John Dvorak: The Microsoft Marketing Myth.
Personally, John is right. And John even has an RSS feed. Sigh.
But, let's look at some of the most profitable companies. Amazon. Jeff Bezos says he doesn't do advertising. Instead he pours that money back into making a better service. (Well, and he has a killer affiliate program where he pays bloggers to link to Amazon). Google. Ever see a Google TV ad? No. How did they get to where they are? They built a product worth talking about. Heck, I work for their competitor and I still talk about Google even though I'm paid by Microsoft. Now THAT is marketing! Firefox? I asked the crowd at Northern Voice whether any of them downloaded it because of the New York Times ads. No hands went up. How many heard about Firefox from their friends or read about it on a blog? All the hands went up.
So, the trick is to build better products and services. In my view.
Now, where John is right is where we ARE building better mousetraps. Tablet PCs, for instance. Or Media Centers. Or SmartPhones. Or SPOT watches. Or SQL Server. Or Visual Studio. Or Anti-Spyware. Or MSN Messenger. That's where we SHOULD be spending our money on SuperBowl ads and viral marketing campaigns.
Until then, I'll do what I can over at http://channel9.msdn.com.
And with that, I'm back on vacation for real this time.
Dennis Kennedy: Welcome to Scoble Country. (Analysis of the blogs I read and the experiences I have).
OK, that got me to go back on vacation. Heh!
Before I go, though, Nancy White takes amazing notes. Here's her notes of my talk at Northern Voice.
The Northern Voice Wiki (you can see a ton of stuff from the conference, including audio recordings) is really great too. I wish every conference had one of these.
Hot new topic at the conference? Video blogging. Eric Rice was carrying around a 17-inch PowerBook. What a stud! And interviewing people in the hall. Here's a video he shot of me demonstrating the Tablet PC.
Eric is one of those guys pushing in all directions. He has a blog. Has a podcast. And a vlog (video blog). All linked to from here.
I can't stay on blogger vacation. People keep sending me stuff that I HAVE to reply to. I guess that's a good test of whether someone is a born blogger or not. Translation: I'm addicted. Anyone have a 12-step program for bloggers who can't stop blogging?
Anyway, Eric Peterson, Jupiter Analyst, rips me to shreds for saying that marketing people should get fired if they don't have RSS feeds.
He's not the only one.
But, here's where Eric and Michael and the others are not understanding my point.
Hint: it's not about RSS.
Not having RSS is a symptom of a bigger problem with an approach to marketing on the Internet.
See, what marketers really want is traffic. But focused traffic. Interested traffic. Buying traffic.
How does that traffic come? Well, in today's Internet, three ways:
1) Through search engines like MSN, Yahoo, Google.
2) Through main stream media (a link from MSN's home page, for instance, sent Dave Winer 200,000 visitors) and an article in the New York Times sent more than 10,000 people to ActiveWords' site, Buzz Bruggeman told me.
3) Through blogs. Slashdot, for instance, sent me 15,000 people when they linked to me.
So, now, how do you get the above three? Well, you can call Steven Levy up and see if he'll put you in Newsweek. Hint: I've tried this strategy many times over the years and it doesn't work.
Or, you can buy Google advertising. If you are a rich guy this will work just fine. Except if you're a company spending money on marketing your marketing doesn't exactly lead to profitability.
Or, you can get bloggers with traffic to write about you. Boing Boing, for instance, has a ton of traffic, and Xeni and Cory like linking to fun stuff. If not them, try MetaFilter.
But, what do bloggers want?
We want a few things:
2) If you're posting content (er videos, text) we want to build a relationship with that site. Translation: I won't link to it just because a marketing or PR guy asks me to, but I will subscribe and watch it for a few days to make sure that the site is something my readers would care about.
3) I wanna see the passion of the marketing team. Is the site changing often? Again, RSS lets me watch this.
4) Does the site take a customer-centric approach or is it just trying to get noticed? What does customer centric mean? Well, do they let customers view content ON THEIR TERMS? Again, if you aren't publishing RSS you aren't customer centric. Why do I say that? Well, I'm the customer and if you are sending out only HTML you're wasting my time. I demonstrated just how much time you're wasting at the Northern Voice conference on Saturday.
Damn it. I just got another request to link to something marketing related. No RSS feed. No blog. Nothing conversational. What's wrong here? I can't even put it on my linkblog.
I tell ya, if you don't have an RSS feed it's going to be very difficult to get me to link to you anymore. I just don't have time to deal with email requests. Get someone else to link to your stuff.
Actually, that's a good marketing/PR hint that I gave out at Northern Voice too. Get five people to link to it. If I see links in my aggregator I'll be able to put that in my link blog.
No RSS? No linky from Scoble. Unless you're Red vs. Blue or something really over the top crazy good.
Update: Dave Winer chimes in.
Another update: I'm putting lots of conversation, both pro and con, on this topic on my linkblog. You can read it in a Web browser, but here's a hint: my linkblog is a lot nicer in an RSS News Aggregator.