Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New post up at Daily Fix

My latest post at Daily Fix is up, and I discuss the same topic I did here yesterday, Empowering Your Community. I'm not a big fan of simply re-posting an entry on more than one blog, but I wanted to get feedback from both communities on this subject, so I posted it in both places. The DF version is slightly different, so check it out!

BTW broken-record time, but Ms. Community has done it again. Toby Bloomberg, of The Diva Marketing Blog has agreed to join Daily Fix! As you know, I've been a big fan of Toby for a while now, and she's yet another solid addition to the DF lineup(And yet another Top 25er). Welcome aboard, Toby!

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing blogs - Week 6

Here's the standings for Week 6, and these will be updated again next Monday.

1 - Seth's Blog - 8,818 (LW - 1)(+436)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 17,401 (LW - 2)(-83)
3 - Gaping Void - 18,504 (LW - 3)(-279)
4 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18,716 (LW - 4)(+742)
5 - Marketing Shift - 46,756 (LW - 5)(+908)
6 - HorsePigCow - 50,963 (LW - 6)(-283)
7 - Coolzor - 83,065 (LW - 7)(+298)
8 - Church of the Customer - 84,670 (LW - 8)(+76)
9 - What's Next - 86,964 (LW - 9)(+1,060)
10 - Brand Autopsy - 95,009 (LW - 10)(-1,374)
11 - Emergence Marketing - 101,871 (LW - 11)(+10,602)
12 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 122,722 (LW - 13)(+11,060)
13 - Jaffe Juice - 126,401 (LW - 12)(+2,012)
14 - The Viral Garden - 131,783 (LW - 16)(+33,410)
15 - Diva Marketing - 149,812 (LW - 15)(+7,555)
16 - Marketing Roadmaps - 158,043 (LW - 14)(-12,832)
17 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 179,125 (LW - 18)(+5,871)
18 - Marketing Headhunter - 180,572 (LW - 17)(+2,928)
19 - FutureLab's Blog - 190,810 (LW - 20)(+35,627)
20 - Marketing Begins At Home - 230,533 (LW - 19)(-7,730)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 230,881 (LW- 21)(+6,851)
22 - Network Marketing for Women - 231,696 (LW - UR)
23 - WonderBranding - 263,573 (LW - 24)(+21,595)
24 - B2Blog - 267,595 (LW - 22)(-14,727)
25 - The Origin of Brands - 301,608 (LW - UR)

Week 6 was probably the most stable one we've had so far. The Top 11 spots stayed the same, and no blog moved up or down more than 2 spots. Seth's blog had a relatively big move, cracking 9,000 in Alexa's rankings. FutureLab had the biggest jump in Alexa rankings, up 35,627 spots. Kim Klaver's Network Marketing for Women blog debuts at #22, and Laura Ries' The Origin of Brands re-enters the Top 25 at #25.

Looking ahead, Ageless Marketing and Movie Marketing Madness both sniffed the Top 25 again, but came up a bit short. Team Vancouver(Ryan and Jordan) are both still a ways off, but at the rate they are moving, one or both should enter the Top 25 by the end of June.

As always, next update is next Monday.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Meanwhile....back at the batcave

Notes and quotes for the weekend....

First, welcome the newest member of the Viral Community, Monica Power's excellent Brand is Language blog. A great, and now daily read for me. Check it out and I'm sure you'll agree.

Two very different marketing moves into MySpace. The first one is Burger King's new page, brought to us by Ashton Media. As Ryan correctly notes, if BK doesn't use this as a tool to communicate with MySpace users, it will tank. Personally, I think this starts out with 2 strikes against it, because MySpace users are going to view this as simply a commercial for Burger King, and likely tune them out from the get-go.

But Chris mentions a MySpace promotion for the movie An Inconvenient Truth, that's far more interesting. Paramount has done a 10-city theater buyout on June 16 which will reserve the theaters for only MySpacers. As I told Chris, I think marketers need to move more toward such 'exclusivity' measures, since I feel that MySpace is dangerously close to losing its 'coolness' factor with some of their users.

The Top 25 Marketing blogs, as always, will be published on Monday. Since I am addicted to blogging, I can't take the holiday off ;)

Check out the Social-Networking Weblog. If TechCrunch launched a blog for just social networks, it would probably be very similar to this one.

I sent this link to Jaynie(who will be a great podcaster), and others such as JD might be interested, but this is a great resource that walks you through the process of creating a podcast. For a time I was seriously considering adding a podcast here, but I really don't think I'll have the time. If I started doing a podcast, I would want it to be a weekly deal, and with now 3 blogs, I don't think that would always be possible. Maybe later, but we'll see. BTW if you are thinking about podcasting, it really isn't that hard (or doesn't appear to be that hard), so give it a look!

PS: Coupla extra MySpace notes:
First, it's now been 2 weeks since I sent Jewel a MySpace message on how to better her marketing. She still hasn't read it, and later this afternoon it will be 2 weeks old, and thus deleted. Shocking.

On the flipside, when we discussed how the band Shaye could use MySpace or bloggers to market themselves, I also sent them a MySpace message with a link to the post. Someone from the band or in their camp read the post within an hour, and according to SiteMeter, came here and read the post linked above a few minutes later.

Also, if you are a blogger on MySpace, send me a friend request and I'll be happy to add you to my list! Here's my page.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Promotion by association

Hugh has an interesting promotion he's cooking up at Gaping Void:
So here's an idea I'm pitching around the Stormhoek boys, in order to get more signed prints "out there":

How about if, as well as being able to download high-resolution images off gapingvoid, I also started making more signed, fine art prints available, to anyone who wanted one?

How about, instead of charging you money for the print, we had a similar arrangement to the one we have with the high-resolution downloads i.e. How about if we gave them to you for free, with a "gentleman's agreement" that if you ever came across a bottle of Stormhoek in your local supermarket, you'd consider giving it a try?

Stormhoek would pay for the prints, my "readers" would get to hang them on their walls, the costs would hopefully be covered by new Stormhoek conversations and new business being generated.

I think the whole thing could possibly work quite well, as both a commercial proposition and an interesting marketing case study.


My first thought was 'That's not a promotion for Stormhoek, that's a promotion for Hugh Macleod.'. Basically Stormhoek would pay for sending out Hugh's signed prints, which would definitely cause SOME conversation about Stormhoek, but I believe that would be a small and ancillary affect of a greater buzz for Hugh Macleod and Gaping Void.

But the question I have is, is that a good or bad thing for Stormhoek? Or to be more clear, will the the time, money and effort that it's going to take Stormhoek to send out the prints, will that be overcome by increased sales of Stormhoek wine? My guess is probably, but I can't see this one promotion being a huge success for Stormhoek. Perhaps moreso as a continuing theme of joining the community.

So what does the Garden's community say? Who benefits the most from this promotion, Stormhoek or Hugh Macleod? And if you say that Hugh does, do you think the ancillary benefits to Stormhoek, as a client of Hugh's, would make this promotion worth their while?

Totally unrelated PS: Jordan at Tell Ten Friends needs your help with a marketing survey which he says takes about 2 minutes. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stop me if you've heard this one before....

Gonna swipe Andrea's 'Humor Links' ider, because I've seen a few lately that I had to share.....

Blogger's Anonymous now has an official blog for those dealing with blogging addiction. Surely an idea whose time has definitely come....

Jaynie, as only she can, relates a hilarious story that ends with:
"How sad am I that I wasn't there to see that in person? Very.
Because I think I would have been 89% tempted to either:
a. throw my fork in the air and yell "brown cow, brown cow, blue duck, aaaaand knickers!"... simply to create an equivocally absurd situation to what was happening around me.
b. start yelling at the top of my lungs that the restaurant owner guy was the best lover I had ever had... and he ALWAYS treated me like a lady. And fed me falafel. in bed."

