As 2007 draws to a close, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of my readers and contributors. I consider many of comments guest posts and have often elevated the conversation in subsequent posts for that reason. We conclude the year with a celebration of the best marketing conversations we had here.
An Unlikely Blend started as a simple question: why aren't there any Starbucks in Italy? We had a couple of Europeans in the comments, admittedly invited to participate. Gianandrea as a fan of the US coffee chain, Tim on the side of unlikely. Joe reminded everyone that Starbucks is not about the coffee at all, it's about the experience.
The runner up was The Results are In about the outcome of a customer gift campaign.
The World is Not Flat was the poke at how predictions take much longer than anticipated and often happen differently than imagined. Robert opened the conversation by talking about how interactions tend to be local for cultural reasons and Stephen waved the flag for marketing done locally. Mike developed the thought further by stating that brands are something we demonstrate and Roger provided his own "flat world" experience with the Ball of Whacks.
The runner up was The Substance of Marketing, my take on the Aqua Teen guerrilla Boston stunt.
The Sound of Silence is a strong reminder that silence has its place in our lives and a tribute to the oft forgotten art of using pause, meditation, and space to make more room for the rest of things. Peter V. provided evidence that silence for many is deafening and CK offered she strives to silence her mind. Peter T. talked about the concept of silence/stillness as both learning to hear it in the noise and cause in hearing the sound of your mind when immersed in it.
The runner up was How do You Go From Start to Success? a take on learning to quit in order to succeed.
Free is Not a Benefit was the product of a major shift in my thinking at work. Free is something you chose to give away, and which the prospect has no idea they need or want. Mark applied the concept to seminars and how identifying the distinction drives success. Dawud reflected upon how as an business owner he needs to think about everything from the prospect's point of view and so does Jay when counseling his clients.
The runner up was Media as Connectors of Idea and People as it challenged me to start looking at what main stream media should do with new media.
Conversations Build Reputations... and Brands delved into the importance of establishing a presence and voice online, proactively. Nancy had unknowingly created some confusion through a signature she used, then came back to clear things up. Geoff took the opportunity to remark on the underlying nature of marketing -- relationships.
The runner up was The 4 A's of Blogging, aspire, ask, attract, act, which apply to new media in general.
A Conversation of Olympic Proportions ensued after the new logo for the London summer games was unveiled. I predicted it was a huge success because it generated lots of buzz, much more than the money bought. David offered that an identity should unify, not divide. While Gianandrea thought the logo was too pretentious and Chris broke down the 3 things a logo should identify.
The runner up was How to Build a Social Media Strategy from issues to consider to perceived benefits.
Your Face Everywhere, are There too Many Social Networks? was the spark of a lively discussion on online identities and profiles. Philippe stated that the tools are too many because they are incomplete, which is part of the conversation Luc picked up and extended. Ryan added that the problem is one of expectations, while Stephen and Stephanie defended blogs as the relationship building tools that social networks may not be. Many more joined the dialogue than I can give proper representation to. Honorable mentions go to Greg for counseling me on part of the story, Jan for his first comment, and Jeffro and Chris for talking intelligently about aggregators.
Which is Better: Targeted to You or Made by You? was the question that launched a nice discussion with Cam on delivering meaningful and relevant results to customers and marketers in both cases. Vera felt that we are quite far from real personalization, while Mark further defined what it means to have something specifically created with you in mind.
The runner up was Speak Easy and Other Clever Marketing Acts a Conversation Make about word of mouth marketing -- is it always free?
Are Blogs the New Thought Leadership? ignited a nice discussion. Greg, as Karen did, felt they are one way to develop thought leadership, not the only one. While Mario said they definitely are and Jason clarified that it depends on who writes them. Daniel felt that the medium is just beginning to show its potential.
The runner up was How to Restore the Faith in Popcorn. Despite the cheeky title, this was my first example of PR pros and companies coming to grip with response to negative feedback in social media.
You're Asking the Wrong Question was a statement born of impatience with the old adage in marketing that it's all about the message and the company's control and hold on it. Things have changed. Richard shared many learning opportunities here and Toby extended the conversation to new ways of doing business internally. Ann clarified that change is about being open minded and Carolyn Ann added that control of perception is impossible as it resides in the person who perceives.
The runner up was 3 Trends and Top Ten Reasons to Work with a Smart Agency.
Web 3.0 Artificial Intelligence Agents will be Conversation Agents remains one of my most inspired posts and a personal favorite as I love spotting trends and their implications. The content inspired many comments by first time visitors. A self defined creative versatilist, Nick extended the topic to considerations on filtering as a relevant function. Francois warned that we tend to overestimate the amount of change in the short term and underestimate it in the long term. Susan saw the current challenge being more abut how to present and explain what is happening in companies with Web 2.0.
If I Were an Agency Today describes the challenges and very concrete advice I can offer agencies at this point in my career on the client side. Tom added a thought-provoking scenario -- front end owns the story - keeps it consistent, knows what the story is rooted in. Back end delivers the (consistent) story across channels. Bob joined the conversation from Dell saying: "We want our agency to spend 100% of their time focused on our customers, rather than worrying about endless pitching."
The runner up was Facebook Beacon: Brands Guilty by Association?
I thank fellow bloggers and new media editors for the opportunity to contribute to BrandingWire, Fast Company Expert blogs, The Blog Herald and Marketing Profs: Daily Fix. I've made an effort to select the most helpful voices from the comments, there were many more who contributed to the conversation. In particular, Joe Raasch and Karen Hegmann have been a consistent support with their counsel and the resources shared and Carolyn Ann with great comments to further the conversation.
Thank you all for reading the many long posts, for participating in forming the ideas presented here, and for contributing to my growth.
Happy New Year!