergence Marketing - 118773
13 - Jaffe Juice - 126679
14 - Marketing Roadmaps - 137510
15 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 147519
16 - Diva Marketing - 153025
17 - Jack Yan - 163243
18 - Johnnie Moore's Weblog - 165287
19 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 183879
20 - Marketing Begins At Home - 259014
21 - Decker Marketing - 260171
22 - Being Reasonable - 268503
23 - The Origin of Brands - 282050
24 - Crossroads Dispatches - 294041
25 - The Brand Builder Blog - 430378

So there's the first Viral Garden Top 25 Marketing Blogs. From now on I'll be posting the new rankings every Monday. A good way to make sure I start off the week with a post ;)

Individuality is fine, as long as we are all doing it together

Found this article in The Economist on blogs, and particularly loved this passage:
But in January this year "“the conversation"” arrived in Germany with a vengeance. Jung von Matt, a German advertising firm, had come up with a campaign in the (old) media called "“Du bist Deutschland"” ("“you are Germany"”). The advertisements were intended "“to fight grumpiness"” about the country's sluggish economy, said Jean-Remy von Matt, the firm's Belgian boss.

But German bloggers found the idea kitschy, and subsequently dug up an obscure photograph from a Nazi convention in 1935 that showed Hitler's face next to the awkwardly similar slogan "“Denn Du bist Deutschland"” ("“because you are Germany"”). In the ensuing online conversation, Mr von Matt's campaign was ignominiously deflated. Outraged, he sent an internal e-mail to his colleagues in which he called blogs "“the toilet walls of the internet"” and wanted to know: "“What on earth gives every computer-owner the right to express his opinion, unasked for?" ” When bloggers got hold of this e-mail, they answered his question with such clarity that Mr von Matt quickly and publicly apologised and retreated.

Inadvertently, Mr von Matt had put his finger on something big: that, at least in democratic societies, everybody does have the right to hold opinions, and that the urge to connect and converse with others is so basic that it might as well be added to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Yep. Web 1.0 was about getting everyone to the party. Web 2.0 is about us deciding what games we want to play now that we are all here ;)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

So is Chevy Apprentice contest already working for the Tahoe?

I heard something in passing the other day that surprised me. It was a show previewing Mission Impossible 3, and it was mentioned that despite Tom Cruise's bizarre behavior last year (remember his Oprah appearance, not doing much publicity for War of the Worlds), that War of the Worlds was actually the biggest box-office hit of his career.

This suprised me because the movie itself wasn't very good, IMO. But when you think about the media exposure that Tom Cruise was getting last year, it makes sense. Many people probably thought 'Everyone is talking about Tom Cruise this, Tom Cruise that, TomKat this, TomKat that, wonder what all the fuss is about?', and decided to see WOTW as a result.

Any publicity is good publicity, I guess.

Remembering this story, I went over to WhatsNext, where BL is still going on about how Chevy, SUVs, Chevy Apprentice, and Dick Cheney all suck. Since the contest began last month, I decided to take BL's advice and Google Chevy Tahoe, but instead I wanted to see what happened to the Tahoe's sales last month.

It seems they did quite well, thank you very much, increasing 20 percent:
Retail sales fell 17 percent compared to strong year-ago deliveries, and fleet sales tumbled 5 percent.

But the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe, two of the models the automaker is counting on to help revamp its ailing North American operations, posted double-digit sales gains.

So what does this prove? Honestly, not much. But it does suggest that the negative Chevy Apprentice ads that users submitted aren't going to kill the brand, and if anything, the extra attention that the buzz surrounding the contest generated has likely INCREASED sales.

Let's look at this logically. If you want to buy an SUV, the odds are that negative ads from the anti-SUV aren't going to change your mind, because you have likely already heard their arguments.

But what you WILL remember is that you heard a fuss surrounding the Chevy Tahoe. So when you go to shop for SUVs, if you don't have a particular model in mind, you are probably going to give your first look to the model you are most familiar with. At this point, you go back to 'well I remember hearing about that contest that the Chevy Tahoe was running, let's see what the deal is with them'.

In another couple of weeks we should find out what the sales for April were for the Tahoe. If they are up again(Especially considering the rising cost of gas.), I think we can safely say that the Chevy Apprentice contest, negative ads and all, has likely increased sales, at least short term.