But the winner in the funny-bone sweepstakes is Burbanked, who gives us hilarious visual evidence of 'Sonny Crockett-Vision'! 'Angry Eagle' is my favorite ;)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'll tell the whole wide world...

Chris at Movie Marketing Madness got an IM from his pal Tom earlier:
[15:29] Tom: dude, miami vice looks madd good
[15:29] Tom: i had someone text me today FROM THE THEATRE about it

The world is now moving at the speed of the internet. Someone enjoyed a movie trailer, they texted a pal, who IMed his buddy, and the next thing you know that positive endorsement of Miami Vice is on the most influential movie marketing blog on the internet, within minutes.

Marketers are so concerned with creating 'buzz' for a product, yet they are missing the boat here. The key isn't creating buzz, it is giving the people that are ALREADY buzzed about your product, the ability to as quickly and seamlessly as possible, communicate their feelings about your product to others.

Your job isn't to grow your community, your job in a Marketing 2.0 world is to EMBRACE and EMPOWER your community to market FOR you. Identify the community members that WANT to spread the word about your product and brand, and give them all the tools they could possibly need to spread your message.

The days of marketing TO your community are over. Your only choice now is to embrace the community as your marketing partner and market WITH them.

Another Top 25er added to Daily Fix

John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing has joined Daily Fix, and here's his first post there. John is obviously one of the most respected marketing minds in the blogosphere, and as with the other distinguished writers, it's an honor to be contributing for the same blog with them. Ann is doing a helluva recruiting job!

That gets us up to writers from SIX of the Top 25 Marketing blogs now blogging for Daily Fix. If you count Tig Tillinghast's Media Buyer/Planner, which is #3 in BMA's Top 25 Advertising blogs, that gets us to 7 in the Top 25.


New post up at Daily Fix

Today at Daily Fix, I go in a completely different direction and tackle a new topic, my idea of '100 CDs for 100 bloggers'.

I'm going to keep blogging about this until one of three things happens:

1 - Someone from a label gives me a viable reason why they CAN'T do this (Not won't, can't).

2 - Everyone stops reading me.

3 - A label decides that 'You know...that would probably work, let's try it!'.

I'm hopeful that it will be #3, but as determined as the labels appear to be to stay away from anything that makes too much sense, it could be #2.

UPDATE: Michael at Tech Crunch says this today when considering television shows that can be downloaded on the internet: "Frankly, I look forward to the day that a show, ignored by the networks, first decides to launch itself on iTunes and go straight to consumers. The press around it would be overwhelming. The first to do it will have a big advantage."(My emphasis added)

The same dynamic would be at work here for the first label that decides it wants to give away music to bloggers. The positive buzz in the blogosphere would be overwhelming, and the first label to do this is going to win serious points with music fans, as will the artist/band.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing blogs - Week 5

Here's the standings for Week 5, and these will be updated again next Monday.

1 - Seth's Blog - 9,254 (LW - 1)(+399)
2 - Creating Passionate Users - 17,318 (LW - 3)(+78)
3 - Gaping Void - 18,225 (LW - 4)(+70)
4 - Duct Tape Marketing - 19,458 (LW - 5)(-561)
5 - Marketing Shift - 47,664 (LW - 6)(-449)
6 - HorsePigCow - 50,680 (LW - 7)(+829)
7 - Coolzor - 83,363 (LW - 10)(+8,544)
8 - Church of the Customer - 84,746 (LW - 9)(+4,149)
9 - What's Next - 88,024 (LW - 8)(+197)
10 - Brand Autopsy - 93,635 (LW - 11)(-1,739)
11 - Emergence Marketing - 112,473 (LW - 12)(+534)
12 - Jaffe Juice - 128,413 (LW - 13)(+5,319)
13 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 133,782 (LW - 14)(+961)
14 - Marketing Roadmaps - 145,211 (LW - 15)(-1,654)
15 - Diva Marketing - 157,367 (LW - 16)(-2,108)
16 - The Viral Garden - 165,193 (LW - 19)(+54,418)
17 - Marketing Headhunter - 183,500 (LW - 17)(+6,022)
18 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 184,996 (LW - 18)(+5,952)
19 - Marketing Begins At Home - 222,803 (LW - 20)(+1,897)
20 - FutureLab's Blog - 226,437 (LW - 25)(+52,991)
21 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 237,732 (LW- 22)(+14,709)
22 - B2Blog - 252,868 (LW - 24)(+6,511)
23 - Jack Yan - 273,000 (LW - 21)(-34,420)
24 - WonderBranding - 285,168 (LW - UR)
25 - Decker Marketing - 292,941 (LW - UR)

One of the first changes you'll note is that Guy Kawasaki's blog is no longer in the Top 25. As I said when I started the Top 25, the main criteria was that a significant portion of the blog's posts had to cover marketing. And I feel that Guy's content hasn't included much marketing discussion lately. I'm still a fan of his blog, and will continue to track it and may add it back in the future if he begins to focus more on marketing.

Also, if your blog deals with SEO, Google pageranks, and the like, it will only be listed here if it ALSO devotes a significant portion of the posts to marketing topics. I don't consider such blogs marketing blogs, but rather, SEO blogs.

As for this week, the big suprise continues to be the tear that Coolzor is on. The Belgian marketing blog jumps up 3 more notches this week. Church of the Customer and Jaffe Juice also had nice jumps. The Viral Garden had the biggest jump in Alexa rankings, and FutureLab's blog had the biggest jump in poll spots. Congrats to Michelle Miller for having WonderBranding finally break through to enter the Top 25 after spending the last 2 weeks just missing the cut. Decker Marketing also re-enters the Top 25 at #25.

Ageless Marketing and Movie Marketing Madness (never heard of it...) both had big weeks and just missed the Top 25. Don't be shocked if one or both aren't in the poll next week. Also, Own Your Brand, Michael Wagner's blog that suddenly has everyone talking, looked strong and could be a few weeks away from joining as well.

As always, next update is next Monday.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

That must be like 58 in blog-years....

I just realized something....yesterday was my 8-month blogging anniversary! I officially left my first blog post EVER, this one on BMA on September 20th, 2005. Here's a portion:
Marketing professionals everywhere can learn much from the massive giving that's coming in response to Katrina. If you have a product that people want, that they can clearly see the benefits of, and that fulfills a basic human need, it will sell itself.

What 'product' is being sold here? Hope. We all need some of that.

I quote myself to make a point: without a community, you're just talking to yourself. The funny/sad thing is, I think that's one of the best posts I've ever written, it was concerning the massive donations that were made in the wake of the destruction left behind by Katrina. But since we had just started, BMA had no community yet, and no one saw it.

That's ok, we would later get that community in place and then I could regail the masses with tales of The King incognito, and meeting Steve Rubel at McDonalds.

I make a point to frequently do a 'reverse-search' with Technorati through the marketing blogs, starting at the bottom of the 'link rankings'. Occasionally I will find a gem that's just started, like I did with Jordan and Ryan, I think I found both of them after they had just gotten rolling.

But so often I will find a blog that's apparently been abandoned. Usually the content is solid enough, but you can see there's no comments, there might even finally be a post from the blogger begging for comments, and usually that's the last post left, and it was 57 days ago.

Again, without the community, you're just talking to yourself.

So if I could give one piece of advice from someone that's learned the hard way, get off your blog. Don't listen to the people that will try to tell you that 'content is king', the COMMUNITY is king. There's tens of thousands of bloggers that start blogging every single day. Find them. Don't worry about the 'A-Listers', because most of them won't even notice you. Find the community, and join them. Go to their blogs and talk to them, and a shocking thing happens.....they follow you back to your blog and talk to you!

Just curious, what's the most important thing YOU have learned since you started blogging? Leave a comment...


I totally slipped on giving Nedra the link for her post on the Carnival of Marketing that I promised. Sorry about that.

