Reading „join the conversation“

As I twittered already: I received Joseph Jaffes new book „join the conversation“ today. Much faster than I thought it would take amazon to deliver it. I have already started reading it and sofar it’s good!

Joe utilized all the means of new marketing (conversational marketing!) to produce and promote the book: Bloggers were helping to design the cover, within a wiki everybody could help write chapter 10 (there seems to be a system – chapter 10 was also the „odd one out“ in his last book the chapter being downloadable as an audio file from his website).

There is also a blog for the book, jointheconversation.us. And in true conversational effort, everyone can be an author in this blog (let’s hope that doesn’t become too messy).

Last week Joe managed an amazing coup of „bumrushing“ the amazon charts by asking all his blog readers, podcast listeners and facebook friends to join the „bumrush the charts“ event on facebook.

This basically meant for everyone to buy the book on one single day, so that the collective effort would push the book up the charts at amazon.com. (This is also why I bought the book last Sunday – I was going to get it anyway, so why not take part in that exercise.)

The last result I could see: #2 in business books (behind Alan Greenspan) and #26 overall. Pretty impressive! It dropped down again to lower ranks in the meantime, as one would have expected with a fairly new title, but let’s see where it will get to over time.

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Spendings on conversational marketing will most likely increase.

Joe Jaffe, who just released his new book „join the conversation“ (and very successfully bumrushed the charts on amazon) also conducted a study (together with the Society for New Communications Research and TWI Surveys) on how marketers might shift their budgets to conversational findings.

Here is an excerpt from his blog (the whole study is here):

  • Nearly 57% of respondents report that in 5 years time, what they spend on conversational marketing will be greater than that of traditional marketing.  Another roughly 24% believed it would be the same as traditional marketing
  • 70% are currently spending 2.5% or less of their communications budgets on conversational marketing, but two-thirds plan to increase their investment in conversation within the next twelve months
  • Respondents noted that the primary obstacles currently preventing them from investing more in conversational marketing include: “Manpower restraints” – 51.1% “Fear of loss of control” – 46.9% “Inadequate metrics” – 45.4% “Culture of their organizations” – 43.5% “Difficulty with internal sell-through” – 35.8%

The rest you can find in his new book. I should get mine soon, amazon already notified me, that it shipped yesterday. (I helped Joe bumrush the charts on Sunday … )

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Google, Marissa Mayer and the future of search

The Searchnomics Conference just took plave a few days ago. Read/Write Web covers the presentation of Marissa Mayer of Google, who talked about 8 areas Google is currently working on (or has launched only recently), which will define the future of search:

Automated translation: According to Mayer, someday in the future Google could automatically search content in all languages and present all the translated results to the user on the same page, regardless of language!

Book search: they are adding metadata about books, so that Google’s algorithms can understand what the book is about, relevant references, and availability of the content.

Images and video: one of their recent changes is to include all web videos into Google search; it is no longer limited to content within Google Video

Voice search: a free phone service that you can call to perform a voice search. As the usage of this system rises, the increasing number of samples of user input will be used to improve voice-to-text technology; users are, in effect, training the system to recognize voice commands

Universal search: the blending of different types of content, such as images and news, into the main search engine

Maps and local search: There are some interesting new advances in this area – for example, Google Maps now supports traffic display, based on data licensed from third parties…

Client software: Google Gears and Gadgets: Google Gadgets enables third-party developers to create tiny applications that live on the desktop and connect to the web in the background to pull in information from the web. Google Gears provides a browser plug-in that, in Mayer’s words, takes Ajax applications and makes them better.

iGoogle: As an example, Mayer said that although she’s a big fan of Netflix, she probably would not make it her home page; with a gadget, however, Netflix could still establish a presence within her home page

One of the most interesting things for me is, however, how people get so excited about Marissa Mayer:

At the end of the session, I had the opportunity to meet her briefly [certainly one of the high points of the conference for me!]

Admittingly, she is pretty. And supposedly, she is also very smart. But the main things is positioning. She is a pretty and clever girl in a world of geeks.

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The future of Magazines

PSFK writes about the future of magazines, mainly about 4 points that I agree with:

1. Not many people seem interested in reading long-form journalism (The New Yorker, NYT Magazine, etc) in front of their screens.

