I'm giving a presentation and on a panel titled "Harnessing the Buzz Power of Blogs" this Sunday in Atlanta at the annual conference of the Direct Marketing Association. Given that, what do you think I ought to include?

Put another way, if you had 10 minutes to tell a room full of direct marketers anything you could about blogs and RSS, what would you tell them?

Posted by jzawodn at October 14, 2005 08:24 AM

Reader Comments
# DeWitt Clinton said:

Wow, the first two works that popped into mind were so not safe for work.

Seriously though, it is an interesting topic. There is a tension between those who seem to blog because they have a genuine interest in sharing their insights (you're a good example), and those that seek profit and attention. Clearly a panel on the "Buzz Power of Blogs" is all about the latter.

Perhaps you can find a way to spend 10 minutes talk about how a panel on the "Buzz Power of Blogs" is precisely what the best (in my opinion) bloggers are diametrically opposed to?

Then again, if that buzz can bring readers to Arianna Huffington, Media Matters for America, or Crooks and Liars, then perhaps the buzz isn't so bad after all. (Though I suspect that the Direct Marketing Association probably doesn't see things through the same lens.)

on October 14, 2005 08:50 AM
# Vijayachandran said:

Dear Jeremy

Just tell them how did it help you to reach where you are now and explain more about what you did with your blog..

I can see all of them looking in to RSS and Blogs with out even you mentioning a word about this...

Good luck with ur presentation

on October 14, 2005 08:55 AM
# ct said:

Tell them to spend their time and money on creating something useful on their blogs (or wherever else), and stop the spam (electronic, paper and phone calls).

on October 14, 2005 09:07 AM
# jr said:

Blogs are not press releases. You already have those.
Blogs are not cool and hip. They're not even trendy. USA Today covered them years ago.
Blogs let you talk directly to a small group of folks who are just as smart, if not smarter than you are. They're a tough crowd.
Hornets buzz too.

Honesty is your best policy. Blogs that aren't honest are pretty quickly routed out and have a negative effect on brand and market. (Lincoln Fry Blog, Barbie myspace^W myscene Blog, MSN Search X-Treem blogs, etc.)

Honestly? I would be astounded if anyone there sees blogs as nothing more than a Hip way to present press releases and ad campaigns. Might as well slap "Blog" on their newspaper ads.

on October 14, 2005 09:33 AM
# Jason Scott said:

Not willing to go to jail for actually killing direct marketers, I would have some nice folks at one of the many artist enclaves in the urban centers fashion me a sort of pie-throwing mechanism, capable of between 30-50 pies a minute, and begin aiming the infernal machine at the now-scattering self-important herd of child exploiters, liars, and life-quality-deadening robots out in the hall.

Laughing maniacally, I would then press button that switches to bundt cakes to get the last portly holdouts.

on October 14, 2005 09:41 AM
# Travis said:

I'd tell them to check out "Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies", http://www.buzzmarketingwithblogs.com/ -- it's a fab book. Let me know if you'd like a copy, Jeremy.

on October 14, 2005 10:58 AM
# Bill Humphries said:

I'd have to join in saying: "stay away from the Internet until they develop some ethics."

on October 14, 2005 11:47 AM
# jon oropeza said:

Stay away! No seriously, how about a few Bill Hicks quotes? Ok seriously... How about, This is your chance to have a real conversation with your market? You know, instead of shouting at your customers as has been the custom, necessitated by the one-way technologies that we've been using, which includes the 90s Web (Web 1.0?). You're going to have to pick up a new set of customs and manners, and quick too. And forget about all the BS posturing that you're used to spouting - that's not gonna work here.

on October 14, 2005 11:50 AM
# Ansel said:

I would seize an invaluable opportunity to opt out of a thousand junk mail and spam lists all at once.

How great would that be?

on October 14, 2005 12:09 PM
# Kevin Marks said:

I blogged on this just this week; the bottom line is that they need to be aware that the web is a 2-way medium, not a broadcast one, and if they abuse it they will be found out and publically humiliated.

Try searchign for 'Cillit Bang' in google or yahoo, and see how their abuse of Tom Coates' blog backfired.

on October 14, 2005 01:40 PM
# pjm said:

I used to work for a DMA member...

I'd sieze this chance to say, "What you think is spam is unimportant. What your customers think is spam is all-important. Stop spamming me."

on October 14, 2005 02:48 PM
# zia said:

what's the impact of blog to online marketing ???
i still don't get the point


on October 14, 2005 03:09 PM
# Joe Zawodny said:

This is easy, I'd say "Stay away."

The DMA folks should be a little less direct. They should exist in a place where I have to voluntarily go to find them, rather than their current model of polluting every corner of the universe with their presence.