And it seems that EVERYONE is talking about Michael's blog Own Your Brand lately. Ryan is(STOP tinkering Ryan, the new look is great!), Ann is, Olivier is, and now I is.

The above 2 links gets my list of 'daily' reads for blogs up close to 100. Sheesh.....but that's ok, the more the better....

UPDATE: Not really....just didn't want to make a seperate post just to point you to my latest post on Daily Fix.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

MSM and companies still trying to get a handle on blogs

Found this article from today's Calgary Sun, on how companies are getting their feet wet with blogs. Was pleased to see that one of my favorite bloggers, Tara Hunt, is quoted throughout, with this final quote being my favorite: "I'm trying to break marketing. I'm trying to make it less about outbound messages and more about building communities.".

Of course Miss Rogue is right on, and she's working for a startup that is smart enough to not only let her embrace the community, but bring the company INTO the community. But I fear that many companies will instead look to bloggers as a liason between them and the community. A 'buffer', if you will. Rather than let them bring the company into the community, they will want the blogger to 'put on a good face' for the community.

Some companies, especially smaller ones and startups, are smart enough to realize the importance of joining the community, and see how incredibly beneficial their blogging can be. For many though, I fear they will have to change their entire culture in order to integrate blogs into their marketing communication plans as a true tool to reach out to their community.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The blogging community takes their message to Nettwerk

Well as promised, both Jordan and Ryan attended Nettwerk's Music Marketing Seminar in Vancouver last night, and represented our community quite nicely. Both have posted their recaps, here's Jordan's, and here's Ryan's.

The event was aimed at giving up and coming artists information and feedback on how they can market themselves and their music. But I think our Canadian Dynamic Duo got their point across that there's definitely something to this wild and crazy blogosphere. Jordan details what happened when the boys took the microphone:
Question period came, and in tandem Ryan and I confronted the issue that Mack was most interested in. As I mentioned, it was geared toward musicians, so our questions were answered as if we were, which was a shame. Ryan's question was something to the effect of: "What kind of plan do you have for using blogs to spread the message?" What followed was an explanation about what a blog was, so I grilled them with the follow-up: "How have you as a label used blogging for promotion; have you focused any of your PR efforts on fan bloggers?" Sadly, I was instructed as to how I would go about doing such a thing, and not given the insider Nettwerk trade secrets. I didn't have the resolve to keep pushing and get into the specifics of 100 CDs for 100 bloggers; it just wasn't the right audience.

Overall, It was great to see a label reaching out to unsigned artists and helping them advance their fledgling careers. It serves as hard evidence that they are striving to reach out to fans and the community to create a conversation rather than "pushing music on them."
As I told Jordan, I think their attendance likely helped Nettwerk much more than it helped them. It appears that Nettwerk wasn't expecting bloggers to be in attendance at all, and from the above exchange, it's obvious that the bloggers were not only there, but brought their A-game with them. My bet is that Ryan and Jordan gave Erin and the gang plenty to think about when the dust settled from last night.

As Jordan adds in a comment: "The overall tone in terms of blogging was that they knew they were on to something, it just wasn't the prime focus as yet."

I think last night might have gone a long way toward changing their thinking, great job guys! As I said on BMA, if they decide to have a similar seminar at their Sync office in Nashville, JD and I will take over the cause! And Nettwerk deserves a big pat on the back for reaching out to aspiring musicians and to offer help and advice. It's just another example of how the label is doing a much better job of joining the community than their competitors.

UPDATE: Ryan has now posted an extended recap here. Love this quote from Carter Marshall: "you have to become close friends with your fan base, and allow them to do the work for you. In essence, you want to create a fan for life."

That sounds dangerously close to saying that you have to 'join the community'. And it completely validates everything Jeremy is doing with The Favorites on MySpace.

But the 'allow them to do the work for you' part is where the bloggers come in. Like I told Jordan, I think labels are hesitant to move toward using bloggers to promote their music, because they don't have any examples of anyone really doing it to review. Once a label decides to bite the bullet and see what happens, it will be all downhill.

And's a no-brainer. Pick 100 Sarah McLachlan fans that are also bloggers, and give them free CDs. You've just taken fans that WANT to promote Sarah, and have the TOOLS(their blogs) to promote Sarah, and brought them into your marketing plan. And the best part is, every blogger that blogs about getting a free Sarah CD will mean positive publicity for Sarah and Nettwerk aimed at EVERY person that reads EVERY one of those 100 blogs.

And that doesn't even consider the residual affect of links, the network of people that would ultimately be exposed to Sarah and Nettwerk from simply giving away 100 CDs could easily be ten of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands! Let's be honest, the FIRST label that does something as ballsy as giving away CDs to bloggers is going to get a TON of love from bloggers. Many bloggers will blog about this simply because it flies in the face of the 'money-grubbing' mentality that we all have of record labels.

Anyway I am just frustrates me because this is SUCH a lead-pipe lock to be a great promotion. Hells bells if an unknown winery can use bloggers to double their sales, I think a label such as Nettwerk could probably be successful with this.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Top 25 Marketing Blogs sidebar added

I've added a section on the sidebar that has the Top 25 Marketing Blogs poll for each of the first 4 weeks. I'll add each week's new poll in this space.

Thanks to Ann, there have been a ton of new visitors to the Garden this week, and many of you have been checking out the Top 25 Marketing Blogs posts. I wanted to recap some of the basic criteria for this list:

- I use Alexa's traffic rankings to rank the blogs. So if your Alexa ranking is 400,000, and the #25 blog is 267,432, then you missed the cut.
- If you have a blog piggybacked on a website that Alexa can't distinguish from the website, I can't rank you, because Alexa is viewing the traffic from the website as being the BLOG'S traffic. Perfect example is Eric Kintz's blog for Hewlitt Packard. A great blog, but unfortunately Alexa sees it as a webpage on, so it gives the blog an Alexa traffic ranking of 102, which is the same as's.
- Your blog has to have a significant portion of its content devoted to covering marketing commentary and opinion. Yes this rule is a bit subjective, but this is to weed out blogs that are really Advertising or PR-related, but post the occasional marketing post.
- The list is updated every Monday. Occasionally, Alexa will be a pain and will go for longer than a week without updating it's traffic scores. This has already happened once. If this happens, I will still do an update, as I usually find at least one new marketing blog to put in the Top 25 every week.
- Blogs that cover only marketing news stories with little or no commentary/opinion, won't be included. Unlike most advertising blogs(AdRants, AdFreak), most marketing blogs lean more toward marketing theory/discussion/opinion, as you can see from reading the blogs on the Top 25 list. Again, this can be a bit subjective, but the key is if you are putting some effort to put your ORIGINAL thoughts and opinions behind a marketing news story, then that's fine.

That's it, clear as mud now, right? ;)

This is how it starts...

Is the idea of using bloggers to promote music beginning to gain some traction? After reading my post about Jewel's MySpace promotion(just checked, she still hasn't read my message to her about it), David added this:
Blogs are better marketing tools than sites like MySpace because bloggers are more influential. you agree? My point wasn't so much that Jewel should ditch MySpace(she shouldn't, but then again, she shouldn't concentrate her promotional efforts there, as that's not where HER target market is) and go after blogs, just that her MySpace poster promotion was really a waste of everyone's time, including her's. In that case, the '100 CDs to 100 bloggers' idea would definitely be a better idea.

I think like anything else, it depends on the execution. We can try to prop up blogs as being better marketing tools than social-networking sites like MySpace, but on the flipside, it's hard to deny the effectiveness of MySpace to promote a band WHEN USED PROPERLY, as Jeremy and his band The Favorites are doing.

So let's try a different approach, check out the MySpace page for Shaye(and yes, there's a Nettwerk connection here, bandmember Tara MacLean is a client of Nettwerk Management). Currently they only have 128 profile views, but the page has only been up about a month.