Any publicity is good publicity, I guess.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A great week for BMA

Ton of great news for your second-favorite friendly neighborhood weblog. First is a great example of the viral nature of the blogosphere. I cross-posted Dave Sifry's update on the blogosphere both here, and on BMA on Monday. Megite, a blog aggregator, picked up the post from BMA, and as a result it was viewed about 600 times on Monday and Tuesday on BMA. Of course since they missed it here, it was viewed about 10 times here for both days ;)

We tied our 1-day record for traffic on Monday, then shattered it yesterday to finish at 1344. As of this writing we had a mild chance of topping that total today. Also, we broke through the Top 150,000 for Alexa. By my guesstimations, we should crack the Top 100,000 for Alexa sometime next month. And as you can see here, the Garden isn't doing too shabby either.

But shameless self-promotion aside, here's the news you'll really like. We've added a new writer to BMA. And we've gone at it from a slightly different angle this time. The writer who's agreed to join us is already a blogger. I think this makes a big difference because so far all the writers that have joined BMA (myself included), weren't bloggers, and had to learn as they went. And if you've never blogged before, you don't realize exactly how much time it can take, and I think that's a big reason why some writers had to leave BMA, because they didn't understand this going in.

Thankfully, that shouldn't be a problem here. And best of all, this person is a great writer, and VERY funny. Myself and every other writer at BMA will definitely have to bring our A-game from now on. If you've read BMA for any amount of time, then you should already be familiar with their work.

Another big reason why this will be a good deal for everyone involved is because this writer will bring a very distinct writing style, and will lean more toward advertising stories than I do. Which is good, because while our traffic has constantly grown since Day 1, the rate at which it was increasing has decreased a bit since around the end of Jan. That was the time at which I moved more toward marketing posts, and my guess is that some of the people that were coming more for the advertising stuff maybe got turned off. The addition of this new writer should help solve that problem.

I'm really excited, and I think you will definitely enjoy their writings!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blogging sets you apart in your job search

Looks like I was right after all. The Boston Globe has a great article on how a well-run blog can set you apart from other candidates in the job search. Jeremy pointed out the article, and it's very exciting. Not so much for the content, which is excellent, but the fact that the article was written at all. It signals to me that MSM is catching up to the benefits of adding a blog to your job search, and that means that the majority of the employers in this country, who get most of their news from MSM, will start to open their eyes as well.

And why shouldn't they? Blogs are an excellent tool to help a person in so many areas. Most of these areas the Boston Globe covers, so I wanted to give my thoughts on some of the points raised in the article:

Blogging creates a network. Not only that, but the blogosphere can bring you in contact with so many experts in your field that you might otherwise never come in contact with. These experts are an invaluable source of information and knowledge, as well as potential networking contacts. I can still learn more about marketing in one night from reading Tara or Hugh, than I did in most of my undergrad and graduate marketing courses.

Blogging is great training. Obviously, blogging greatly enhances your communication skills. But you also have to communicate with readers, you have to manage your time between working on your own blog, and reading/commenting on other blogs. And again, when you blog, you are literally creating a marketing plan for yourself. If you can't market yourself, how can you market for someone else?

Blogging helps you move up quickly.
Ryan recently accepted a Marketing Manager position in Canada. He said that during the interview, the employer asked him about his blog, Ashton Media, which he had a link to on his resume. He echoed the thoughts of the BG article, that his blog set him up as an expert in his field. He adds in the comments: "To be honest, I think it put me in a whole different light in relation to all the other applicants.". And again, it makes the hiring process easier for everyone as well. A quick glance of my posts here, and on BMA will quickly give the employer an excellent idea of my marketing communication skills.

There's several other great points that you should check out for yourself. Again, the article itself isn't what excites me, it's the fact that it was written at all. Ever since late last year, I've thought that we would really see employers start to go after bloggers in earnest by the spring or summer of this year. We've seen high-profile bloggers such as Steve Rubel and Jeremy Pepper landing gigs because of their blogs, and I think as more and more employers being to understand the importance and value of blogs, they'll realize what a great source they are for qualified employees.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sifry says blog-growth keeps on keeping on

This is being cross-posted on BMA.

Technorati CEO Dave Sifry has his latest 'State of the Blogosphere' report. Key findings:

The blogosphere is over 60 times bigger than it was only 3 years ago.

New blog creation continues to grow. Technorati currently tracks over 75,000 new weblogs created every day, which means that on average, a new weblog is created every second of every day - and 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created. That's an increase both absolute and relative terms over just 3 months ago, when only 50.5% or 13.7 million blogs were active. In other words, even though there's a reasonable amount of tire-kicking going on, blogging continues to grow as a habitual activity.

