December 20, 2001

Gonzo Marketing Review from disinformation
A very thorough, well though-out, although critical review of Gonzo Marketing. This is the first review to say Locke didn't go far enough, that he doesn't discuss the long term implications thoroughly enough. Not sure if I agree yet or not:

"My problem with Locke's book is not just that I'm jealous he wrote it before I did, but because, in nit-picking True Believer style, I don't believe he goes far enough or considers the long-term implications of what he proposes. Gonzo Marketing hints at the transition currently under-way in marketing--a transition sparked by the Internet, and also by the glaring limits of current demographic/psychographic modelling tools--yet a transition that also requires a psychological shift by the marketeer beyond 1to1 models or living off the growth of alt.subcultures."
Eric Norlin
That bastard is going to Vail ... yes I am envious. That's it, I'm moving to Colorado. Sometime.

BTW, just noticed Eric got front page propson for comparing rap music to blogging. I never liked rap music. But I dig the comparison.
The Power of the First Person
Nick Usborne birngs up one of the best points I've heard on online copywriting: "The network of the Web is made up of hundreds of millions of individuals who email, chat, discuss, and share in the first person. People online connect with one another on an individual basis far more frequently than they buy at online stores. The Web is a fabric of individuals above all else, not a mall." So "perhaps the Web is the one place where the first-person singular is absolutely appropriate."

Which led me to think about the old days of the web when there were webmasters for each site. They had ownership on these sites. Nick suggests using this first person technique on corporate sites. I wonder out loud whether companies should not only give their sites the voice of a singular person, but actually put a real (not corporate mascot) personality behind it. An actual person. "Wecome to My name is Scott Knowles and let me show you around."

December 17, 2001

An Email Message From Corporate
It's not very often something from the heart comes from someone at the top. This is from TMP's COO and Global Director of North America. This is a hard nosed guy who doesn't take squat from nobody. He's one of the most saaviest business people around. And he has a warm heart.

As we enter the Holiday season, reminiscing on the past seems to be part of the year-end tradition. You look back at all that has transpired. Moments of elation, and joy coupled with moments of frustration and sadness. This year I have struggled to find the joy. With the difficulties we have all experienced in business, the life altering events we have faced as global citizens and the issues challenging our nations, frustration and sadness weigh heavy on my heart.

Life repeatedly shows us, that even in the worst of times, in the darkest of days, the greatness of the human spirit does shine through. In acts of heroism, in acts of kindness, in the simplest of words, people change people for the better. I have been fortunate in my life to have been inspired by extraordinary people. One such person, a jovial kind man named Father Mychal Judge, at every meeting, during every exchange would ask you simply…“Do you believe in yourself?” If you said yes he would reply…“Good, then all is well here.” Simple words intended to change people. Father Mychal went on to be the Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, a position he loved and served faithfully until September 11th.

Most recently we saw the passing of another great person whose simple words changed people. He wrote and sang of long, cold, lonely winters, reminding us that things would turn around, and it would be all right. George Harrison passed with dignity and grace, as he lived his life, and challenged us all to make a difference. To change the world one person at a time.

Two extraordinary people who remind us of the greatness of our spirit.

History’s pendulum swings, while cycles come and go. Life goes on, we work, we strive we recover, we grow, we reminisce and we smile again. 2001 was a hard year, but 2002 gives us the opportunity to start anew. We have made many changes building a stronger TMP, and with your contributions 2002 will be a great year. Thanks to each and every one of you for all your hard work, focus, understanding and perseverance. We faced the blows, got stronger and we’re moving forward. You are all extraordinary people. Happy Holidays to you, your friends and your loved ones. Here’s to a brighter 2002…


December 13, 2001

New text based advertising tool like PyRads that drives traffic to your blog -- I signed up. Lord knows, I'm ready for some traffic. It's really a text barter deal. Every time an ad appears on your blog, your ad appears on another. So I see and chicken and egg problem. But I kinda like the concept.
Supposed to be and ideal BB system. I'm no techie by any means, but it looks like a great idea.
Usenet Archives on Google
This has got to be the coolest thing I've seen in a long time! Reminds me when I was all over ListServs Freshman year, 1993!

I found some of my own .... I was a little firecracker ... thank God I've moderated a bit (I was a Freshman in college, so cut me some slack!)...

From 4/27/94

From 4/2/94 (this one is really a riot - funny how you learn netiquite)

December 06, 2001

Scriblings and Out-Loud Thoughts on Gonzo Marketing
(These are opinions held at the time and don't necessarily reflect my opinions of the present or future. But they usually do.)
(Sideways scriblings from margins, between paragraphs and squeezed between lines to be translated to Blog in the very near future).

“If the pitch is the epitome of broadcast, the story embodies the essential character of the Web. Stories, like conversations, don't have targets, fixed goals, Q2 objectives. They circumambulate their subjects. They explore. They don't have mission statements.”

Not sure I agree with this. Everyone has a mission, especially if you have passion. Everyone is subjective. To say we’re running around without aim is false. In the sense, though, that Q2 objectives and mission statements tend to be corporate goals, not human, I see the point he is trying to make.

