April 3, 2008

Conversation Joined

Filed under: Book Reviews — Tags: , , — Robert John Ed @ 1:39 am

As part of Joseph Jaffe’s “Using New Marketing To Prove New Marketing,” or (UNM2PNM) I begged Joseph to let me get a copy of his new book “Join the Conversation” for free. Free is good. I enjoy free much more than cost. Seriously, it tastes better. Additionally, I’m addicted to the so called “new marketing” and this seemed a great chance to read an interesting blogger I’ve read for some time in another format.

(Pausing in order to figure out how to properly save a jpeg without a right click…calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean…Eureka! OK back to it.)

Jaffe is President and Founder of Crayon. A new marketing company. As such he’s very much into this new fangled marketing concept of going “Life After the 30 Second Spot” (disclosure: I’ve not read this). Marketing is changing more so today than it has since the industrial age and mass media came into it’s big bang. As such if you are a marketer, you damn well better take heed of which way the wind is blowing; and no you don’t need a weatherman. Right or wrong, good or bad writing. This stuff is really important for businesses today.

To the book. It took me a long time to read. At first I couldn’t figure it, and a little after half way through it struck me: I’ve read this before. Not the actual book. I am not that dense. This book is a reiteration of the blogosphere incarnate. I’ve spent the last few years acquainting myself to her boisterous goings on and Jaffe subtly pulled out the photo album during my brief visit to the privy. That and the wait to complete this site to an extent that it’s of somewhat professional repute are the reasons for the extended time to complete (btw my apologies to JJ as such).

Now let’s get one thing straight. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I’d say this book is the kind of coffee need be brewed for so many a slumbering marketer today. It’s fresh, and to one without an in depth perception of the internet and how consumers are interacting/conversing/user generated media-ing every day about our brands, well, they should read this. Jaffe maintains an individual prose throughout (with side anecdotes a plenty, in addition to plenty of one liners; Jaffe very well could have sold this book with a drumroll) that should keep most patrons well entertained and, more importantly, learning.

Some very good points are raised. For instance the amount of spend on “conversational marketing” (Sidenote: I hate all terminology associated with marketing. OK, most of it. Some of it seems so counterintuitive. I’m jaded, so from now on I’m going to quote a term once and then just use it as though it’s actually part of my lexicon…ugh.) compared to “traditional” (I’m going to have to write about this just to get it off my chest) is ridiculous given the fact that the internet is literally altering the way near all consumers in the new generations are acting. JJ also points out many success and failure stories from major corporations, as earlier noted, marketers SHOULD already know these stories. Have you heard about the Dove inner beauty campaign? How about JetBlue’s caged commuter carnival? No?! Buy the book. Today. It’s our job to know this stuff. Conversely, a savvy advertising guru could ask me the biggest eyeball grabbers on print ad and I’d meekly Costanza off a muffled “Headlieieane….?” You can’t know everything. But you can learn those things that are the most important to our profession. I’d say that interactive marketing is paramount right now.

The book is really about how companies are conversing with “prosumers” who generate their own content and amplify their thoughts and feelings on the company within minutes of experiencing joy or pain from them. And I can tell you that everything is changing. Damage control is a big point here, but I think Conversation is really trying to get companies to be proactive in using the new mediums to do what was done traditionally: position themselves well and treat prosumers with respect. Don’t simply hide behind your PR reps, get real. Get out there and say hi. Prosumers are people too. If you saw one in your store, you’d treat them well. There’s no reason not to here and now.

My perspective skews a bit as I’d already consumed so much material presented. Still, at the end of the day if in a conversation with a marketer (or anyone for that matter) and the book came up, I’d tell them it was worth the read. Certainly worth the price in this instance. And honestly, that’s what the book is all about, just on a more grand level.


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