I think the increase in the percentage of active blogs after 3 months is key. That's an increase of roughly 10%, and is likely coming from more people checking out blogs, and commenting on them. This increase in traffic is a great sign of continuing blogosphere growth.

Another key point: "The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months"

This is down slightly, as I believe it was every 5.5 months in February. Still, a very impressive stat, and as the blogosphere continues to expand, obviously it's going to be much harder for growth to sustain its torrid pace.

Very interesting reading, looks like the blog-train is still chugging along quite nicely.

Women of Rock: MySpace Smackdown!

Back in December of last year I wrote a 2-part(Part 1, Part 2) 'Women of Rock' series on BMA. These posts focused on how many labels are struggling to successfully market the 'female rocker', and eventually led to my interview with Nettwerk's Director of Sales and Marketing, Erin Kinghorn.

I thought as a fun follow-up to those posts, that I would look at the MySpace pages for some of these 'female-rockers', but through a marketing eye. Basically I want to see how well the artists accomplish 2 goals:

1 - Make their music available to their fans, and give them the ability to share it.
2 - Make themselves accessible to their fans and interact with them.

Here's the contestants in the Women of Rock: MySpace Smackdown!

1 - Jewel
2 - Avril Lavigne
3 - Alanis Morrisette
4 - Sarah McLachlan
5 - The Donnas
6 - Tori Amos

First up: Jewel.

With her new CD Goodbye Alice in Wonderland set to hit stores next month, Jewel needs to knock the cover off the ball. Instead she wiffs on 3 straight pitches. First, there are NO songs, and NO videos available! There is NO blog. In fact the only thing she has on her page is a buncha ads disguised as 'content' trying to direct the user back to her main website. She has an ad-link to pre-order GAIW, a place to enter your cell phone number and get update on 'Jewel news', and the code for a 'Jewel Fan Feed' that you can add to your MySpace page, or website. Also, NO bio.

It's obvious that Jewel is using her MySpace page as a tool to promote her website. IOW, she has fans on the 8th most popular website on the planet finding her, and she tries to redirect them to a website that doesn't get as much traffic as BMA does. Amazing. Almost as amazing as the fact that she's roughly 2 weeks away from the release of an album that will make or break her career, and she has NONE of her music available! Nothing. The closest she comes is a link to watch the video for GAIW at Yahoo!.

I'll give Jewel a 31, and my bias for her music is likely the main reason why she scored this high. This is a marketing embarrassment.

Avril Lavigne

The first thing I see is a player with FOUR of Avril's songs ready to play! Thank God! Can you add the songs to your MySpace page? Yes you can, all four! Unfortunately, Avril doesn't allow you to rate or comment on the tracks, and she doesn't have the lyrics for them. And you can't download them, which isn't a huge deal, since I doubt many of the artists here will have their songs available for download. Also, no videos available. Still, a good start.

She has a pseudo-blog, with only a few entries, the last being in February, and they apparently aren't written by her. She does have an extensive bio, an ad for a debit-card for Avril fans, and a banner for YouthAids and Aldo, charities helping to fight AIDS/HIV (you can see the Nettwerk influence here). She doesn't score many points for the crappy blog, but she redeems herself somewhat with the banner for YouthAids/ALDO.

Surprisingly, there are no links to order any of her CDs. Very odd. In fact there aren't any links to any of her merchandise. I appreciate her not turning the page into an online catalog, but I would have at least thrown in a link to Werkshop to order Avril's merchandise there.

Overall I'd give Avril's MySpace page a 72. Not great, but not a bad start.

Alanis Morrisette

Alanis is a relative newbie MySpacer, only having a page since the end of last year. Her career has been slipping for years now, let's hope she can take a step forward here with a solid MySpace showing. First, she has FOUR songs available to play, you can add all four, no comments or rating allowed, no lyrics, but HUGE can DOWNLOAD all 4 songs! That's big! videos. Still, the ability to add AND download 4 songs, that's massive!

Unfortunately, that's about all there is on the page worth talking about. No blog, which is almost as big of a minus as the downloads are a plus. A very short bio, no links to any merchandise, and one link to her website.

The good news is that it looks like this site is still a work in progress. If Alanis adds a blog that SHE writes, and expands the bio, that alone would easily get her over 80.

As it is, I'll give her a 65. The downloads are big, but that's about all there is here.

Sarah McLachlan

First, she has a player, but only 3 songs are available. You can't download, rate, or comment on the 3 songs, but you can add them. All 3 are remixes from Bloom, her latest album. No videos are available.

