Saturday, January 12, 2002

Man, we're getting customized now! Check out our newly designed Five Fish Blog Award, courtesy of Fish Rush!
I live in spam city anyway... I get information on how to make a million bucks, how to improve my private parts, how to lose weight, where to buy fruit trees, zillions of messages from folks who have me on a list and are playing a bulk mail numbers game. So, a few more spams don't bother me. I'm lightning quick on the delete key. But I did read somewhere about a javascript scrambler that leaves the mailto: link functional for email porpoises, but baffles bots that are crawling the site for email addresses. Check this link and scroll down to ASS Maker (I'm not making this up... stands for Anti-Spam Script Maker). That said, I'd rather have my Sandhill Trek blog address linked at the bottom of the post than my email, because I have a target of getting as many as 2 hits a week on the blog, so it doesn't hurt to get it out there wherever possible. I was pleased as punch when Locke linked me, but unfortunately none of the other local digerati seem to have followed suit. Norlin?!? Where are ya? What about a link for your homey? I s'pose it helps that I have spent $ (US) on Locke's Literary Products and have also bowed and scraped him (actually cavilled in fact) here in cyberia. The more links that the blog gets, the more likely I am to find honest work someday and be able to feed the homeless orphans who sleep in my barn, not to mention providing them with a few sticks of kindling. I don't worry to much about feeding Fang. He seems able to live off the land...

I bought the damn Clue Train book with the rants and screeds... Amazon sez both books shipped today. Now that I've actually paid for a copy of Clue Train, maybe I can guilt trip one of those co-authors into some gratuitous blog rolling.
Another question during this intermission, brought to you courtesy of me. Marek J. mentioned that maybe having our emails linked at the end of our posts is not the best idea on the planet and perhaps what's responsible for the increasing spam we've all been getting. He suggested having our little signature line at the end of the posts link to our blogs instead (like, i *might* be able to figure out how to do that). I'm thinking maybe the spamola is coming from the Team List I added to the left nav bar? I wanted to feature everyone on our team, but perhaps the team links should go to everyone's blogs instead of the emails? Problem with that is, most of them are already linked in the Blog Bog... Oh hell, I don't know, but if you have any ideas or phobias, post em. If there's not an outcry one way or the other, things will just stay as they are.

it's raining and crappy here in geawgia today.

Have a favor to ask, team. If you stop by RGE on Saturday before Midnight, take a trip over to and check out the Funk/Soul/R&B track of the day from LeadBelly. My husband produces (and lends his nimble bassist fingers) to the band. I'm not sure how the number of downloads/listens figures into their popularity contest over there, but I suspect that it does--and it sure can't hurt. (After midnight, you can still listen, but the tune's run as track of the day will be over.) Rock on.

Friday, January 11, 2002

meme to your mother

Well, it's been an exciting week here in the wonderful world of blogsnia for me. First, my copy of Bombast transversed its way across three states to my doorstep (you can follow its journey a few posts back). Holy Crap I really did make it on the back cover, an honor I haven't found a way to thank RB for yet. Suggestions are welcome. The more twisted the better. I was so thrilled I got weak kneed over the whole thing. I haven't dug in to the book yet, I've been too busy Bombasting in the glory. But this weekend it's me and the book.

AND the fun doesn't end there.

Yours truly is officially noted as propagator #1 of a bonafide movement in blogwear. According to Gary Turner, a great blogger and now famous creator of, my use of his "Blog Is a Four Letter Word" sticker over on Allied was the first Interblog use of one of his now highly-sought-after BlogStickers. How cool is that??? (Notice, I added one to our illustrious blog as well. I hope you like the choice.) [a post post note: gary made that sticker special for us, in what he calls our "team colors"!]

That's all for now. Gotta go pay some attention to the rest of my life now.
The seed catalog arrived! Actually lots of seed catalogs have arrived but Gurney's came via email. My wife and I have different last names so our house is a junk mail magnet. Seed catalogs are either junk mail or precious reminders of spring, depends on your mood. But when Henry Fields, Gurney, Shepherd's, Burpee, Park and Stokes hit your snailmailbox at the same time, each addressed individually (net two each equals a dozen) you're reminded of marketing run amok. Gurney's sent me an ad for apple trees. They must know that even Fang can't keep the antlered vermin out of the orchard and that each year we lose a few trees to buck rub and a lot of low branches to winter nibbling. Means I need info on trees, and I'm happy to buy mail order via the web or the catalog. Can't find Gala apples or multiple grafted trees at the local nurseries for these prices.

