Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

Misfit marketing (Aultre ne veulx estre)

August 11, 2008

Who’s that girl? The new Betty Page? A recent recruit for the pussycat dolls? Catwoman in the next Batman sequel?

Actually, she’s one of the most famous and innovative Belgian entrepreneurs. Her name is Murielle Scherre and she’s a myspace and facebook star under the nickname of “La fille d’O”. She’s sure isn’t the typical executive woman. I doubt she produces elaborate business cases. She has no background in corporations but she’s successful and already appeared on a bunch of business magazines covers. Besides her entrepreneurship, Murielle also wrote a book, is a stage artist and used to have her own TV show.

Her brand “La fille d’O” is initially a lingerie brand but Murielle is so interleaved with her brand that it’s difficult to distinguish her person from her brand. She recently launched an acclaimed shoe collection.

Murielle is also a very gentle person who kindly accepted to answer my questions. No marketing buzzwords included…

“ I am no marketer. I am a human being and a customer all the same and I try to create a brand like I would want to buy/discover in stores myself. I don’t think about money. I think about satisfaction: For me as a creator and as a person and a customer. The other people wearing my stuff feel the same. They are fed up with the mainstream. More and more people tend to think before they invest their money in a brand. You need to deserve it. That is why I took the risk of linking my person to my brand like this. I knew it would put some people off because of who I am but it would charm the others even more.”

About social media:

I got picked up by the media from the very first day so I can easily say it was verrrry important. Word of mouth is another part that can take some credits. I have very happy customers because I see them coming back and all of them bring friends and family.

Instruments such as myspace and my website only make all this ‘teambuilding’ stronger because I show my true face on it and I guess it gives people confidence. I have seen a lot of big companies trying to start up a blog or a myspace but “virtuassionals” know to distinguish the sincere from the marketer.

About advertising:

I have never spent any money on advertisement. I think the people I design for have grown immune to it so I don’t see why I would spend money on useless efforts. I prefer to get exposure where it ‘hurts’. When going out, on stage, playing music, making a decent TV show…

I don’t want to make commercially interesting decisions by being less radical. I want to make stuff I shall fully take responsibility for.  

About the link between being a beautiful woman and breakthrough in social media:

Auch! That is both a difficult question and a compliment! Great! 🙂 I have the slight suspicion things would have been different when trying to make a living selling orthopedic shoes. They say beauty is on the inside but I have never met anyone who could lay eyes upon someone’s inside at first glance so I guess that is just a lame excuse. But I do think my standards of beauty aren’t what the current beauty trends are. I am totally turned off by uniformity, perfection, purity, glamour, all those things have become so commercially vampirized it scares me!

About sharing:

I think everyone who’s eager to learn is stimulated to share experiences since it shortens your own learning process. Collaboration is the new black 🙂


Blowjobs included!

July 10, 2008

I recently posted a great Ben Stiller video on This post received a comment by Richard who states that “a lot of viral videos contain some form of depravity”. I don’t have stats about that but I think Richard is right.

Since a lot of marketers seem to believe in the power of depravity, Ryanair launched a new VIP program called “Beds and blowjobs”.

Who said “over promise”?

Last transmission

June 3, 2007


All good things come to an end. Here comes the very last interview of the Blogger interview series and it’s Mark Goren, author of Transmission Marketing. I wish I wrote that 🙂

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

7 November 2006: “Brand Health Care”. The idea behind the post was say that are many ways to treat a marketing problem and that if you’re agency doesn’t accept it when you challenge them, maybe it’s time to seek a second opinion. I still think it was a good inaugural post, but I’ll be the first to admit that it took some time for me to find my blogging legs after that one.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

They’ll lose out in end and, the thing is, they won’t know it. They won’t know it because if you don’t know what’s being said, you’re powerless to take advantage of the good and/or turn a negative into a positive. It’s our job to show them what they’re missing, teach them why it can help their company/brand and ultimately find a way to measure the effects of joining in.