There are 2 entries in her blog, and neither written by her. Ugh. Her 'bio' is actually a very detailed account of the songs on her latest CD, Bloom. Personally I would rather have the extensive bio.

Sarah is clearly using her MySpace page to promote Bloom. To that end, it serves it's purpose. But if you strip away the Bloom-related content, there's really nothing left. Again, no link to any merchandise. Sarah's fan-club, Murmurs, recently became free to join, so she needs to link to that.

Sarah's page definitely needs a bio, and a blog. Adding those would get her score up around 75-80, as it is I give her a 62.

The Donnas

The youngest members of the contest, and the only female band, are up next. And from a quick glance of the page, I can tell you that we have probably found our winner. First, their player has 4 songs. None of them can be downloaded, and no lyrics are available, but all can be rated and commented on, and added. But we're just getting started, the girls have FOUR videos for viewing! Want more? They have THREE video interviews to watch, and bless their hearts, those spunky babes have added four MORE live videos you can DOWNLOAD, and a live version of Take It Off that can be downloaded as well! Amazing!

Now, for the blog. First, they have one ;) Second, they only have 1-2 entries a month, but it does appear that they were written by the band, they have additional links to concert venues, interviews, etc. But here's the part I absolutely love.....they left a post asking their fans which 4 songs they wanted in the player! I love it! These ladies are kicking some serious ass!

Finally, they have a link to their website, an area to sign up for their mailing list, and a space to sign up for wireless alerts.

Just a great page, and it puts the rest of the field to shame. There's no real weaknesses here, more entries in the blog would be nice, but what they have is definitely nothing to sneeze at. I am very impressed, and give The Donnas a 94.

I think the contest is over, but we still have to check on the original 'alternative-chick'...

Tori Amos

Only 2 songs available in her player, which can't be downloaded, but they can be rated, and commented on. No lyrics, but you can add them. She does have a video available from her DVD collection Fade to Red. mix here.

Her 'blog' is really just a series of 'press releases', mostly hyping Fade to Red, and obviously not written by Tori. Pretty weak.

No bio, in fact she takes the same route Sarah did, she uses her bio space to go into detail about Fade To Red. Very detailed, but again, a detailed bio would have been better.

But she DOES have a link to order Fade to Red! Amazing! I would have thought all the artists would have been falling all over themselves to have links to their CDs/DVDs, but only Tori and Jewel did this. Tori also has a form to join her mailing list.

This one is close, but I am going to bump Tori just ahead of Alanis, and give her a 68. The blog is weak, the selection of songs/videos isn't strong, but Tori probably does the best job of merchandising. If she would add 2 more songs and actually write her blog, this would be a solid MySpace page.

So the final standings look like this:

1 - The Donnas - 94
2 - Avril Lavigne - 72
3 - Tori Amos - 68
4 - Alanis Morrisette - 65
5 - Sarah McLachlan - 62
6 - Jewel - 31

There you have it, with the hotties from LA taking home the top score easily. The rest of the gals have adequate pages that could be solid with a few minor tweaks.

And then there's Ms. Kilcher, who simply needs to flush her page and start over. Jewel my email address is Contact me when you are ready to get serious about your marketing.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Using bloggers to promote your movie

Hugh has an idea on Gaping Void about using bloggers to promote the new movie Hallam Foe. Hugh's idea is to give away tickets to a certain number of bloggers (his view is, the more the better), and again, make sure they know they are under NO obligation to write anything about the movie on their blog.

My idea was, (and I want Chris to comment here if he can) instead of giving away say, 5,000 tickets to bloggers over the life of the film, give away as many tickets to bloggers as you have requests. But ONLY for a certain time period, like say the first 2 weeks that the movie is in theaters, or the first month. The idea being, get the bloggers to see the movie first, and get them blogging about it ASAP. This would greatly help in creating the positive WOM that a movie needs out of the gate to be a major success.

And I would also take it a step further and ONLY invite bloggers to the premiere(or at least as many as possible). As I told Hugh, not sure if the studio would go for this, but since we all know how large the blego is, the bloggers that attended the premiere likely couldn't get to their laptops fast enough to gush about the movie.