Yet, the scourge of push mail marketeers, the seed dealers, have found their way onto the web and are busy spamming their customers. What's a po' farmer boy to do? I know what Rageboy would do, but I don't have a 50 caliber sniper rifle with a starlight scope, much less the airborne firing position.
Damn! - That was supposed to say: "Rome wasn't burnt in a day."

I need a proof-reader.
Hooolaaaa! I think that Clay has some good points. I'm not sure that there is a conclusive answer to them either, especially since Clay's arguments have been focussed on the quantitative aspects of the debate, whereas the responses (somewhat at cross-purposes) have been seemingly focussed on the qualitative.

I guess that, rather than trying to rebutt, I'd simply make a couple* observations:

1. GM describes and to some degree anticipates, a trend whereby broadcast advertising loses efficacy, precisely because it has no inherent connection to, respect for, or engagement with, it's audience. (You could even say target market. I for one have never wanted to be anyone's target - except maybe Cher's, but then I'm just perverse that way!)

This is not to say that broadcast advertising suddenly ceases to work at all - as the saying goes, Rome wasn't burn't in day - but it's efficacy relative to other approaches suffers, particularly as its audience/target market grow increasingly aware. This awareness encompasses self-awareness, awareness of others experience, as well as awareness of the practices and deceptions of traditional broadcast advertising. All of these growing awarenesses are nurtured and fertilised** by the nature of the web.

Not to demonise advertising, where I am sure that honesty does exist, but full and frank disclosure is not exactly the first thing that springs to mind when someone mentions the industry.

2. Further to other more learned responses below, I'd factor in the notion that no-one is an M of only one MM. Each of the M's of the hypothetical 100-M MM's is also an M of any number of other MM's. Cross fertilisation thus adds a fractal dimension to micro-market conversations that tends to make a mockery of the one-dimensional view of target markets adopted by traditional broadcast marketing methods.

Yes, every student of economics (even a dillettante like me) should understand that simplifying assumptions are often necessary for human comprehension. Still, if you simplify too much reality out of the equation you run the risk of ending up simply irrelevant. Does that ring any bells? Does it perhaps explain why most people feel simply insulted and revolted by most such advertising?

3. Speaking of which, you mention costs of acquisition, but then you discuss products like Coke (I assume you mean Coca Cola? ;-)) where these can hardly be measured? It's not like anyone is a passionate Coke customer. Not anyone sane, anyway? People drink when they're thirsty, and usually whatever that's to hand that is wet and preferably not immediately lethal. Yes, preference plays a part in the selection, but I'd argue that any existing preference owes far more to the efforts of the production people than to the advertising/marketing folks. And if such a preference is already established then acquisition costs are no longer relevant.

Perhaps GM is more relevant to customer retention? I know quite well, for example, how the profitability of a customer grows as the length of the relationship grows. At least in the financial circles where I have spent some of my former working lives.

Constantly acquiring new customers, and particularly where it is your method of acquisition and its resultant disappointment that pisses them off, is NOT the best way to spend your marketing budget. This is why churn is such a major consideration for companies that want to do business with you more than once.

4. I think that you've also missed one of clockies' points, which is: that broadcast advertising doesn't work on the web. The attempts to make it do so, on a medium which is inherently bidirectional (as TV and print are not) is what has made the vast majority of it (the web) into crapola.

The net is inherently open and conversational, by intent, by design, and in its operations. Trying to force-fit it into the exclusive (not to mention exclusionary) uni-directional model of broadcast advertising cannot be the height of wisdom.

Complaining afterwards that "no-one knows how to make money on the net" is also suspect, since it assumes that everyone is a clueless*** broadcast advertising wonk.

*OK, four is more than a couple, but it started out as only two - honest!