“Because entry costs require high returns on investment, broadcast media rarely offer such emergent voices a hearing. However, the Internet reverses this trend, providing many low- cost vectors for small-scale publishing -- Usenet newsgroups, email lists, weblogs, web pages. Think of these as "micromedia" as opposed to mass media.”

This is the gist of the internet. This provides a marketplace to all voices. Low entry cost is the vital characteristic of the web.

P. 109-110
“I might care a lot if come company offered to hook me up with a bunch of interesting people who think sorta like I do, and could tell me stuff I wanted to know. Or even better, people good at telling stories, sharing experiences, insights, new perspectives. There are many places where that sort of exchange is happening on the net. But most of them are zines or email lists, or personal sites created by talented turned-on individuals.”

“Very few companies offer anything even remotely close …. Maybe I’m blind I just don’t see people hanging out at corporate web-sites.”

Companies need to gel human stories …. That come from actually grappled with the class of problems the product or service purports to solve. In other words, companies need to tell stories based on genuine understanding, not purposeful misdirection. However to tell such human stories, companies need human beings.”

Do/will stories capture everyone? I think there is a segment of the population who is already engaged or could easily be engaged in Locke’s storytelling. But how true is it that “micromarkets” consist solely of people who have “unique” interests? I think most people are still affected by Mass communication and most interests are mainstream. Sports, Beer, Fashion, Soda, Gardening. Who will the audience be of this storytelling? Who will have the time to listen?

Most people have been trained to operate efficiently (and they’re happy doing so … they haven’t been taught to look for more than two answers, Find my flight. What’s that price. What product is the best value. A story can build brand allegiance, that’s for sure, if it strikes the right chord. But in the business of commodities, who’s gonna take time to listen to stories or take the time to develop new relationships with other people representing those brands, even if they are genuine?

I think we’ll see a 80/20 type rule, but it will be more like 97/3. 97% of what we’ll consume will be commodity and totally unaffected by story, while the other 3% will be. The question is, is this cost-effective for businesses? And, what percentage of businesses’ customers will actually take interests in their stories/communication.

So …. 2 questions: What percentage of products purchased by a typical person be affected by Locke’s style of communication? And, what percentage of products sold (or customer base) by a typical person will be as the result of Locke’s style of communication?

Also, it’s important not to look at this as a brand new style of strategy, entirely (accept for being genuine and customer-focused in all messaging); however, we should look at it as a valuable new tactic.

I think the advertising discipline of account planning plays a very valuable role in trying to achieve what Locke wants to achieve through marketing and advertising. Account planners have their ear to the ground, they talk with their customers, they do, yes, market research, but not of the kind Locke speaks of in the group. They go beyond quantitative analysis, and sterile focus groups to examine a customer base in their true setting and what they want. An account planner’s job is to make sure advertising works for the customer. Because if it works for the customer it also works for the client.

Baltimore agency Carton Donofrio’s use of cultural anthropologist and their techniques help a company communicate most effectively to people by looking at key events in their (potential) customer’s buying process.

IDEA: paper entitled, “A Conversation between Christopher Locke and Jonathan Steele.” Same prognosis … different prescription.

P. 113
“Collaborative filtering works bottom up by feeling out the edges of emergent micromarkets based on personal tastes and interests – in effect, defining potential online communities. This is a powerful capability, much better suited to a networked medium than the top-down demographic slicing and dicing typical of broadcast. Such techniques could enable companies to stop marketing to and marketing at. Instead, personalization could be used to get genuinely personal, connecting members of these emergent micromarkets to each other. DO that, and something different in kind results, People start talking, having conversations, telling stories” ….

Now we’re talking! Imagine if every company did what amazon did with collaborative filtering. Conversations at Ford’s web site, conversations at Home Depot’s web site. What’s so great about Amazon is that they’ve come up with multiple ways for visitors to share their voice. Reviews is the first, but that takes a lot of effort, and you better sound good. That can be pressure. But it can also be a valuable tool for shoppers. Also, think about their lists. I have two lists. People who pull up Cluetrain are showed my list, which also includes Catcher in the Rye and Truth, Lies and Advertising.

Take the commerce away from Amazon and we’ve got a whole new breed of people. People go there, and it’s a store. Imagine the possibilities in a non-commerce environment (albeit, Amazon has created a non-commerce atmosphere which is why it’s so good a commerce) (note to reader, Locke ends up proving this wrong, like he did so many times) Counterthought: but then how does this site become a successful business without commerce? I don’t think you can create the conversations on Amazon in an atmosphere where contributors know all that’s important is that their being counted as page views for advertising revenue. Maybe, ironically, business sites are the crux of the Internet. Because they don’t need to depend on advertising revenue, they can use their own revenue streams from products and services to maintain effective web sites. Looks like a win-win to me!
I’m starting to think I had it slightly wrong up top … conversations start by customers. Companies do the listening, and engage in conversations. From Gonzo quoting Cluetrain:

“To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. But first, they must belong to a community. Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end. If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market. Human communities are based on discourse -- one human speech about human concerns. The community of discourse is the market. Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.”

