Monday, April 30, 2007

Which Conversation Are You Having?

I just wrapped up my 'chapter' for the e-book 'The Age of Conversation'. My chapter is entitled 'Breaking Marketing Barriers from the Top of a Harley'. In it, I talk about how many companies and their customers are speaking entirely different languages:
The problem is that in many cases there are two communities; the company, and its customers. Each community has its own wants and needs, and its own way of talking to each other. As a result, neither group really understands or trusts the other.

But when a company makes an effort to join its customers in its space, that barrier begins to fall. The ideas and language of the company begins to seep into the customers’ space. Likewise, the thoughts and opinions of the customers start to become understood by the company, and shape its marketing messages. Slowly, the line that divides a company from its customers begins to disappear.

But when you look at Harley-Davidson, both the company, and its community of customers, are talking in the same language. Both groups believe that 'Harley Riders Rock'.

How does a company reach the point where it understands and is speaking the same language as its customers? You'll have to buy the e-book to find out. And speaking of the e-book, here's the updated Who's Who list of its contributors:

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Mindblob (Luc)
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Bob Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Mitch Joel
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Krishna De
Kris Hoet
Kofl Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Pollinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
AJ James
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman

That's a damned stout list! Keep in mind that the e-book is being dedicated to the memory of Sandra Kerley (CK's mom), and all proceeds from the sale of the e-book will benefit Variety, the Children's Charity. Just think, you spend a little, you get great marketing advice, AND you get to help children around the world! Now THAT is a win-win situation! More background on Variety and its history can be found here.

UPDATE: David Armano gives a sneak-peek at his chapter for 'The Age of Conversation'.

Technorati Tags:
, ,


Anonymous said...

Mack, I really look forward to reading your chapter. The e-book is a great idea, and I'm tickled to be a part of it. My chapter is called "The Two-step of Conversational Writing." Can't wait till the whole project is completed!

Anonymous said...


I think the eBook is going to end up being a terrific resource for the online community and, hopefully, a good provider of revenue for the kids served by VarietyClubs.

Submitted my words over the weekend. The title: "Want to Make Organizational Change? Change the Conversation."

As I see all of the topics unfold, it's amazing how the word "conversation" can generate such a wide variety of topics.

Keep writing!

Robert Hruzek said...

Mack, this is gonna be great! I can't wait to see everyone else's contribution - as you say, it's quite a list!

My chapter is titled "Bridges" and talks about how the internet helps up bridge cross-cultural barriers in new ways.

Lookin' forward to seeing the finished product!

Tim Jackson said...

This thing is gonna be so amazing. I am really feeling like the ugly kid in the back of the class... that contributor list is amazing. What a great project too.

Anonymous said...

So you're talking about brands finding their consumers and enthusiasts by going to them as opposed to asking them to come closer. A very good topic, and one that brands are coming to understand more and more I think (I hope!).

In any case, I'm excited to co-author this book with you! Was so pumped to send in my chapter last night - it's called Face-to-Avatar.

Troy Worman said...

What an awesome roster. I can't wait to see the end product!

Anonymous said...

Mack - sounds great! Looking forward to reading the full chapter.

Anonymous said...

Mack, I hope our chapters are positioned close to each other, because as usual, what we write is very synergystic! My chapter is called "Conversations and the Customer Experience" and also talks about customer language; it complements yours nicely. :-)

It sure will be fun to see all the contributions!

Mack Collier said...

Thanks for the comments guys, I can't wait to see your entries either. It's going to be great to see different takes and applications for similar ideas revolving around The Age of Conversation.

Tim you've pegged the modesty meter yet again, your chapter is one of ones I'm looking forward to the most.

Becky I'm obviously trying to be cool like you ;)

Luc Debaisieux said...

Hi Mack,

Very interesting perspective. Agree... talking the same language, empathy and engagement are important keys of a constructive conversation between brands and their consumers.

Can't wait to read this eBook, really!

I think we are all going to be surprised by the over-crossing of thoughts from chapters to chapters. A unique and quite exciting communication experience.

Anonymous said...

l love the Harley story! Can't wait to read your entry!

Anonymous said...


"We" are definitely smarter together, and this eBook will show us the many ways. I see it more as a launching pad for deeper conversations and project than a final say on The Age of Conversation.

The final product will give me one more reason to learn more about the way everyone thinks -- and that is pure gold.

Anonymous said...

I guess I better write a quick post about my chapter: "Using the Tools of the Web to Build Relationships Online."

Looking forward to the ebook!

Anonymous said...

Mack, I could never compare to you. You rock! :-)