Sunday, September 9, 2007

Old School vs New School Marketing

My boss is a traditional marketer. We talk a lot about setting goals, but the differences between our schools of thought are constantly coming up. My problem is I don't know when I'm supposed to be learning from him and when I'm supposed to be teaching him.

One of the tasks he wanted me to do was to prepare the letter of introduction I will be sending to all the bloggers I will have made contacts with in order to introduce them to our new site once it rolls out.

OK, I thought, letters. Uh, wait.

"What letters?"

"Well, you simply expect them to know about your site by clicking on your user name in your blog comments?"

"Actually, yes. But if not, I won't be sending them all letters. I will talk to them one by one, when appropriate, and in the correct context. I won't be sending out marketing letters to them like they're my customers."

Blog marketing doesn't work like this. It's not: define goal, execute action, measure results. Blog marketing is relationships: build product, build relationships, trade information.

I think that last part is one of the most important parts: trade. I will be giving out as much as I'm getting, maybe more. Yeah, my goal is to get: coverage, visits, adopters. But my methodology is to give in ways that have nothing to do with our product.

Where on the time sheet do I put down: had a conversation about how to fix a program on a competitor's blog?


4 comments: said...

Thanks for such an enlightinging anecdote on Blog Marketing.

Please write up on how to reach to more readers for the blogs.

Gavin Schmitt said...

Perhaps I'm confusing substance and semantics here, but I think "New School" can and should still use some of the classic principles. If we do not define goals, execute actions to accomplish them, and measure our results, how else do we know what we are doing, and have basis for judging whether we accomplished anything or not?

I think what separates the schools is details and implementation. For example, I still draft formal letters of introduction (to designers, consumers, retailers, factories, etc.), but only to create bones from which I can then write context aware emails & comments to actual people. Perhaps that isn't even new school, but just 'less lazy' old school?

Perhaps what makes corp-bloggers "new", is that they function like celebrity endorcers who are expected to "rep" themselves. Maybe this is another example of the modern US "Do two peoples' jobs at once (for the pay of one of them)"?

Yehuda said...


That's why I'm confused when I'm supposed to be learning, and when I'm supposed to be teaching.

How do you define goals, tasks, and requirements for the task: interact with the community? Would you give a kid a task, with goals, of: make friends?

I guess with a lot of experience, you get an idea about what kind of results to expect after a certain length of time, but I could hardly expect it to fit a time table.


Gavin Schmitt said...

These are certainly all exciting challenges. And I'm equally certain there is not one correct answer.

In the most basic sense I think some of these can be put into a framework though.

"task: interact with the community" could be as easy as:

1. identify # blogs on topic X

2. categorize their popularity, readership demographics, and relevance

3. post Y comments on the most pertinent to your employer's target audience/ topic/ style at Z frequency.

certainly it isn't elegant, and in reality not a law to be followed to the letter, but it should still give the blogger focus, and state the employer's expectations.

As for judging results, that really depends on the employer, and their goals. If the employer has a make profile / join community function, even if they do not track why people join, they have a basic barometer for how much influx they are receiving. Simpler than that, most tracking tools show what websites traffic is coming from, which can be tied to where a blogger comments.

That isn't a perfect system, and likewise I have no idea what kind of traffic would be expected, over what time table, but in an inverse sort of way you would be able to see milestones. Over time, an employer may even be able to judge their bloggers against each other based on relative performance...