I'm still waiting for a record label to be smart enough to do this, but that's another story.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Old media vs New media

This is classic. Earlier this week, I was brainstorming for ways to get more exposure for BMA. I decided to email the career columnists for certain newspapers in the Southeast, and pitch the idea to them of an article focusing on how bloggers are now using their blogs as a tool in their job search. I mentioned that an employer could read my posts on BMA, and gleam much of the information they would want from a first interview(Do I make good marketing sense? Do I have good communication skills?). Either way, the employer saves time by either bumping me up to the front of the list, or removing me. It also saves my time, because I know if an employer reads my blog and then contacts me, it means that they are more likely to be interested in hiring me.

So far I have received one response:
Thanks Mack. I always like new ideas. I checked out the blog - and maybe I'm missing something - but I don't see information that shouts "hire me" about anyone, and as a previous Employment Manager/Recruiter, I would never have had the time to read this. I had about 10 seconds per resume. Am I missing something here? How could employers use this to find potential hires ?

Honestly, if the other writers had taken the time to respond, their response would have likely been very similar to this one. This reply screams to me 'I have never read a blog before'. Notice her response wasn't 'Mack I agree that blogs are a great way for employees to reach employers', or 'Mack I think blogs are growing, but I'm not sure they are yet to the point where they can be used as a successful tool in most job-seekers job search'. Anyone that is familiar with blogs, would already have an opinion, yay or nay, on using blogs as a recruiting tool.

I understand completely that recruiters only have a few seconds to scan a resume. I also framed the article proposal as a way for job-seekers to use their blog to appeal to employers. Anyone that's read a blog knows that you're not going to get anything from that blog during a 10-second visit.

But again, it looks like my appeal to 'old media' crapped out. However, earlier today, 2 geniune A-Listers, Hugh MacLeod and Tara Hunt, both linked to my quote on BMA:
"As you move down the long-tail, your marketing becomes less about the product, and more about the people." - Mack Collier

Tara also referred to it as a 'Brilliant quote'.

Now the key question is: Which referrals would have given BMA more valuable exposure, being featured in 5 articles from 5 members of 'old media', or 2 positive referrals from 2 of the most influential members of 'new media'?

I think it's....

New Media - 1
MSM - 0

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Links on a blog!

Some stuff I saw I liked, and also there are some people that lately have linked to BMA, and since I have already linked to them from BMA, I wanted to link from them here. To boost the ole T-Rati meter, of course!

Chris says I gave him a 'Major Award' lol! That was worth the link right there! Also, make sure that you check out Chris at AdJab, and at Bacon's.

You should be checking out Media Orchard already, but if not, make sure to check them out now since Andrea will be pinch-hitting for Scott from the rest of the month along with Bill from Make the Logo Bigger.

Has anyone tried this from AOL? Supposedly it lets you watch old tv programs on your computer. Not many series available, and I couldn't get it to finish loading, so I figured since the 'AOL' name was attached to it, that it must not work.

Thanks to Leslie for the nice shout-out to BMA!

Congrats to Chris for cracking Technorati's Top 100,000. Here's another link to keep the ball rolling!

All he wants is a movie ticket

So what is Snakes on a Blog all about?
Snakes on a Blog documents my quest to attend the Hollywood premiere of Snakes on a Plane. If I'm really lucky, this blog will do more than just document the quest, it will aid it.

But is it working?
I’ve been online for 90 days. I’ve had about 265,000 visitors. I’ve posted 185 stories. There have been 770,000 requests for pages, and a staggering 18,100,000 requests for all files (these are mostly people hotlinking to images and comics that I’ve hosted and posting them on other forums around the net). I’ve transferred 375 gigabytes of data (slowly approaching a terrabyte!). The most popular day of the week is Friday. The most popular hour of the day is between 1pm and 2pm.

I’ve gotten seven free t-shirts, one free hat and one free button (more please). A fan started petition requesting I be allowed to attend the premiere is currently standing at nearly 600 signatures (more please). There are currently 31 translations of “Snakes on a Plane” into foreign languages (more please). I’ve been interviewed by two TV crews. According to Google, has appeared in 34 newspaper stories, been linked to by 521 blogs, and over 6,500 other webpages.

But my goal was not to build stats. My goal was not to get free t-shirts or high hit-counts. My goal was to attend the Hollywood premiere of Snakes on a Plane. If that doesn’t come to pass, then all the rest of this work was for nothing. Read my first, second and third pleas to hear more.

My goals are looking pretty good at this point. David Ellis, the director, has said that I’d be coming to the premiere in several interviews… but the quest doesn’t end until I’m standing on the red carpet.

Things are looking good, though. Thanks for everyone’s support.

That sounds like a 'Yes'.

“You got a problem, take a number and a name, ’cause we got snakes on this motherfucking plane.”