So which do you think would work better for Shaye as a promotional tool:

1 - Adopting the 'make the community our friends' approach that Jeremy uses with The Favorites, via MySpace?
2 - Using bloggers to promote their music.

Also, keep in mind that the members of Shaye have all had solo careers prior. So there is a community of fans already there, granted it's not as big as a mainstream band/artist, but there nonetheless.

Personally, I think if Shaye could identify 50-100 bloggers from their fan forums/lists/website, whatever, if they could get their music in the hands of bloggers that are also Shaye fans, that would be more effective in this case for building buzz for the band. Because as David states, bloggers are, for better or worse, influential.

The idea is, let the group's core fanbase push their promotion, which will eventually spill over to cover new listeners, such as those that read their blogs, or find them on MySpace. Since you will be appealing to bloggers that are ALSO fans of Shaye, they have a vested interest in promoting the band. In Jeremy's case, he is using MySpace to BUILD that community of fans for The Favorites, and doing a great job of it. Shaye already has its core community of fans in place, they just need to find a way to appeal to and grow them.

That's which way I would go if I were handling Shaye's marketing, what about you?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Viral green with marketing envy

I am still ticked that I will miss Nettwerk's Music Marketing Seminar tomorrow in Vancouver, but it seems that my 2 favorite Canadians, Ryan and Jordan will indeed be in attendance and representing the blogosphere quite nicely.

Hopefully they'll show Jordan how to pimp his MySpace page(so he can then tell me), talk to Ryan about locking up their artists in a cross-promotion with Boston Pizza (hey why not?), and finally, agree to be the first label to execute an online marketing promotion for their artists using bloggers.

C'mon Nettwerk you know you want to. And I personally guarantee that at least 2 of the Top 25 Marketing Blogs will do all they can to help them. ;)

UPDATE: Ryan mentions on his blog that he'll be blogging about the seminar when he gets back. He adds "I'm sure Mack (along with many others) will be eager to learn what Erin and Terry have to say about the long term plans for the industry from a marketing perspective.".

Damned skippy! We're talking marketing theories here, these are the people that are putting those theories to work in the marketing reality that is the 'real world'.

Creating the viral community

When I first started writing for BMA, I literally had no exposure to blogs before that. In a way I think that was a good thing, because we had no idea what the rules for blogging were, so we made our own.

But one thing I wrestled with early on, was how do we differentiate BMA from the other million advertising/marketing blogs out there? After a while, we started seeing more and more comments, and not just comments but INTELLIGENT comments, insight from our readers that was frequently more interesting than what we were writing.

That's when I realized that the goal wasn't to create a great blog, it was to create a vibrant community. We were lucky enough to have regular readers that were giving excellent feedback on our posts, and we had to reward that.

So I made a point on BMA to frequently update our readers on who our frequent commenters were, and what their blogs were. I was VERY proud to say that all I had to do was mention the names Andrea, Jordan, JD, Ryan, Chris, and Jaynie, on BMA and everyone not only knew who I was talking about, but which blogs they owned.

Embracing the community at BMA worked wonders, and honestly the community made us a much better blog than we had any right to be. I've tried to do that here as well, and thankfully, most of our regular readers/commenters from BMA have been kind enough to make the trip over here to the Garden.

However, there are a few bloggers that have been kind enough to comment here as well, and I wanted to make special mention of them as well. When you click on their names, that will send you to their blogs. Please make sure to check them all out, these people have their own blogs to run, and they were kind enough to take time away from their's to come here, and I really appreciate that.

Eric Kintz - The Marketing Excellence Blog
Jack Yan - The Persuader Blog
Clyde Smith - Hip-Hop Marketing
Toby Bloomberg - The Diva Marketing Blog
Stefan - FutureLab's Blog

And finally, and this is a big one, I want to really say a big THANK YOU to everyone at Daily Fix. I am honestly suprised at how friendly everyone has been there, as several contributors have personally welcomed me into the fold. Initially, I was of course thrilled at the thought of appearing alongside a literal whos-who of marketing experts, but the sense of community there was totally unexpected. Daily Fix has put into play many of the community aspects that I tried to create at BMA, and replicate here at the Garden.

And that begins and ends with Ann Handley. One of the things I always tell people that ask me about how to grow a blog is that you HAVE to leave your blog and GET INVOLVED in the community! I don't have to tell many of you that Ann does this, because just in scanning my favorite blogs this morning, I've already seen several posts that Ann has left comments on, on several different blogs. Ann truly has a passion to see Daily Fix grow and to watch the community there continue to blossom, and admittedly her passion is incredibly infectious! As an added bonus, she's a great writer, and funny as hell!

To close, here are the blogs from the contributors at DF. What I did was read everyone's bios at DF, and got the links to everyone's blogs there. If any of you know of any blogs that I do not have listed from any contributors, PLEASE either email me, or better yet add a comment, and I will add the link to the post.

Andrea Learned - Learned on Women
BL Ochman - What's Next
David Armano - Logic + Emotion
Eric Frenchman - Pardon My French
Eric Kintz - The Marketing Excellence Blog
Harry Joiner - The Marketing Headhunter
Jim Kukral - 99 Ways to Blog
Karl Long - Customer Experience Strategy, Customers on Fire - Microbrands and Micromarketing
Laurel Delaney - Border Buster
Leigh Duncan - Experience Architech Weblog
Mark Vanderbeeken - Putting People First
Seth Godin - Seth's Blog
Tig Tillinghast - Media Buyer Planner, Marketing Vox

Whew! Guess that's it, like I said if I missed anyone, let me know and I'll add them. And please guys check everyone out that I linked to above, especially for the many new visitors that are coming here for the first time this week, welcome!

Nothing excites your community more than a meaningless promotion

As I posted about last week I recently joined MySpace, and added several musical artists as friends. One feature I do like is that when you add a user as a 'friend', they have the ability to send you bulletins. For musical artists, this normally means they will post bulletins alerting you to their upcoming media appearances, or perhaps a new promotion they are running.

Last Friday, the following bulletin arrived on my page from Jewel:
Date: May 12, 2006 1:53 PM

We are giving away 8 GOODBYE ALICE IN WONDERLAND Jewel posters to 8 lucky fans! To enter, Put Jewel in your Top 8 and send a message to her myspace inbox by 12 PM EST on Monday! Please put 'JEWEL POSTER' as the subject along with your name and COMPLETE mailing address. One winner will be selected by random from all eligible entries at 12 PM EST Monday! A few lucky winners will also get to be featured in her top 8!

Feeling totally uninspired by this 'promotion', I fired off the following reply:
To whoever is reading these from Jewel's camp:

Instead of offering $2 posters(eight!), why not give away 100 copies of GAIW to 100 bloggers? And as an added bonus, when those CDs arrive to those 100 bloggers, have them all be SIGNED and INSCRIBED to the person.

How much positive publicity to you think that move would get Jewel and GAIW in the blogosphere? A ton and a half.

How much positive publicity do you think giving away 8 $2 posters is going to get Jewel? Most if not ALL of the people that will go to the trouble to apply for the poster, already have Jewel in their Top 8 anyway.

Which move, giving away 100 signed copies of GAIW to 100 bloggers, or giving away 8 $2 posters on MySpace, is going to generate more publicity for Jewel and GAIW...and ultimately more sales of GAIW?

We both know which will cost more, giving away 100 CDs. It will also require Jewel to set aside 10 mins or so to sign them.

But it, unlike giving away 8 posters, will lead to sales.

Isn't that the name of the marketing game here?

Everyone will be SHOCKED to note that my above email still sits in Jewel's box 6 days later, unread.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Trust can remove the need for marketing

If ever there was an example of why you need to read a blog's comments, check out this gem I found on HorsePigCow in reply to one of Tara's posts:
J. Botter said...