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

I think that their biggest challenge lies in figuring out how to make their online ad revenues higher than their print edition ad revenues so they become less dependent on the broken model of traditional advertising. Once their online revenues outweigh their offline take, they can then become more creative in finding ways to help advertisers reach consumers in more targeted ways.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Getting out of the mindset that a bigger ad spend is better. I’d love to see more advertisers just put their toe in the waters and allocate a little bit of budget towards trying to target a more qualified audience online. I just can’t get past what I truly believe: that you can never get close enough to your customers to help them, engage them and build a relationship with them through traditional advertising. Advertisers have to learn that it’s about Give + Take, not Tell + Take.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Wow, this is a tough one. I’ve basically given myself on MBA on new marketing over the last little while. Anything written by Seth Godin is a good place to start. Cow, Moo, Permission, Ideavirus, Small, etc.. But then there are the other must-reads: Cluetrain, The Tipping Point, Naked Conversations, Creating Customer Evangelists + Citizen Marketers, these are all obvious. However, if you want new marketing ideas, case studies that move away from traditional solutions, I’d have to go with Jaffe’s Life After the 30-Second Spot. It’s the new marketer’s bible.

6/ What makes your blog different?

The best compliment I’ve received about the blog came from a reader in Ottawa. He told me that he enjoys how, from time to time, I use my other interests – sports, movies, TV – to bring home some points and keep things light. Of course, I don’t do that with every post, but I do find inspiration from a broad range of sources.

So, Philippe, how’d I do?

You did great, Mark, Thanks a lot!

The concept and the questions of those interviews are copyright-free. So, if you like taking this over, I’d be glad to see upcoming interviews on another blog.

Viva la Diva

June 1, 2007


From Sidney to Atlanta… After Gavin Heaton, here comes a divine diva intervention. Toby Bloomberg kindly accepted to answer the questions of the blogger-interview series. As usual, I won’t comment the answers but feel free to do it. Toby we’re all eyes.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Phillippe. The first blog post on Diva Marketing was titled, “Pop A Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog.” It combined a brief intro about the focus of Diva, a thank you to Dana VanDen Heuvel who encouraged me to blog, a link to an article about branding and a quote of the month.

The quotes were so popular that when I redesign the skin I added the quotes as a feature on the sidebar. Every time you click into the site you see a new quote.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

What happens to people who are not part of conversations where others are discussing issues that affect them? They miss opportunities to influence their future, they miss opportunities to correct misunderstandings, they miss opportunities to develop relationships with people who are interested in similar concerns. Same thing will happen to organizations. Will they die on the vine? Probably not. Will they appear to be self absorbed and will their customers wonder where they are in the conversation? Eventually.

Way back in the ‘90’s when websites were the hot new tactic companies that launched websites were perceived as innovators. When the internet became ubiquitous websites became an expected cost of doing business and a well to establish credibility. I think that will eventually happen with social media/blog initiatives.

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

In one word – Choices.

If you define online media owners as organizations (for profits, non profits and government agencies) that use content as a strategy to provide value to stakeholders (readers) in order to achieve business outcomes .. then it is what it always was .. assuring there is fresh relevant, credible content (within an easy to navigate environment). However, add to the mix the expectations of including social media tactics, as well as, nifty Web 2.0 technology and you have a smorgasbord to choose from.

The challenge then becomes: what does your target audience really want, what is right for the brand and what is doable with your resources (time, money and people). Once you answer those questions (which marketers have always asked) the next challenge is how to form a cohesive, integrated strategy. Our job as marketers has certainly grown complex.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Making sense of the same smorgasbord of choices and in doing so determining where your target audience actually hangs out. Then of course developing the right message and creative for that media. Successful ads on blogs are very different from ads in a print publication. A video on YouTube is a far cry from a spot commercial. Consumer generated branding promotions have their own unique set of challenges. It sounds like a fun idea to ask your customers to film a little video about your product or service but it’s not as easy as it appears to put the pieces together for a successful campaign. Of course there are the risks involved of less than flattering messages, as well as, determining the right incentives to encourage participation.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Great question. Wish I had a great answer. Let’s just say I’m still waiting for it to be written.

6/ What makes your blog different?