Bonus question: If New Line had tried this in-house, would their results have been the same?

Bonus answer: No.

I like it when people make me think

Here I go and post about suffering from Writer's Block on BMA, then I immediately go to HorsePigCow and see this post from Tara.

Here's the response from the guy that can't think of anything to write about:
"Another good post Tara. And you are right that it is usually just as productive to go after a niche market as it is a sliver of a large market. Also, as you move down the long-tail, your marketing becomes less about the product, and more about the people.

And I think it's much more difficult to successfully reach the niche markets, which is why many companies don't bother. The market is much more fragmented, and their wants and needs are much more tightly defined. Learning their wants and needs means surrendering some control, joining them in their community, so that their wants and needs become yours. Very scary stuff for many marketers.

It reminds me of something else Erin Kinghorn told me when I talked to her, I asked her why other record labels weren't looking at the success that Nettwerk was having with marketing 'female rockers', and saying 'we need to be doing that too'. She said "I think that they are trying to find female artists and develop them, but really they’d need to change all aspects of their company from the top down, and most labels aren’t able to do that right now....they would have to change their corporate culture".

I think that's the key. Once you find a way to marry your wants and needs to those of the community that you are marketing to, then you've created a terribly powerful barrier to entry for the competition. Not only because you are able to satisfy the community's wants and needs much more efficiently than the competition(because the community's wants and needs are also now your's), but doing so means taking what is basically a blind leap of faith in the community. And that's not something that many companies are comfortable in doing.

But those few that are, will reap big-time rewards."

And if Tara is reading this, I actually misread part of what you were saying. On one of your charts, you said it was EASIER to reach the niche markets. I said it was more difficult. Technically you are correct, it IS easier to reach them, because there is less competition. What I should have said was that it is harder to meet their wants and needs, because they are more tightly defined, and correctly identifying them requires a greater degree of interaction with the customer (community member?), than most companies are comfortable committing to. Yeesh....even my comments on my comments are long-winded.

But that's a good thing. And as you can see from her other comments, a lot of people had plenty to say about her posts.

Good stuff as always from Miss Rogue. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Viral Garden has hit the big time

According to Alexa, in less than 2 weeks time, The Viral Garden has already passed BMA's traffic.

This either means:

A - That The Viral Garden is now getting over 1100 visitors a day, or...
B - Alexa is full of it

I think we can guess which one it is ;)

The Captain Tuttle experiment

For at least 3 seasons, MASH was one of the funniest sitcoms ever. One of their best episodes came in the first season, entitled 'Tuttle'. The episode centered on an imaginary officer that Hawkeye created. As the episode went on, the rest of the 4077th went from wondering why they had never met this Captain Tuttle, to by the end of the episode most of the camp had convinced themselves that they had not only met Captain Tuttle, but that he was the best officer in the camp!

I wonder what would happen if Tuttle came to the blogosphere?

For example, what if a 'Johnathan Tuttle' created a new blog, and 'Tuttle' would occasionally post about some conference (that no one's heard of, natch) that he will be speaking at. And then a few days later, 'Tuttle' could recap what he had said at the conference. Then to make it really believable, have 'Tuttle' sometimes post that he had attended a REAL conference where a buncha A-Listers spoke at. He could post about 'the great speeches by Doc and Scoble!'.

Am I the only one that thinks that a buncha bloggers would suddenly start treating 'Tuttle' like an A-Lister, if they thought he was speaking at all these conferences like an A-Lister? ;) Besides, wouldn't this 'experiment' be a lot funnier than some Smurfette she-male crap?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Give me the product when I want it, not when you THINK I want it

This looks like a football, doesn't it? But to autograph collectors such as myself, this is $20 worth of gold.

Unfortunately, Nike thinks it is a football as well, so they ship these to stores in September, during the start of football season. Sounds like a marketing no-brainer, right? I mean if autograph collectors want to get a football signed, they would do so during football season, right?

No, they will want to get a football signed when they have ACCESS to the football players. This is a terribly important distinction to make. While the fall is a great time for collectors to get football players to autograph their Nike football, the spring and summer can be an even better time. Especially in recent years, the number of charity golf tournaments have taken off. At each of these tournaments, there are plenty of, you guessed it, football players participating. Football players that are quite happy to sign Nike autograph footballs.

