best of 2008

NOTICE: All the links in this post go to the old blogspot location. If you’d like to read these posts, please browse the best of 2008 tag. Thanks.
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It’s the end of my fourth year of blogging. It’s also the year with the least amount of posts as I find myself blogging less here and spending more time connecting on sites.

In what has become an annual tradition on this blog (2007, 2006, 2005), here are the best posts from the past year.

What makes these posts the best? Some got lots of traffic or lots of commentary. And some are just ones that I feel hit the mark well.

Stories
The best marketing strategy is to tell people stories they want to hear.

Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
The answer is right in front of you. You just haven’t noticed it yet.

Mass media will never win on the web
The long tail does not fit the mass media model.

The Tuned-in Minority (and related post – embedded and right)
You may be surprised at how out-of-touch you are by being so in-touch.

— Instead of flying my standard Southwest this year, I found myself on American quite a bit in 2008, and I talked about their troubles several times.

Is he dead or did he invent the Turducken?
Build a small group of dedicated followers for marketing success.
(Mmmm. Sounds alot like the premise of Tribes, just 7 months before the book. Shouda gotten a publisher. btw-did you see my picture on the inside cover of the Tribes book?)

Tweet Checks
This was the most trafficked post of the entire year as a result of the link from this article.

Customer Misservice
We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of disgruntled customers on the web.

Print Publishing and Online
The painful transition for traditional media.

Sweet Sassy Mo Lassy
A marketing lesson found in Molasses in January.

welcome to the jungle

It’s bad enough when you mess up your own publicity stunt and damage your own brand. It’s worse when you drag someone else into it.

While last week’s Dr Pepper fiasco hurt the beverage maker, Axl Rose is saying it also hurt Gn’R and is pursuing legal action.

A celebrity is a brand. Some of them have better brand management than many companies. (and some much worse) Yet, it seems to be the marketing idea du jour for companies to randomly pick a celebrity brand out of the phonebook and use it in their own marketing campaign without consultation or approval from the celeb. (See also – Taco Bell vs. rapper 50 Cent.) What it is — is lazy marketing. Instead of building traction with your own attributes, it’s easier to leech onto something else to create an artificial buzz.

Leaders of both Dr Pepper and Taco Bell (who is countersuing) have said in official statements in response to lawsuits from the celebs that they can’t understand why Axl and 50 can’t just take the events in the “fun” they were intended.

What if I started using Dr Pepper’s and Taco Bell’s brand assets to market my business? A chihuahua that appeared on stage with me at speaking engagements. A book entitled the “23 Flavors of Marketing”. I wonder if they think that would be “fun” or would their lawyers attack me with a cease and desist?

the most annoying banner ad of all time

Here’s one of my online marketing rules. Audio that auto-plays on a website is bad. The main reason is simple. Studies show that the majority of web browsing is done at the workplace. Auto-play audio alerts fellow cube dwellers or the Bobs that they’re slacking. They surf off the site when you disturb the peace.

Personally, I just like my web silent. If I want to hear something, I’ll unmute my speakers and hit play. Thanks.

The most annoying of these auto-play audio ads are when a “person” tries to talk to me in an one-to-one manner.

Alltel is currently running a skyscraper with their publicly-hated spokesdude, Chad. Instead of clicking, the ad’s audio goes live when you mouse over.

So I’m on a website and I accidentally mouse over the Alltel ad and Chad starts talking. I see there’s a volume control on the ad and I click it. It mutes Chad. Chad stops talking and looks up at the volume control and looks back at me with a hurt look on his face. Then he starts talking again (muted) and keeps looking between me and the volume control shrugging his shoulders and looking hurt and confused. This goes on the entire time I’m on the page reading the material I came for.

And the whole hurt act annoyed me even more than the sound being on. So much so that I grabbed the attached screenshot to use in this post.

No Chad, I don’t want to hear your pitch. The whole ad represents the main problem that ALL marketers have trying to reach an audience. Not everyone wants to hear your company’s marketing spiel. No one really cares about your marketing except you and your agency (maybe).

I’m sure the Alltel ad wizards thought it would be a cute way to work the creative with a target who wants to disengage. But at what cost? Seems the public hates Chad. Why give them even more reasons to hate him?

Don’t look hurt, Chad. Just don’t place an annoying audio banner ad in front of me. And let’s keep it down in here.

BTW: If you google the phrase i hate alltel, you’ll find that this post that I wrote back in 2005 is the top result. In fact, that post is also consistently one of the most trafficked posts on the entire blog. When I look at my stats, I try to ignore its effects on keyword searches and overall traffic. So I’m interested in how this post will affect all that.