Marketeers and advertisers are quickly becoming as popular as politicians and lawyers with good reason.

on October 14, 2005 04:01 PM
# Adam said:

Tell them to ask themselves this before they ever post anything on a blog:
"If you were out having a beer with someone you've recently become friends with, would you say this to their face?"

For instance, when you're (appropriately) talking a friend, you generally don't:
- shout
- hype
- badger
- monopolize
- ignore
- use fear

You do (or should), however:
- Talk like a human
- Listen
- Listen some more
- Respond appropriately
- Be sincere. No, *really* sincere, not faux sincere.
- Know your relationship-type. You don't hug and kiss a new friend and say "You're my best friend EVER!!!"

And the hardest, but IMHO most important:
Know yourself, know your limitations, and don't pretend to be someone you aren't. If you're a 300 pound frumpy housewife, you don't show up at a bar in a miniskirt and halter top to meet a friend. You'll embarrass yourself, you'll embarrass your friend, and no one will want to be seen with you, much less listen to you. For companies, this means that you shouldn't sweep who you are and what your history is under a rug; if you've had problems with a product or customer relationships, enter into a conversation humbly or even with an appropriate apologetic introduction. "We realize we haven't always worked with our customers in a way that would make our founder proud. Here's what we're doing to change that... and why we respectfully ask you to give us another chance."

Humility, thoughtfulness, subtlety, humanity. All attributes that the spam-defending DMA, sadly, seems to have in very short supply.

on October 14, 2005 07:12 PM
# Susan Kitchens said:

(I've worked off n on doing graphic design for direct mail, so I know an eentsy bit about this.) Really good direct marketers get good results from a well-chosen list. Targeted. When something well-targeted shows up in the mailbox, it doesn't even seem like junk mail. It's a welcome HEY! Cool!

It's the un-targeted or poorly targeted crap that pisses off the rest of the world (witness this thread, all of which I agree with). And it's extremely rare when direct marketers target well. (I once had lengthy discussion about this with my geek "hell for me would be a job in marketing" boyfriend. I pointed out that the snail-mail brochures he receives for arts and performance events are, in his case well-targeted and welcome. "Oh! yeah!" He didn't even think of *those* as junk mail. It's the constant mortgage and credit card and publisher's clearinghouse crap that's so vile.

In addition to whatever you say about the audience knowing you and it's what the audience thinks, I'd talk about....
1) the way that blogs allow for a person or group having genuine voice about something [insert significant look/tone of voice ]... and...

2) the web in general and blogs in specific [and search/tags/categories/etc] give ability to reach a highly targeted audience. Think: Smaller # of prospects, higher response rate. I'd use the analogy of targeted advertising (cf. sponsored links for search engine results) which is Good News, what a person is looking for, versus blanket crap that leads to rage. Don't know how exactly to apply it to direct marketing. But set the expectation: Better targeting, smaller population, higher response rate.

3) Oh, and re: emails, permission and opt-in (with polite, we won't send unless you tell us to) options from the get-go.

4) I guess for that matter, since spam threatens to ruin email, discussing RSSetc. as a narrowcast way to provide specific information is also a good idea.

Don't know how you'd do it all in 10 minutes, but there it is. Good luck!

on October 14, 2005 07:16 PM
# Paul Hoffman said:

If it isn't too late...

Suggest that if someone in the audience has a great idea about how to use blogs for DM but hasn't been using a newsreader for at least six months, they have a bad idea. No one would trust an ad exec to create a TV ad if that exec doesn't watch TV.

Remind them that blogs are pull-only. The first time you trick someone into subscribing to something they didn't want, your firm *and your clients* will becom paraiahs, and rightfully so.

Tell them that it's just fine to do kitchy stuff in blogs because you gotta subscribe in order to see the stuff. Lots of typical blog readers would look at ads in exchange for a chance to win a car. Many would do it for a chance to win an iPod. Some would do it for a chance to win $20. This will be even more true when blog readers become ubiquitous, which is within two years.

Remind them again about not tricking people into subscribing, and the dire consequences if they do.

Suggest that they use Atom. :-)

on October 15, 2005 12:18 PM
# Home based business oportunity said:

Superstandort! Bravo an webmaster,
das den sehr interressant Standort zuruckgeben konnte.
Setzt als CA fort;)

on October 15, 2005 04:33 PM
# warren said:

give me their names and addresses so i can give them the slow, agonizing deaths they deserve.

on October 15, 2005 10:47 PM
# Lee Wilkins said:

get David Weinberger to co-speak with you. Just heard him here @ BlogOn 2005 and he was gooooooood

Good luck

on October 18, 2005 08:19 AM
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