I constantly get messages and calls from other bands, wondering how we've been able to successfully "market" the band to a huge audience, score 3,000 downloads of our new EP, and have a MySpace audience that ranges all ages across the entire world.

The truth is, we're not marketing. When we first started doing this thing and were making decisions about how we wanted to get our music out there, I knew that we wanted to use alternative distribution methods. Yes, we want to get a record deal, but the record deal is not the be-all-end-all for us.

Instead of "marketing" to "fans", we just stayed in contact and tried to turn each listener into a friend, a friend that could then join our little community and give us feedback on our music. We created a band policy to personally respond to each email and MySpace message that is sent to us, no matter how many we recieve per day and no matter how childish the message may be. My view is that if we listen to the community, then we can better understand what our community as a whole likes to hear, what they like to see, and then we can tailor ourselves to that a little bit. It's not about creating more fans or holding market shares; it's about a love of music and a connection via that love of music with people who will support you no matter what the cost.

We started doing the community thing about six months ago, and the "results" have been fabulous. We've yet to play a single show under our new band name and haven't played a show together at all in almost five years, but we're still on the top ten of unsigned artists every single day on MySpace. I truly believe it's because we've applied these Pinko techniques that you talk about so much; the band is living proof that creating a community is so much better than treating people like you're above them just because you play in a band that they happen to enjoy.

Almost by default, musicians are members of the same community that their music is sold to. And as Jeremy says above, it's about sharing a love and passion for the same music. Practically every artist and their fans have this bond.

Think of how rare this connection is in other businesses. How many companies can you think of that have customers that are as devoted to their products as the company itself is? Apple with the iPod comes to mind, maybe Harley Davidson, but the examples are few and far between.

This is why music marketing has always intrigued me, because really there is a totally different dynamic at work than with 'conventional' marketing in a 'conventional' marketplace. Musicians being in the same community with their fans changes everything. Both parties share a passion for the artist's music. A connection is made and trust is developed. Trust greatly lessens and can even eliminate the need for marketing. Trust happens in a place where there is communication, which leads to understanding. That place is the community.

But first you have to create that community. Jeremy and his band are well on their way to doing this, and as you can see above, the community is embracing what they are building.

Jeremy's band is called The Favorites, and here's their MySpace page. You can download their entire debut CD for free between now and June 1, there's info on how to do this at their website.

Pic via MetLinkMelbourne

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing blogs - Week 4

Here's the standings for Week 4, and these will be updated again next Monday.

1 - Seth's Blog - 9,653 (LW - 1)(+502)
2 - Guy Kawasaki - 12,475 (LW - 2)(+573)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 17,396 (LW - 3)(+1,049)
4 - Gaping Void - 18,295 (LW - 4)(+261)
5 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18,987 (LW - 5)(-330)
6 - Marketing Shift - 47,215 (LW - 6)(+165)
7 - HorsePigCow - 51,509 (LW - 7)(+401)
8 - What's Next - 88,221 (LW - 9)(+2,059)
9 - Church of the Customer - 88,895 (LW - 8)(+261)
10 - Coolzor - 91,107 (LW - 11)(+1,550)
11 - Brand Autopsy - 91,896 (LW - 10)(-1,293)
12 - Emergence Marketing - 113,007 (LW - 12)(+433)
13 - Jaffe Juice - 133,732 (LW - 13)(+2,162)
14 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 134,743 (LW - 14)(+2,290)
15 - Marketing Roadmaps - 143,557 (LW - 15)(+1,009)
16 - Diva Marketing - 155,259 (LW - 16)(+8,951)
17 - Marketing Headhunter - 189,522 (LW - 18)(+7,687)
18 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 190,948 (LW - 17)(-4,859)
19 - The Viral Garden - 219,611 (LW - 24)(+32,888)
20 - Marketing Begins At Home - 224,700 (LW - 21)(+16,980)
21 - Jack Yan - 238,580 (LW - 19)(-24,305)
22 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 252,441 (LW- 23)(+2,199)
23 - Johnnie Moore's Weblog - 256,588 (LW - 20)(-14,908)
24 - B2Blog - 259,379 (LW - 22)(-16,642)
25 - FutureLab's Blog - 279,428 (LW - UR)

Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users had another strong week, will be interesting to see if she can pull away from Gaping Void and Duct Tape Marketing, or if John and Hugh can keep the pace. Coolzor has been quietly moving up, and this week cracks the Top 10. Diva Marketing had a nice rebound week, and Marketing Headhunter has another big move. The Viral Garden has the week's biggest jump, and FutureLab's Blog is the week's new entry at #25. The 'Hard Luck' award has to go to Michelle Miller's WonderBranding blog, which was #26 for the 2nd week in a row.

And a shameless plug for my new gig at MarketingProfs, writers from 5 of the Top 25 Marketing blogs are now writing for Daily Fix, so it must be good stuff ;)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Template tinkering

I'm still playing around with the layout of the Garden, as you can see. If you haven't noticed, I've added an 'Email me' link on the sidebar to the right. If you need to get in touch with me, just click there and fire off an email to me.

Also, I added a 'Marketing With the Community By Joining Them' section as well. This is a 4-part series of posts that I wrote during the week before the blog actually went 'live', at the end of March. At the time, my thinking was get plenty of content up on the blog before I 'announced' it on BMA, so that everyone would come flooding over here from the link at BMA. Well that didn't happen, and as a result, most readers likely missed what is probably some of the best stuff I've written here so far (I think). So I made a special section with all 4 parts right there for you nice and neat ;)

That's it for now. I will continue tinkering, I'm going to get up a section for the Top 25 list, with each weeks' post there, and once I get that squared away, I will add each new week's poll there. If you have any other suggestions for how I could change the format, let me know.

Friday, May 12, 2006

If you don't want to join the community....

...for the love of Tuesday don't piss-off the community!

Jason says that Joystiq, the wildly popular video-game blog/website, was BANNED by Konami at their E3 press conference, because Joystiq posted some pre-show pictures, and refused to take them down.

Love these quotes from Jason:
These simple minded PR idiots had better get their houses in order. You can't tell our bloggers what to do--I can't even tell them what to do!

My best advice: Be honest and fair with our bloggers because they are always honest and fair with you. This heavy-handed banning of bloggers makes you look like idiots. Bloggers are you customers... everyone who works at Joystiq is huge video game fan--they're not there as journalists, they are at e3 because they love gaming.

Want the punchline? Since we're all getting hip to the Alexa rankings.... - 34408 - 4464

That's right! An industry website, run by video-game fans and FOR video-game fans, that gets TEN TIMES Konami's traffic, tried to attend their PC and got thrown out.

Amazing how companies will spend boatloads of money on advertising and marketing their products, and one PR blunder like this flushes it all down the drain.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gonna be in Vancouver next Thurs?

Crap, crap, crap...
MARKETING IN MUSIC - A Nettwerk Speakers Series
Thursday May 18th 6-8pm

The SYNC @ Nettwerk Music Group
1648 West 2nd Ave Vancouver


Join us for the third installment in our educational speakers series, this time focusing on Marketing In Music. Be involved as Nettwerk professionals discuss:

* developing media plans
* considerations when marketing your music
* digital delivery of music
* finding money to market yourself

Panelists (bios can be found @
Erin Kinghorn
Richard Adams
Chantal Olsson
Carter Marshall
Craig Horton (Moderator)

Wish I could go, Jordan or Ryan, one or both of you definitely need to live-blog this ;) If you go, tell Erin they need to do the next one in their Nashville office.

Barely in the game and already causing a stink

Seems like my first post on Marketing Profs: Daily Fix, is already causing a stir. My post was about how marketers need to learn to join the community they are targetting, and I used Phil Angelides creating a MySpace page to aid in his quest to be elected governor of California as my example. I offered that Angelides joining MySpace was a great move, because he is now connecting to the young voters of his state in THEIR space. He's joined their community, and as a result they are responding very positively, at least if you read the comments from his 1200+ friends. seems not everyone is buying what I am selling. Which is great, because I *love* it when people smarter than I am challenge me to re-think and justify my opinions. ( A lesson Tara found out the hard way after I left a few 5-page comments on HorsePigCow ;))

Since we have some new, and veteran MySpacers here, thought JD, Jordan, and Chris might want to stop by and put in your 2 cents here.