But the problem is, when I go to my favorite sporting goods store to buy a Nike autograph football such as the one above, I am told 'Sorry, we're out, we'll get some more in-stock in September when football season starts'. So I end up buying a cheap knock-off that doesn't look as good, costs more, is of lesser quality, and Nike loses a sale. And let's not forget how popular spring football has become at college campuses all over the country. By only shipping these autograph footballs to stores in the fall, Nike is losing sales during at least 6 months.

All because Nike is giving me their product when they THINK I want it, and not when I actually NEED it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This is how YouTube is changing marketing

MTV was all set to have the 'world premiere' of the video for the single Dani California by the Red Hot Chili Peppers this Tuesday. Problem is, someone (wanna bet it was someone it the Peppers' camp?) leaked the video to YouTube last Friday, and it's already been viewed over 150,000 times.

As Church of the Customer points out, the link on YouTube is already creating WOM buzz for the upcoming album and tour via the comments, which are closing in on 100.

This is just another example of putting your product in the hands of the consumer in a place where it is more convient to THEM, not you.

TV beginning to realize that blogs can compliment programs

Four months ago I posted on BMA that it was time for TV to start integrating blogs into their websites as a way to provide additional information on series, and to interact with fans. According to this article in today's USA Today, it seems that the networks are finally catching on.

Shame they didn't try this for Reunion, I still think that was the perfect show to support character-blogs.


Advertising for Peanuts has these hilarious ads for KFC. They are funny, which of course means they aren't from the US, they are running in Singapore.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Did someone mention marketing to the community by joining them?

This is being cross-posted on BMA.

CNET has the latest 'companies are going after consumers to make their ads' article here. Pay attention to this passage, including a quote from Colin Decker, the creative director at Current TV:

"Traditional marketing methods have fallen short," Decker said in explaining why he expects viewer-created ads to take off in the market, particularly for the 18- to 34-year-olds who watch Current TV. "This demographic does not respond positively to something overly produced and (that is a) hard sell."

IOW, Decker is admitting that he is part of the 'traditional marketing' community, so himself and others in his 'community' don't know how to create marketing plans that appeal to the 18-34 demographic. So they are doing the next best thing: Appealing to members of that community to create their promotions, and then they cherry-pick their favorites.

This is what you are seeing with the rush of companies running 'create our ads' campaigns. Companies are realizing that the best way to appeal to a community is to use a voice that they are familiar with, IOW, one of their own.

Ideally, we'll reach a time when companies realize that an even better idea is to cut out the middle-man, and join the community that they are targetting. Thus giving them an understanding of the voice of that community, and how to 'speak' about their products in a language that the community will understand, and appreciate.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

BMA getting a facelift

Just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that BMA will be getting a new look sometime soon, possibly tomorrow. There will be a new header and a different template, although I've been told it will be similar to the one we have now, which I like. I've seen the new header and it looks really sharp. Also they trimmed the blogroll a bit, tried to focus just on mainly advertising, and a few marketing blogs. This is a big reason why I prefer to link to blogs in posts, because from my experience it sends your blog more visitors than being on the blogroll, and it's a pain to email TZ every time I want another blog put on the blogroll.

Everyone check it out, like I said the plan as of this morning was to 'unveil' the new look tomorrow, so we'll see!

Steve Rubel takes on Jack Trout over WOM, and everyone loses

Last month Jack Trout published a column for Forbes taking a swing at WOM marketing. Many blogs quickly jumped on him for his fossilized push-approach to marketing, and BMA was one of the first blogs to pile on. Here's the telling quote that shows that he has no idea what a huge role WOM, viral marketing, and blogs can play in promoting a product:
Now for the really bad news. There's no way to control that word-of-mouth. Do I want to give up control and let consumers take over my campaign? No way.

Well yesterday, Steve Rubel decided he was going to take a crack at setting ole Jack straight on WOM. Steve gives his same canned replies concerning 'reaching evangelists', and 'getting down with the people'. His Edelman mate Rick Murray steps in to tell Jack about some successful viral/WOM campaigns, and references Burger King's Subservient Chicken and Oprah giving away G6s to the audience on her show. Jack quickly responds that neither case resulted in extra sales of chicken at BK, or G6s for Pontiac, and Murray admits that's right (actually Trout even referenced the Oprah G6 episode and how it didn't help sales of the car in his Forbes article. Way to do your homework there, Rick.)

Then Murray mentions an online viral campaign they created for X-Box 360 prior to its release, the ''(sorry if that's not how it's spelled, since I'd never heard of this.) They created a secret website designed to bring hardcore gamers together, and Murray noted that over a 6-week period, they eventually had 115,000 gamers coming to the site to play games. He then noted that the same promotional video that debuted on MTV for the X-Box 360, was shown 30 minutes earlier on this site, and downloaded over a million times in the first 24 hours.