When I launched Diva Marketing I was actually looking for a new “home.” I had developed the “diva girlfriend voice” for an online publication that closed its doors and I wanted to continue the funky, fun writing style. That voice became a signature which turned Diva Marketing into a “blog brand.” The skin of the blog was eventually designed to support the voice. With so many smart people blogging in the marketing, PR, business space I think of Diva as more of a “feature” than a “hard news” blog.

In terms of content, my focus is shifting from writing about general brand marketing to how social media/blogs can be leveraged to support marketing strategies. I also frequently include interviews with business leaders and authors. Friday Fun has become a popular post giving me the opportunity to go off topic. Oh and of course there is Max, my Westie pup who I’ve been told has a fan club in the blogosphere!

Thank you Toby!

Dial S for Servant of Chaos

May 31, 2007


I’m pleased to announce you the second (and last) blogger-interviews trilogy. Unlike Star Wars, I can assure you that the second trilogy is as good as the first. The interviewee of the day is Gavin Heaton, the Servant of chaos (If I could, I would give him the award of the coolest blog name). Gavin, the floor is yours.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

I started blogging as a way of enforcing a kind of discipline upon myself. I once wrote a lot — I have notebooks full of ideas, scribbles, poems and stories — but had stopped. And yet, the desire to write, to communicate had not wholly left me … so I began with what I was most comfortable with … a poem. My original plan was write 999 Theses … or one short idea every day for three years.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

Not all brands want or need conversation. Interestingly enough, neither do some bloggers. I am sure that there is some kind of graph available that would map the elasticity of conversation as it applies to either brand or market value on one axis and research and innovation on the other. For a brand that has a high elasticity of conversation, failure to engage your consumers in conversation can have an impact on your reputation … and eventually your sales. Technology brands fall into this category precisely because consumers expect technology companies to USE technologies to communicate. Look at your own posts on HP over the last couple of weeks … it is not like the conversation is not happening — it is simply that HP is not engaging.

I think it comes down to ethics … we hear a lot now about authenticity, but I think this is clearly a consumer-led demand for ethical behaviour. Consumers don’t mind marketing where it is handled transparently … and an ethical approach drives a deeper engagement with the brand. It builds trust. This is where conversation comes in. It opens the way for a deeper and ethical brand connection.

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

It is measurement and money. We keep trying to cobble old metrics onto new marketing channels and they simply don’t apply. The organisation that figures out how to measure the impact of online media on key business metrics will reap massive rewards.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Creating new models for communications. Many of us are still in love with the “big idea”. We want marketing to be easy and we want to use advertising as the primary tool to drive both sales and brand. But online channels (and yes, there are more than one) require an integrated approach and a comprehensive, network oriented strategy that builds momentum. We need to break out of the silos.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

I don’t actually read many business books these days … with blogging there is a real currency of ideas available, and being rather impatient, I prefer the immediacy of blogs. I also love the way that conversations build upon ideas. One of the best examples of this in action is David Armano’s series of posts on creativity and blogging influence — especially this one

6/ What makes your blog different?

Wow, that is hard question to answer! In many ways my blog is not about me … when I first started I hid behind the name of the blog. I also used to sign off each post with the letter “S” for “servant of chaos”. I also commented on other blogs as “Servant of Chaos”. Eventually I had to emerge from the shadows … when I began contributing to Marketing Profs I had to provide Ann Handley with a photograph of myself and a brief bio. Little by little I became less self conscious about “my” blog. Does this make it different? I don’t know …

Thanks Gavin!

(illustration: the Hyperbolic blogosphere, quiet a chaos)

CK – Psyche

May 23, 2007


The guest of the last chapter of the blogger-interview (first) trilogy is CK, the marketing hippie. Enjoy her answers!

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

When I first started I was so terrible at it that I deleted many posts (ha!). But my first one that I kept is my blog’s mantra. Just seemed natural to me that my blog should have one and it remains among my most popular posts. It explains how my blog is driven by (1) listening, (2) involvement and (3) ideas. The full explanation is here and I follow it everyday:

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

I have only one metric: relationships (NOT rankings). This metric drives the lessons, fulfillment and success I experience as a result of blogging. As I tell others, and tell them frequently, “Don’t focus on how well your blog is ranked, focus on the relationships you make through blogging. Rankings come and go, but relationships evolve into colleagues and friends (if you treat them with respect and care).”