Marketing bloggers care more than advertising bloggers?

I thought this was interesting: As everyone knows, I've been doing the Top 25 Marketing blogs list here for 3 weeks, but I've also been doing a Top 25 Advertising blogs list for BMA during those same 3 weeks.

Last night TVG had a visitor that found this blog by doing a Google search for 'Top 25 marketing blogs'. Of course that simply blew my mind, so I decided to Google 'Top 25 blogs'. Here's the results, as you can see, the first Top 25 marketing blogs list I did last month is the #4 result.

But the list I did of advertising blogs for BMA was no where to be found. I stopped looking when I reached page 15 of the search results and still hadn't seen it.(Did see several links to the Top 25 Marketing Blogs list from other blogs, thanks guys!).

Again, when I decided to do the lists, they were really just a fun thing for me to do every week. I was hoping a couple of the bloggers that I linked to would check TVG and BMA out from the list, but really they were done for my benefit. Of course I had no idea they would be so popular here. But the fact that they are popular here, but almost go unnoticed at BMA, a blog that currently gets 10X the traffic TVG does, is perplexing. So far the 3 Top 25 lists I have done for BMA have garnered a combined 4 comments (2 from me), while here the 3 Top 25 lists have so far gotten a combined 27 comments.

Very odd. Anyone have a possible explanation?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

And then there were 3...

If you'll check the sidebar, you'll see I've added a new section 'Other Places You Can Find Me'. I've added BMA, my MySpace page, and my newest home, MarketingProfs: Daily Fix. I'm pretty sure that everyone here is familiar with the MarketingProfs website, well recently they added a blog. The contributor list reads like a who's who of top marketers and business minds. Ann Handley, Seth Godin, Eric Kintz, Tom Peters, Harry Joiner, Tig Tillinghast, every one of them are TRUE A-Listers.

So when Ann offered me the chance to join this illustrious group, I accepted immediately before she could change her mind ;) You can view my first post here.

To say I am honored somehow doesn't cover it.

Thanks again to Ann for this opportunity. Please add Daily Fix to your daily reads, if you haven't already!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Alexa, the Top 25, and what the hell's the deal anyway?

This is what happens when you assume. A big reason why I wanted to do the Top 25 ranking for Marketing blogs here (and Advertising blogs at BMA), is because I assumed that most bloggers were familiar with Alexa, and their traffic rankings according to Alexa.

Seems that's not the case.

So for anyone that I have tee-totally confused with this Top 25 rankings, let me back up and give a poor-man's primer on how Alexa determines your traffic-ranking.

First, Alexa uses your 'actual traffic', as well as your page views in some secret formula to determine your traffic ranking. This is different, and IMO more accurate, than link aggregators such as Technorati, because it does attempt to measure actual traffic. All Technorati does is count links, and anyone can pass around links.

Now for the 'bad' news. Alexa only tracks the traffic of your blog's visitors that have the 'Alexa toolbar' installed, and this toolbar only works currently with Internet Explorer. So if someone visits your blog and doesn't have the toolbar, then they aren't counted. Likewise, if you add the toolbar, every visit you make to every blog/website is now counted.

Disclaimer: I do have the Alexa Toolbar installed on IE, but I use Firefox for my browsing. I do use the toolbar when I want to see what a blog's Alexa rankings are, because it instantly gives you that ranking when you visit the site. The Firefox extension I have that gives the Alexa ranking sometimes lags.

So in the end, Alexa isn't perfect, but I do think it's more reliable than Technorati. If there's something else you don't understand about Alexa, leave a comment here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another MySpace confessional

Jordan and Chris coming forward to admit their MySpace pages has given me the courage to do the same. Actually I created a page a couple of months ago, but never really did anything with it till this weekend.

I was busy tinkering with it, and remembering the Women of Rock: MySpace Smackdown! post I did, I decided to send friend requests to The Donnas, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis, Jewel, Avril, and Tori Amos to see how quickly they would respond.

The Donnas easily won the Smackdown for best MySpace page, and they were the winners here, they answered my request and added me in less than 30 minutes(the first time I checked was 30 mins after sending the requests, and The Donnas had already added me). Sarah added me 30 mins later, Avril added me after about 6 hours, and Jewel did so after about 9 hours. Alanis has apparently closed her page, making Tori, who I am still waiting on, the default last-place finisher.

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing blogs - Week 3

Another week, another update! Alexa co-operated this week and actually updated everyone's rankings, so we'll get a much better sense of how the blogs are moving. The 'LW' in parentheses refers to the blog's ranking in Last Week's Top 25, and in the parentheses after that, the number refers to how many spots up or down the blog moved in Alexa's rankings.

So here's the standings for Week 3, and these will be updated again next Monday.

1 - Seth's Blog - 10,155 (LW - 1)(+863)
2 - Guy Kawasaki - 13,048 (LW - 2)(+1,745)
3 - Creating Passionate Users - 18,445 (LW - 5)(+3,642)
4 - Gaping Void - 18,556 (LW - 3)(-497)
5 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18,657 (LW - 4)(-95)
6 - Marketing Shift - 47,380 (LW - 6)(+6,436)
7 - HorsePigCow - 51,910 (LW - 7)(+2,076)
8 - Church of the Customer - 89,156 (LW - 9)(-1,471)
9 - What's Next - 90,280 (LW - 10)(-22)
10 - Brand Autopsy - 90,603 (LW - 8)(-5,218)
11 - Coolzor - 92,657 (LW - 11)(+15,369)
12 - Emergence Marketing - 113,440 (LW - 12)(+5,333)
13 - Jaffe Juice - 135,894 (LW - 13)(-9,215)
14 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 137,033 (LW - 15)(+10,486)
15 - Marketing Roadmaps - 144,566 (LW - 14)(-7,056)
16 - Diva Marketing - 164,210 (LW - 16)(-11,185)
17 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 186,089 (LW - 19)(-2,210)
18 - Marketing Headhunter - 197,209 (LW - 23)(+77,397)
19 - Jack Yan - 214,275 (LW - 17)(-51,032)
20 - Johnnie Moore's Weblog - 241,504 (LW - 18)(-76,217)
21 - Marketing Begins At Home - 241,680 (LW - 20)(+17,334)
22 - B2Blog - 242,737 (LW-UR)
23 - Pro Hip-Hip - Hip-Hop Marketing - 252,441 (LW- UR)
24 - The Viral Garden - 252,499 (LW - UR)
25 - The Origin of Brands - 284,432 (LW - 24)(-2,382)

The Top 5 continues to enjoy solid separation from the rest of the pack. Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users had a huge week, polevaulting into the Top 3. Marketing Headhunter easily had the biggest gain of the week, jumping 3 spots in the poll, and 77,397 spots in Alexa's rankings. Pro Hip-Hop, B2Blog and The Viral Garden were the week's 3 new entries.

If your blog fell out of the Top 25, don't worry, I will keep tracking it, and if its Alexa ranking rises enough, I will put it back in the rankings. Have a blog you want me to check out for the list? Keep emailing me or leaving comments, I will give all of them a look.

Next update is next Monday!

This is why companies should blog

Recently, BL wrote a post about companies that are 'hiding' their blogs, and one of the companies she mentioned was that HP was 'hiding' the fact that Eric Kintz is blogging. She adds: "My guess is that lawyers or PR departments are a more than a little nervous about this whole new media, "listen to your customers" thing, so they said "Well, ok, we can try it, but don't make the damn blog too easy to find."".