Impressive stats, which Murray then ruins with this illogical leap:
Does it work, does it not? X-Boxs were selling for 4 times retail on eBay within an hour of X-Box being available.

That's great Rick, but PS2s were going for $5,000 on ebay 6 years ago when it first debuted. Any next-gen console is going to sell for several times retail on eBay until supply meets demand.

Jack then asks Steve how you reach out to these communities without making them think they are being 'hustled'. I waited for Steve to say something smart like you join their community, but instead he said that you figure out what the community's 'unwritten laws' are, and follow them.

The sad thing is, I think Jack came across as the one that made more sense. But even he was off, because he repeatedly said that the main point of his Forbes article was that WOM worked, but that it was simply one of many marketing tools available to use. No Jack, that's NOT what the main point of your article was, the main point was to attack the effectiveness of WOM and viral marketing. The fact that Steve and Rick never called you on this, again makes me think that neither of them had read your Forbes article. Which would be funny, because I believe Steve blogged about it shortly after it came out.

Listen to the podcast for yourself. If you can hear any salient marketing wisdom from any of these guys, please share with the class, because I missed it.

Oh and Steve and Rick, the next time anyone asks you for an example of a successful WOM/viral campaign, for the love of Thursday, please respond with 'Hotmail'.

And when some fossilized marketer like Trout follows with 'but how did that increase sales?', ask them what Hotmail sold for.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Will Alexa ultimately be the spark that launches the blogging explosion?

Take a second to look at your blog's browser stats. If your blog is like most others, a good share, if not the majority, of your users are getting to your blog with Firefox as their browser. It's early for the Garden, and I definitely skew the results, but so far half of our visitors are using Firefox.

And NONE of them are being counted by Alexa.

Alexa only counts users that have the Alexa Toolbar installed, which many people don't realize. Now bloggers ARE more likely to use the toolbar than the average user, but at the same time, they are also more likely to use Firefox.

And currently Alexa's toolbar is NOT available for Firefox, only IE. But what would happen if Alexa announced today that its toolbar was available for Firefox? Can you imagine how quickly this toolbar would be adopted by bloggers? Traffic patterns for blogs as a whole, according to Alexa, would begin to surge almost immediately.

MSM is already beginning to notice the increasing traffic patterns of blogs, but the kicker is, those patterns are calculated with a toolbar that only supports IE, which is used on the whole more by surfers to MSM sites, not blogs. If the advantage flipped, and if Alexa embraced Firefox, then suddenly the advantage swings to blogs in the traffic-wars.

The potential impact to the ultimate future of blogs would be huge if Alexa ever adds Firefox, the blogger's browser of choice. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Where you are

The famous song-titled mish-mash nonsensical format posting that you loved on BMA, has found its way to the Garden.

One of the things I've wondered ever since I started figuring out which bloggers were on the supposed 'A-Listers' lists that get bandied about, is why John Moore doesn't appear on more of those lists. Posts such as this one on Brand Autopsy might be part of the reason why. Not that John said anything wrong, in fact I think he was completely correct in his characterization of the episode. He's also the only one that I've seen take this stance. Maybe that's why he doesn't get invited to the 'A-List' slumber parties?

Link-love for the Garden has started coming in, thanks to JD and Chris twice! Check out MMM as Chris has given it a new and cleaner look. Also Chris, you can steal the 'get out of the way' line, since I stole it from Tara Hunt ;)

I have now heard about half of the songs on the upcoming Jewel album, Goodbye to Alice in Wonderland. The good news is that most of the songs are previously unreleased songs that she has been performing live, a few from as long ago as 1996. What remains to be seen is how they will sound on the CD, Jewel is notorious for giving amazing live shows, and often having the songs fall flat in the studio. Already some fans are complaining about the sound of the first single, Again and again(which I don't like), and that she 'should have released the live version since it sounds so much better'. Uh-oh. Most of the versions I have heard of the songs from Goodbye to Alice in Wonderland have been live. The bottom line is that if she can find a way to make the album sound 'live', she could top Pieces of You because she has a great selection of songs to work with.

If not, she'll have a CD that's likely only a shade better than 0304.

Heather went shopping and found some interesting children's books.

Finally, some 'new' marketing/ad blogs to check out:
Marketing Inside/Out
Advertising Ourselves to Death