And they better start opening their ears, and start listening.

P. 120 – “As networking replaces broadcasting, communication must become richer and more interesting – Not just louder and more insistent.” – Link to story about Fox using background images at World Series.

IDEA: Blog: Marketing Hall of Shame & Fame

A Vision: At the start of micromarket conversations the use of broadcast vehicles to speak more intimately with their audience. Instead of targeting the 18-24 year olds with HH incomes of $70K or greater, a company can target a micromarket by carefully listening to / being a part of their conversations. So now, a radio commercial from a hiking boot manufacturer can target avid rock climbers who listen to Radiohead and NPR, not because that is the micro market but because that is the conversation the micromarket is having. It shows that audience that company Z is listening and they’re adding to the conversation via radio. How's that for branding. How’s that for market research.
Been working on my links and "about me."

On a seperate note, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas .... in Bermuda! I mean... look at the weather here! (It was 76 today!)

December 05, 2001

Merry Christmas - Yah Haaawww!!!>

Great email I got ... (thanks Derek)

An Important Message From Santa Claus I regret to inform you that,
> >effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve the Southern
> >United States on Christmas Eve.
> >
> >Due to the current, overwhelming population of Earth, my contract was
> >renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local 209.
> >
> >I now serve only certain areas of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and
> >Michigan. As part of my new and better contract, I also get longer
> >breaks for milk and cookies and am not required to lift packages
> >weighing more than 28 pounds 13 ounces, so keep that in mind.
> >
> >However, I'm certain that your children will be in good hands with your
> >local replacement, who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His
> >side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of
> >delivering toys to all the good boys and girls, but there are a few
> >differences between us.
> >
> >1. There is no danger of a Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba
> >Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads:
> >"These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."
> >
> >2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave
> >an RC cola and pork rinds (or a moon pie) on the fireplace. And Bubba
> >doesn't smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an
> >empty spit can handy.
> >
> >3. Bubba Claus's sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flying coon dogs
> >instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my
> >reindeer one time, and Blitzen's head now overlooks Bubba's fireplace.
> >
> >4. You won't hear, "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen" when
> >Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you'll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Wallace,
> >on Martin and Labonte. On Rudd, on Jarrett, on Elliott and Petty."
> >
> >5. The traditional "Ho, ho, ho!" has been replaced by "Yee Haw!" And you
> >are also likely to hear Bubba's elves respond, "I hear'd dat!"
> >
> >6. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus's sleigh has a
> >Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back Off." The
> >last I heard, the sleigh also had other decorations on back as well. One
> >is the Ford logo with lights that race through the letters, and the
> >other is a caricature of me(Santa Claus) peeing on the Tooth Fairy.
> >
> >7. The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street"
> >and "It's a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your viewing area.
> >Instead, you'll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the
> >Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state
> >patrol cars crashing into each other.
> >
> >8. Bubba Claus doesn't wear a belt. If I were you, I'd make sure you
> >have the wife, and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put
> >presents under the tree.
> >
> >9. And finally, lovely Christmas songs have been sung about me, like
> >"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and Bing Crosby's "Santa Claus Is
> >Coming to Town. "This year, songs about Bubba Claus will be played on
> >all the AM radio stations in the South. Those song titles will include
> >Mark Chestnut's "Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox," and Garth Brooks'
> >"Grandma Got Run'd Over By a Coon Hound Wearing Antlers."
> >
> >Merry Christmas y'all,
> >Santa Claus
> >(Member, North American Fairies and Elves Local 209)

December 04, 2001

New Ad Tool (from Doc)
Similar to Google,
PyRad utilizes text based advertising. In the end, my question is, what is the difference (strategy speaking) between this and DoubleClick with words?

December 03, 2001

I used to think online yellow pages were a lost cause (place foot in mouth). They seemed so basic. So old-school. So much like putting a circular peg in a square hole. But I think they could be a leading model for the future of web advertising. Superpages is, in the most traditional sense, a marketplace. Merchants set up shop, customers come to check out the goods. Through Superpages' Merchant Match, customers can be directed to a Merchant Match web form from the business owner's listing. This form is emailed to the merchant. The shopper receives a personal (written by a person for a person) with a link to request an appointment, a link to purchase product or service, link to merchant's web site and merchant contact info. Shopper corresponds with Merchant via links or email.

I think what Superpages is missing is actual customer feedback posted live about merchants (similar to Amazon's reviewing). This would create a true hyper-conversation. Perhaps even working in some sort of collaborative filtering devise could make merchant recommendations to visitors to Superpages.
Open Source Marketing
Doc' Searl's take to advertising on the web. I think this is right on. To paraphrase: consumers don't see the web as a medium. Rather, it's a place. The web is more a kin to the telephone rather than "print," "TV," or "radio." Markets are coversations. And conversations make up the Internet.