If HP is trying to hide the fact that Eric blogs, apparently Eric never got the memo. In fact, I had no idea that Eric was blogging until he came here and left a comment giving his blog addy. Since then I've seen him commenting on other blogs, including the nice write-up that Toby did recently on HP's blogging efforts.

So if Eric WAS hiding, he would have likely never read about BL's claims that he was 'hiding', but he found her post on the Marketing Profs blog, where she reposted a post she had made on WhatsNext.

But by joining the community, Eric is in a position to point out to BL that he's quite active on other blogs, as well as mention when other bloggers write about HP's blogging efforts.

If Eric was hiding, he would have no idea what BL or any other blogger was saying about him. Instead, he can not only address their concerns, but point them to examples of his involvement in the blogging community.

Is there a point to be made that HP needs to make it easier to find their blogs on HP's landing page? Yep and it's my guess that Eric will mention this to the right people at HP. But it's hard to claim that Eric is 'hiding' when he is going out to other blogs and actively attempting to engage with bloggers on their turf.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A graph tells a thousand words

This is an Alexa graph representing radio station WFMU's traffic since late 2001.(Click on the '5Y' tab)

Question: By looking at the graph, can anyone guess when WFMU added a blog to their website?

Answer: December 28, 2004. As you can see from the graph, the radio station's traffic starts a nice upward arch right at the end of 2004.

I was going through my browser bookmarks, and decided to visit the website for a radio station I had marked years ago. I checked it out, saw a mish-mash of flashing banner ads, pics of artists, and ads for upcoming concerts, and immediately wondered why this station had no blog? How hard would it be to get a couple of interns to post some music/celeb related gossip/news/gossip, and live-blog the station's concerts? I figured that adding a blog to this, or any radio station's website would likely be a boon for traffic, and the graph above proves this point.

If Alexa's graph is accurate, WFMU effectively quadrupled their website traffic by adding a blog. Is there anyone that works in radio that can give me an idea of what type of affect a 4X increase in traffic would have on a station's ad rates? (JD?)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The end is the beginning is the end

I'll be out of town tomorrow, so I wanted to leave everyone with some stories/posts that caught my eye...

Toby has a great recap of HP's blogging initiative, and also talks to Eric Kintz, who has already been kind enough to comment here. Susan was kind enough to tell us about HP's live-blogging of the Sundance Film Festival back in January. Good to see companies like HP taking the lead in embracing the blogosphere.

After taking a few weeks to settle into his new Regional Marketing Manager position with Canada's Boston Pizza, Ryan is back in the saddle at Ashton Media. Add AM to your bloglines feeds and you'll thank me for it later.

Love this story of what happened when the city of Austin embraced its musical community. The city works with local venues and musicians to make the live music scene as vibrant as possible. The results of the city working with their community of musicians has resulted in the music scene pumping over $600 million a year into Austin's economy, and feeding the city another $11 million in taxes. Here's another more detailed account of what the city does to cater to the musical community. Amazing things happen when you market WITH your community, not TO them. Makes you wonder why other companies/people/cities can't figure this out.

The always interesting Andrea writes about the 'Online Disinhibition Effect'. I think she's onto something here.

Chris, as usual, has way too much cool stuff to comment on. But I did want to point out his post on how the director of the movie Stick It turned to MySpace to build buzz for the movie, mainly because Disney was giving her little traditional marketing support. This was a perfect way to appeal to the movie's core target community of teenage girls.

UPDATE: I posted too soon, just came across Clyde's recap of several examples of marketing successes with MySpace on his blog ProHipHop - Hip Hop Marketing. Clyde also mentions MC Lars, who I blogged about as part of the Nettwerk/RIAA file-sharing flap on BMA last month.

Do you know who your community is?

Some quotes concerning Ford's new 'Bold Moves' marketing campaign:

"The strategy targets values, attitudes and emotion rather than age and other demographics, and it features conventional media as well as the Internet." - Modbee

"It happens every day. Someone, somewhere makes a bold move. There's a car company for people like that. Ford" - Ford's new 'Bold Moves' spot

"The focus here, across the board, is on this customer that we feel is really the target customer for Ford," Dan Bedore, a Ford spokesperson, told ClickZ. "It's not just a demographic. It's more of a mindset and lifestyle." - ClickZ

"Key elements of the Bold Moves launch include:

* The Bold Moves Anthem - Bold Moves debuts in a 60-second commercial on "American Idol" featuring people in real life situations that require a bold move. The scenes range from a teenager getting his driver's license to a woman with breast cancer entering the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure® - a cause Ford has long supported. The song "Go," newly-recorded by two-time Grammy®-winning RCA Records recording artist Kelly Clarkson, provides the musical backdrop.

* Bold Product Commercials - Throughout the year, Ford will use high profile television properties, including "American Idol" (FOX), NASCAR Nextel Cup racing (FOX and NBC), "Monday Night Football" (ESPN) and the "Bowl Championship Series" (ABC), to air 30- and 60-second commercials for individual products ranging from the Ford Escape to the Ford Fusion that all will feature customers making bold moves in their lives. These will be integrated with print and digital executions.

* Kelly Clarkson Summer Tour - Ford will be the exclusive automotive sponsor of Clarkson's 24-city summer concert tour, which begins in West Palm Beach, Fla., on June 30. At each stop on the tour, a fan will win a new Ford.

* Warriors in Pink - Ford has long supported the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure, which benefits breast cancer research, and plans to step up support to increase visibility of the cause. For example, a portion of tickets sold for Kelly Clarkson's summer concert tour will be donated to Ford's Warriors in Pink effort supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure." - Ford's Press Release

"In conjunction with the debut of the TV spot, Ford is re-launching its Web presence to reflect the "Bold Moves" messaging. To drive traffic to the site, the company will place roadblocks, beginning May 4, on AOL, Yahoo! and MSN." - ClickZ

Hmmmmm........2 questions:

1 - Who is Ford's target community here? From what I can tell, it is 'anyone that is bold, living a bold lifestyle'.
2 - How is sponsoring Kelly Clarkson's concert series, and buying a buncha TV ads and roadblocking on such mainstream sites as AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!, a 'bold move'?

My guess is that Ford is going after Gen Yers and Gen Xers, but doesn't want to 'label' them via demographics because they are 'dehumanizing'. So instead of 18-34, they say they are targetting a 'lifestyle'.

Ok fine, then tell the people living that lifestyle how owning a Ford will benefit them. Don't throw wads of cash at AI spots, give them the ability to get more enjoyment out of their lifestyle. Why buy ads on AOL, Yahoo! and MSN, when you should be going after partnerships with iTunes, YouTube, and MySpace?

The problem is, Ford seems to be targetting a specific community, while giving them no real reason to buy their product. This is why you have to join the community you are targetting. If Ford had, they would know what features the 'bold lifestyle' looks for in a vehicle, and they would be offering them. They would understand how to COMPLIMENT the person's lifestyle, instead of attempting to dominate it.

As it is, I have no idea who the 'bold lifestyle' includes (anyone that can be bold?), and I doubt Ford does either.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Still scared about joining the community?

Then check out this quote from the movie marketing master, Chris Thilk:
"...ceding control can be a good thing, when it's part of an organized plan. It's scary, but trust me, it will be okay. Letting people talk about your content will actually help."

Read the entire column here. Here's another gem: "The use of content that's created for expressly promotional purposes on a viral video site is something marketers should embrace and encourage."

You ARE reading Chris everyday on MMM, right?

But what if your passion WAS the community?

I was shuffling through my MP3s earlier and Sarah McLachlan's song World on Fire started playing. Hopefully when I mention 'World on Fire', your first response is 'Ah yes, great video!'. If you've never seen the video, please stop reading this post and click on the image to right.