2. Magazines are easily portable for a plane ride, or the commute home. Also, they can be a good weekend digest of the week’s events when you are away from the computer/PDA. Though digital books and interfaces for the consumption of media are emerging, none seem poised to make a significant impact.

3. The medium allows for deeper analysis and context of daily news.

4. The sensory experience that print affords — the feel of different paper stocks, glossy photos, beautiful layout, design — simply cannot be replicated digitally.

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Crowdsourcing predictions for books and movies: Media Predict

There is a new prediction market leveraging the crowds wisdom: Media Predict.

Here’s how it works: when users register, they get 5,000 virtual dollars to begin investing. They can scan the markets for book proposals, up-and-coming musical acts, script treatments and TV pilots. Each is valued in virtual dollars per share based on perceived potential. If shares of a particular book proposal are going for 55 dollars, for instance, the book has about a 55% chance of being published. If a project seems like it might take off, a wise investor can put his or her money behind it. Or, conversely, he or she can sell if stock seems like it might plummet. In doing so, players drive the market value—and those who have a keen eye for the next big blockbuster get rewarded for it. When a deal goes through—for instance, if a book proposal gets signed to a publisher—shares pay off at USD 100 each. And on the flipside, when a venture doesn’t succeed, share value bottoms out at USD 0.

(From: Crowdfinding the next blockbuster).

I doubt this mechanism will really display the true future potential of a book/movie. The danger of having typical stockmarket ralleyes is too high.

People putting money against movies, not because they might actually succeed, but only because they can potentially earn some money through the speculation on the Media Predict Website.

In the end, there will be people voting for movies they don’t actually consider worth watching in the first place. This would obviously contradict the purpose of this website.

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Life after the 30-second spot: a review long overdue

I am a big fan of Joe. I regularly read his blog and I really enjoy his podcast, listening to it while driving to work (it is really motivational and inspires me a lot, which I enjoy in the morning!).

And I have (finally) read his book. I am very late writing about the book. Why am I writing about it nevertheless?

More than a year ago, Joseph Jaffe came up with a concept he called „UNMTPNM„: Use new marketing to prove new marketing. He launched this idea in order to promote his (then) new book:

Life after the 30-second spot

Energize your brand with a bold mix of alternatives to traditional advertising.

30sec.jpg

I decided to take part, as I liked the idea of how he wanted to start word-of-mouth this way. Now I want to write the review. It’s late, but I thought better late than never. And this way, Joe gets a new mention during a time, when everyone is already writing about his new book, which should be coming out some time in the middle of this year. Which, by the way, extends on one of the thoughts what new marketing can look like in the future. So here is my review, apologies, again, for it being so late.

His main conclusion throughout this book and his blog and his podcast is always the fact, that traditional advertising is by far no longer as useful as it used to be. Or as he puts it: the 30-second spot has outlived its usefulness.

So what’s in the book? There are 3 main sections:

Section I – The Problem
In this section Joe describes the current state of the media landscape. How mass media are dying due to the fragmentation of media and increasing consumer resistance towards clutter and power of media choice.

This chapter lays out the foundation for the rest of the discussion. By now these things are common knowledge and widely discussed everywhere. Yet, in 2005, when the book was printed, these points were heavily debated everywhere. (And, by the way, in Germany these points are still relevant, considering the fact that we’re usually lagging some time behind.)

Section II – The Solution: Re:think Four Fundamentals of Marketing
In this chapter, Joe is Re:thinking four main areas that need, well, rethinking. These are: the changing consumer, branding, relevance of advertising and the agency/client situation. These chapters are a „theoretical basis“ for the approaches in the third section and . A nice idea: you cannot read chapter 10 within the book. You will have to download the pdf or the mp3 file (to listen to Joe read out that chapter for you).

Section III – 10 Approaches that are transforming the marketing and advertising games

The approaches expanded on in this section are: the internet (of course…), gaming, on-demand viewing, experiential marketing, long-form content, communal marketing, consumer generated content, search, music – mobile and things that make you go mmmm, branded entertainment. In essence this covers examples for all the buzzwords, that companies have been experimenting with in the last couple of years.

