A walk in the viral garden

 I sent out today a short interview to a handfull of major bloggers. Mack Collier was the first to reply. Here are his answers

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

A post entitled “What a Hurricane Can Teach Us About Marketing” for the blog Beyond Madison Avenue, on September 20th, 2005. I agonized over that first post for probably 4 days, but I think it was one of the best ones I’ve ever written.  I was talking about how companies were rallying to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and closed with this “Marketing professionals everywhere can learn much from the massive giving that’s coming in response to Katrina. If you have a product that people want, that they can clearly see the benefits of, and that fulfills a basic human need, it will sell itself. What ‘product’ is being sold here? Hope. We all need some of that.”

2/ What is the success metric you use for your blog?

I don’t really look at just one. I would say that I probably place the most importance on how many daily feed readers I have, then number of comments, then links, then daily traffic. I think daily traffic is very overrated, as for my blog, most of my daily traffic comes from Google referrals, and as long as my daily feed readers continues to grow, as do comments, I feel my blog is in good shape.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

Coming to grips with the fact that it’s difficult to control distribution online, and usually makes bad business sense to try to anyway.  I think the music industry is starting to come to grips with this, as we are seeing a push to drop DRM.  For online media that’s being sold (music, movies), wider distribution almost always leads to more sales.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

I’m interested in seeing how long it takes marketers and advertisers to shift their focus from seeing social media as a sales channel, to using the space to communicate with, and understand their customers.Right now, they are treating social media as just another one-way selling channel, I’d like to see them utilize the full potential of this space by giving their customers a voice in their marketing efforts.

5/ What is the best marketing blog in the blogosphere? (except yours)

There are so many good ones, but I tend to gravitate toward the ones like Brains on Fire, CK’s Blog, and Community Guy that focus on community-oriented marketing efforts.  But my all-time favorite one would probably be Church of the Customer, because I love Ben and Jackie’s idea of the customer evangelist, and the stories they provide of companies that are embracing and empowering their most passionate customers

6/ What makes your blog different?

I try to blog about marketing from the customer’s point of view, but in a language that companies can understand. I feel that companies and their customers are almost always speaking two different languages, which means neither group really understands or trusts the other. I focus on examples of companies that are viewing their customers as marketing partners for their messages, instead of enemies that need to be separated from their wallets! This is why I love blogging, because I believe that blogs are an amazing communication tool that can bring companies and their customers closer together. When that communication begins, both groups begin to understand and trust each other, and much more effective and efficient marketing is the resultI think most companies are intrigued by blogging and other forms of social media, but only if they can understand how they will benefit from playing a role in this space. I try to highlight these benefits.

Thanks Mack! 

Feel free, dear reader-blogger of this post, to answer those 6 questions in the comments


9 Responses to “A walk in the viral garden”

  1. Kris Hoet Says:

    Good stuff Philippe – hope you get a lot more of these on your blog!

    – Kris

  2. Mark Goren Says:

    Love this idea, Philippe. Great questions, great insights.

  3. Matt Dickman Says:

    Philippe — Great idea here. I like the direction you took the questions. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.

  4. Roger Anderson Says:

    I have still not started a blog because I worry that the only people reading the blogs are other bloggers. That there are 70 million blogs (even if most are abandoned) is some hope. Now we see bloggers interviewing each other. Is the news news?

    I worry that this is starting to resemble the situation with writers. Once you have published two books you write about writing books and that is often your most successful book!

    I enjoy knowing how and why others are blogging. I appreciate that it is hard work to be successful. I just worry that we are becoming the focus of ourselves for the sake of link-love.

    Still, I’ll be back to read the other responses. That is what you wanted after all.

  5. General Pattern Says:

    Thanks guys! Don’t hesitate to take over the questions and conduct your own interviews. I would also like to read your answers to the questions.

    I’ll post today the answers of Valeria Maltoni and tomorrow the blogstar will be CK.

    Roger: I partially agree. The marketing blogosphere is probably a microcosmos and we tend to become a little self-centered. still, I often (sometimes) meet customers who are reading the blogs. My sister (She’s customer experience VP for a telco) told me she was planning to syndicate on an intranet the feeds of some top marketing blogs to educate her teams to digital marketing.

    What happens with blogging today is exactly the same in every media: in TV, we have TV shows about TV, TV awards with TV people in the jury.

    But even if I was convinced that only other bloggers were reading blogs, I would blog anyway since I learn everyday through comments, discussions and posts on other blogs and it really helps me in my job.

  6. The free (conversation) agent « Bad idea, indeed Says:

    […] Bad idea, indeed A networking class hero is something to be « A walk in the viral garden […]

  7. Mack Collier Says:

    Roger when you first start blogging, it might seem like only your friends and fellow bloggers are reading what you write. But over time, as your reach grows, you’ll start to be contacted by agencies (gotta love those pitches!), mainstream media sources, maybe even companies about employment, who knows. We all go through that initial ‘is anyone even reading this?’ concerns, but if you stick with blogging, you’ll begin to find your voice, and others will find you.

    As for talking to other bloggers, I enjoy it because I like to learn more about my favorite bloggers, as well as what they have done to be successful. There’s always more you can learn. Thanks again Philippe, looking forward to the other entries in this series!

  8. Bob G Says:

    Terrific idea, Phillipe! Mack – that was a cosmic first post – “what product is being sold here? Hope” – indeed it is part of what keeps us going. I agree your one way selling vs. conversation selling is the biggest challenge.

  9. Transmission Content + Creative, Mark Goren, New Marketing Coach » Blog Archive » Bad Idea, Indeed interview Says:

    […] A walk in the Viral Garden, with Mack Collier The free (conversation) agent, with Valeria Maltoni CK – Psyche, with Christina Kerley (C.K.) Dial S for Servant of Chaos, with Gavin Heaton Viva la Diva, with Toby Bloomberg Last transmission, with yours truly. […]

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