As I talked about back in February, this is simply brilliant marketing. If you've never seen the video, Sarah took the $150,000 that was set aside for the shooting of the video(which is an absurdly low figure) for World on Fire, and spent only $15 of that amount on the video, for a video tape. Almost all of the remaining $149,985 was donated to 11 different charities, and the combined charitiable efforts bettered the lives of over a million people.

The video itself is amazing. Sarah shows what the normal expenses are for a video, and instead what she spent the money on. $200 that would normally go to a production assistant for a day, instead paid for a term's worth of schooling for 100 Ethiopian children. $480 is usually set aside for phones, but in this case the money went to equip 10 schoolhouses in Afghanistan. Nepal was given 5 bicycle ambulances, after Sarah donated the $1,150 that would normally go to filming equipment. Normally $3,000 would be spent on one day's worth of catering during the video shoot. This time, it fed 10,950 children in Calcutta. Here is a breakdown of exactly which charities received donations, and exactly what the money was spent on.

But why did she do this?

The inspiration for this video came from Sarah visiting the website for Engineers Without Borders, a Canadian company that tries to bring technology to poorer countries in an effort to help relieve their poverty. One of their workers, Mike Quinn, would post updates 'from the field', detailing the conditions and people he came in contact with. Here is a portion of one of his updates:
I visit a woman with a stunning smile every night to buy oranges. Her name is Christy Yaa and she never lets me pay for my oranges because she wants me to take them as a gift. She works everyday from 6am until 2pm as a cleaner, and then from 4pm until midnight selling oranges. She does this seven days a week. She is a single mother and every penny she earns goes towards putting her 20-year-old son through secondary school near her home village, far from Accra. When she saves enough money for a bus ticket, she'll travel to see him.

As an engineer in Canada I would have made more in a day than she does in a year.

And still, she does not let me pay for my oranges.

When you watched the video for World on Fire, you no doubt remember seeing a woman selling oranges. That was the same Christy Yaa.

A music video is simply a marketing tool. In almost every case, it is used to help promote the single, and ultimately the artist. And this is how Sarah used the video for World on Fire, as a promotional tool.

But she wasn't promoting herself, she was promoting others. She was not only promoting the plight of poor, the tired, and the sick, she was explaining how easily these people can be helped.

Sarah took the $150,000 that Arista had given her to create a great video for World on Fire, and instead she helped over a million people. And quite fittingly, Sarah got one of the most remarkable music videos ever created in the process.

The moral? When you make the community your passion, you get what you deserve.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Viral Garden's Top 25 Marketing Blogs - Week 2

Here's the first update to our weekly look at the Top 25 Marketing Blogs. Unfortunately, Alexa has decided to not update their rankings since the 20th of April, but since there was at least one marketing blog that I missed last week, we can still update the rankings.

The 'LW' in paratheses refers to the blog's ranking in Last Week's Top 25.

So here's the standings for Week 2, and these will be updated again next Monday.

1 - Seth's Blog - 11018 (LW - 1)
2 - Guy Kawasaki - 14793 (LW - 2)
3 - Gaping Void - 18059 (LW - 3)
4 - Duct Tape Marketing - 18562 (LW - 4)
5 - Creating Passionate Users - 22087 (LW - 5)
6 - Marketing Shift - 53816 (LW - 6)
7 - HorsePigCow - 53986 (LW - 7)
8 - Brand Autopsy - 85385 (LW - 8)
9 - Church of the Customer - 87685 (LW - 9)
10 - What's Next - 90302 (LW - 10)
11 - Coolzor - 108026 (LW - 11)
12 - Emergence Marketing - 118773 (LW - 12)
13 - Jaffe Juice - 126679 (LW - 13)
14 - Marketing Roadmaps - 137510 (LW - 14)
15 - Beyond Madison Avenue - 147519 (LW - 15)
16 - Diva Marketing - 153025 (LW - 16)
17 - Jack Yan - 163243 (LW - 17)
18 - Johnnie Moore's Weblog - 165287 (LW - 18)
19 - What's Your Brand Mantra - 183879 (LW - 19)
20 - Marketing Begins At Home - 259014 (LW - 20)
21 - Decker Marketing - 260171 (LW - 21)
22 - Being Reasonable - 268503 (LW - 22)
23 - Marketing Headhunter - 274606 (LW - UR)
24 - The Origin of Brands - 282050 (LW - 23)
25 - Crossroads Dispatches - 294041 (LW - 24)

If your blog fell out of the Top 25, don't worry, I will keep tracking it, and if its Alexa ranking rises enough, I will put it back in the rankings. And keep emailing me the links to your blogs, I'll keep tracking them as well.

Next update is next Monday!

Do you want to lead the parade, or get run over by the crowd?

If you've read BMA for any amount of time, you know that Jewel's music, and marketing, are frequent topics of mine. What I find so fascinating about both is that in the mid to late 90s, when Jewel's career was beginning to take off, both her music and her promotional efforts were exceptional. This story remains one of the best examples I have ever seen of a grassroots internet-based marketing campaign. And the fact that it happened in 1996 makes the event even more amazing.

But in recent years, it seems that Jewel's interaction and involvement with her EDAs(the mailing list members that Jewel worked with in 1996 to create and execute the Jewelstock concerts) has waned. Remembering that the release of her new CD, Goodbye To Alice in Wonderland was this Tuesday, I wanted to read the recent posts from the EDAs to see what their feelings were on the eve of the album's release. Here are some comments I found interesting:
Hey, I uploaded the Yahoo! performances onto Youtube so you all can put them o your blogs, Myspaces, and Friendsters. Let's promote this album; I think, all in all, it will be one of her best.
I know I mentioned this before, but I am so disappointed in the level
of promotion being one for this new album.
Since I haven't seen ANY and Jewelink hasn't had any missions, I made a banner. You can put it on websites or you're myspace or whatever. You can also use it as an image on certain message boards.
Actually JewelLink did send out a banner with some interactive code in mid-March to webmasters (Jewel online team), but I didn't bother adding it since it seemed like too much work at the time to get it running. Plus it had a corner of it dedicated to advertising other musical artists (looks like it would change periodically) and I didn't much care for that aspect of it. Must be others felt the same way since you said you haven't seen one anywhere.
I think there's a banner on myspace for people to use too. Though, I think they should have advertised that fact more. Also, where are the AOL Instant Messenger buddy icons?!
I just saw on iTunes that if you pre-order Jewel's CD before next Tuesday you will also receive the exclusive track "Satellite (Acoustic Live)".

The members also linked to several articles featuring Jewel, tour updates, television appearances, etc. It should be noted that these are truly 'hardcore' fans, some of which have been members of this mailing list for over a decade, no small feat, considering that Jewel's first album was released 11 years ago.

Notice that these fans are already doing Jewel's marketing for her. They are linking to every article/television appearance that they come across. They are uploading music videos to YouTube. They are lamenting the lack of good Jewel banners to add to their websites/blogs, and then CREATING ones to share with each other!

This is the perfect example of how a marketer's main function is to help a community get from point A to point B as effectively as possible.

The EDAs are huge fans of Jewel, so they are going to promote her new album. Jewel can either leave them alone and let them do the best they can, or she can give them the tools to reach their destination more effectively. As I said last month on BMA, I think it's about being smart enough to understand where the community is headed, and then clearing a path for them.

Also, many of the members of the mailing list had remarked that they had already heard most if not all of her album. Why not contact the mailing list owner and get the email addys for all the members, and email them asking for their address so Jewel can mail them a copy of the CD? And when it arrives, have them open the package to find the CD as promised, but SIGNED and INSCRIBED to the person? Why not give the list their own Jewel banner with an EDA logo? My guess is that these very simple acts of interaction with the community of Jewel's fans would result in an explosion of positive promotion for the artist. Promotion that would spread far beyond the boundaries of a simple mailing list.

If the community is doing your job for you, shouldn't you at least be smart enough to give them the tools to do so more effectively?