Comments on the Contents

The first chapter is rather preaching to the converted and sometimes a bit over the top. The facts might be true, but sometimes you get the feeling as if the world is going to stop, the way Joe writes about the end of „old“ marketing. For anyone reading the book now, the first 60 pages are common knowledge (or should be!). But as a summary on the situation it is not bad.

The second section is the one for me, that had the most juice in it. Purely because these are the backbone thoughts on how to think about marketing in the future. And – in contrast to the third section – these thoughts are more likely to be relevant even in a few years time. The third section covers many examples per approach, but even looking at them now, some already seem antiquated (which doesn’t make them less true).

Comments on the Style

His style of writing is rather conversational. One of the many examples:

„… in a survey conducted by the consultancy Emergence, a grand total of 0 percent (that’s zero, none, nada, squat, zip, nil) of those quizzed…“

That makes it awkward to read sometimes, especially considering it is a book, not a blogpost or a podcast. It is almost, as if he dictated the script for someone else to type it. But, speaking of which: keeping Joes way of talking in mind, you can almost read the book and hear his voice saying these things.

So should you buy it? I think it was Joe himself who once said: buying a book these days is like getting „the t-shirt“. An „I have been there“ thing at times when content itself is readily available everywhere… You could follow Joe’s thoughts through his blog, his podcast, by going to crayonville, etc. But this is the one source that best and most complete summarises what Joe thinks, writes and says about new marketing.

So while the book will not completely stay relevant in the next couple of years, I think it is a very valuable basis for re:thinking marketing and advertising. For anyone who read about the changing media landscape, wanting to find out how to possibly react (and not having had their agency recommend things already, which they should have done), read the book. Skim-read the first section, this should be no news to anyone by now, focus on the second section for strategic visions and get some ideas of what new marketing can look liek from the last section.
Don’t forget: you can order it online. (Any commision amazon might yield will go to Joe, as I copied this link of his website.)

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Why it pays for Cory Doctorow to give his books away for free.

Cory Doctorow, one of the Bloggers behind Boing Boing wrote an article in Forbes about Giving It Away

I’ve been giving away my books ever since my first novel came out, and boy has it ever made me a bunch of money.

An interesting philosophy, but it does make sense somehow. In this new digital age, ebooks form the basis for word of mouth for books. In the paper age, I would borrow a book from a friend, read it and if it was good I would probably buy a version to add to my collection.

Like Joe Jaffe said in one of his podcasts, it’s like buying the T-Shirt after a good rock concert. You want to have a souvenir, something to show to your friends.

ebooks don’t replace this kind of purchase, but they even help spread the news since it is much easier to email ebooks across the globe compared to books.
That he has been successful, even in perspective of his well experienced publisher, shows this quote:

There’s no empirical way to prove that giving away books sells more books–but I’ve done this with three novels and a short story collection (and I’ll be doing it with two more novels and another collection in the next year), and my books have consistently outperformed my publisher’s expectations. Comparing their sales to the numbers provided by colleagues suggests that they perform somewhat better than other books from similar writers at similar stages in their careers.

The web does require us to rethink certain things. There is a book called Free Culture (which I haven’t fully read, I admit), in which Lawrence Lessig describes how people needed to rethink land ownership, when the first planes flew over people’s land. Up until that point, people owned the land and the air above it. With the aviation industry arriving on the horizon, this needed rethinking and changing of laws.

Nowadays, information (and things like movies and music are nothing but information, from a digital standpoint) is so easy to share and remix, that the only added value really stays with the creator of the piece of information. And the fact, that he is the only one able to recreate a piece of information (music, film, essay) that will be equally sought after.

What I mean? In future, there will be a big shakeout in the whole value chain of all parties dealing with information. Any party sitting in the value chain that doesn’t really add value, will have a hard time justifiying their relevance (other than owning rights – which means enforcing „value“ through lawsuits).

This is no bad news for the content creators. Cory earns good money by many activities surrounding his writing, as he writes in that article in Forbes, which, in turn, has apparently been paid well, too. This works out fine, since people pay to see, hear or read stuff coming directly from a content creator. And in music, bands will always be able to earn money through concerts. It’s the big fat middle that will increasingly need to justify their contribution to the value chain.

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