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

Share. It’s the “Share Economy” (I explain it here) and media owners are going to need to share more of their assets (be it to entice new audience members or to encourage users to create more media from their assets, like parodies and the like). Media owners need to understand when they “let go,” or share, it is then that they are engaging and truly building bonds with their customers. Fear plays a big part here. But what, praytel, exists on the other side of fear? A bevy of opportunity.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Listening. They need to stop telling us what we want (yawn). They need to start listening to us tell them what we really want. Sure, it’s going to need to be a dialog, but first advertisers need to zip their lips and use their ears, not their mouths. Huge challenge but again, huge opportunity. My best advice to marketers? Listen to your markets, it’s amazing what they’ll teach you (and for free!).

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

The whole of the ‘sphere is greater than the sum of its parts…if I mention some I’ll kick myself for leaving out others. There are several on my blogroll but I add more everyday.

6/ What makes your blog different?

I cover a range of topics (e.g. strategy, tactics, social media, advertising, etc.) but will give you the words that I’ve heard from others – they find my writing smart and informative but entertaining. They feel they get to know not just best practices–but the personality behind the blog. Exactly as it should be given I’m blogging in order to share with my audience since they’re so generous to give me their time and good thoughts.

7/ Does it make a difference to be a woman?

I can’t answer this…being I’ve never been a man. I’m only afforded my (female) vantage point. I’ve certainly not been more timid than male bloggers about the subject matter I’ve posted on—and, that said, I’ve been silly, too. Actually, it’s probably because I’ve been brave + silly that readers keep coming back. You just never know what you’re gonna get on any given day (hey, the element of surprise is truly a girl’s best friend).

Thanks CK!

The free (conversation) agent

May 22, 2007


After Mack Collier, please welcome the second guest of the Blogger-interview series: Valeria Maltoni. Like I did for Mack, I publish the answers without further comments.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

My first post wasn’t on a blog at all. I started moderating the listserv for Fast Company magazine readers’ network in early 2000 and have sent many a blog-formatted messages to the group over the years. The first post on my own blog is dated September 1, 2006 and outlined what the blog would be about. It’s still valid today as it was then.

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

Success to me means keeping your promises. When I set out to start a conversation with my blog, I promised the appointment with fresh content would be daily, except Saturdays. I have kept that promise posting twice a day only on a few occasions. Part of the promise was to connect ideas and people — and I think I continue to do that.

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

Staying fresh and relevant. And understanding that co-creation and content generation can be a company’s most valuable assets. I’m not talking about leveraging, what I’m saying is that especially online, losing a certain degree of control is good for business.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Finding more ways to stop interrupting and start being part of the conversation. Maybe it means sponsoring event that make sense to their brands.

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

There are so many. I think the best blogs are those that feel genuine. They reflect the imprint of the person behind the writing, the experience of the professional sharing the advice, the spirit of someone trying new things in a transparent environment.

6/ What makes your blog different?

Me. Seriously, there is a certain quality you get from reading someone’s writing and thought process in this format that you don’t usually get in other media. Less polished means also that spontaneity leads to a stronger voice. What makes a blog different than a piece of literature, especially one coming from an organization, is that usually the blog is one voice, while the brochure is the result of a committee getting their two cents in.

7/ Does it make a difference to be a woman?

Maybe less online than in the corporate world. I do not know if the way I see the world and write about it is different because I am who I am or because I am a woman. My view is shaped by experiences that are only mine. I’m a natural connector: of information, people, ideas, internal and external, marketing and communications, sales and marketing, company and customers, etc. My space is the intersection of languages, cultures, ways of learning and doing things.

Thanks, Valeria!

Don’t hesitate to use the questions on your own blog. I’m curious to read other answers.

A walk in the viral garden

May 21, 2007

 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