**Did you like that? I thought it was kinda cool, since the web is admittedly mostly shite.

***Where the net is concerned

Well it ain't what you dance
It's the way you dance
It ain't what you move
It's the way you groove.
--The Spinners

Thursday, January 10, 2002

And, the marketers are starting to take Hernani's points to heart. Look at network television, the pinnacle forum for mass-market advertising. As TV critic David Bianculli recently observed on NPR's Fresh Air (Jan. 4 show, Real Audio file available here), "On broadcast TV meanwhile, they're taking at least a few lessons from cable...[O]n all the networks, quirky, entertaining new shows - such as Undeclared, Scrubs, Alias and Smallville - are succeeding by thinking more like cable. Instead of trying to program shows that will appeal to everyone, the networks are presenting well-made series that are more likely to please some of the people some of the time. And in this new century, in this era of narrow casting and a fragmented TV universe, that's really the best way to succeed." Whether or not you agree that Mr. Bianculli's examples are "entertaining" or "well-made," there's no denying they depart from what has come to be the mainstream, and the Gonzo Marketing ramifications are clear. If even the media conglomerates are starting to recognize and program for narrower markets, sponsors had better take heed as well. If they don't, they'll miss the chance to connect with viewers intrinsically drawn to their product or service, while paying for spots that will be shown to entire audiences who probably could care less (think VasoRect and The Screen Savers - she deadpanned).
Hahahaha, Clay... I got it right now. My excuse is that my english is a shit (sic). Thanks to clear it. OK, but I cannot change the foccus. Actually you have agreed that “Gonzo is a better way to reach those markets that are already micromarkets”. But the micromarkets are not static. It´s quite dinamic and it´s growing like the web. The markets fragmentation are the reality in the traditional markets too. The companies tried to divide it in niches. But I doesn´t work properly. And in the Web enviroment it does´t work at all (It´s not a mass media).
You talk about Jelly. But who cares? Just the manufacturer. Nobody wants to talk about Jelly.(Ok, cars are a better subject to create a debate).The traditional branding concept doesn´t matter anymore. Gonzo Marketing is an anti marketing idea. Advocates to the markets. Not to the corporation. If you want to deal with the markets you need to deal with people who are developing it. The markets are getting intelligent enough for the traditional way to marketing. Think Priceline.
What I think GM lacks is a focus as to where it can be used.

Arnold, this is the thing that's been itching at the back of my mind since I saw clocke give a talk on the subject. (And for Hernani, GM == Gonzo Marketing, not General Motors.) It seems to me that without metrics, Gonzo Marketing might be effective, but it will be hard to show that it is efficient.

If I am called in to improve sales of Jell-O® brand gelatin with effective marketing, that's a cake walk -- we just tape a $10 bill to every 79 cent box, and that Jell-O® will be flying off the shelves. Pretty effective. If, however, I have to improve sales with efficient marketing, then I have to sell more Jell-O® with less money than is being spent now. I don't know the actual statistics, but at a guess, their cost of customer acquisition is~$1 per person, so I'm skeptical that Jeneane can get all those Tangerine-crazed moms in the doors for $25K.

It seems to me that where Gonzo works is precisely those places where it is very expensive to reach a customer, who will then take the time to think through whether or not to buy. Ford will probably spend ~$100-$200 per person who test drives an Explorer. That's a lot of someone's time to engage in a real conversation with car lovers, who tend to the Gonzo-receptive characteristics of passion. $1 per person for Jell-O®, on the other hand, does not buy a lot of anybodies time, and since it isn't a considered purchase and doesn't inspire a lot of passion, it (and other mass market goods with its characteristics) aren't a good target for Gonzo.

So though Sonambulistic Promotional Prose only beats Gonzo as long as broadcasting continues to serve up results, I think that period will be functionally forever for goods that require markets of > 1 million p.a., because the scaling characteristics of broadcast are superior to those of Gonzo. Put another way, Gonzo is a better way to reach those markets that are already micromarkets, but I doubt that subdividing mass macromarkets into micromarkets can be done more cheaply for the same effectiveness than the current system.
Welcome to the paradox of technology Jeneane, the faster it does things for you the slower it seems to be because expectations are higher!

Now as far as measurements are concerned, Clay, of course you'll know that there aren't any ( or very few) in the traditional sense. That's why I personally believe that most large corporate entities won't use Gonzo Marketing to any great extent. (Sorry Chris). One of the most enduring myths of business is the world class company.I have worked for several supposedly market leaders and from the inside out they are a rat's nest of petty politiking and back-stabbing. The number of people who actually know what they are doing is limited.

I agree with your assesment of Gonzo Marketing versus SPP. But that only holds while broadcasting continues to serve up results.

The measurements I am talking about are the ones that actually serve those creative people that are actually doing the work in the big companies. I believe that the "Gut Feel" ís still the most important tool is business. When you know something is right, but can't pull out the stats to prove it. Whether you want to call that a measurement is I suppose debatable.

Othere than that I think your assessment is a very good criticism of GM. What I think GM lacks is a focus as to where it can be used. I don't believe it is univerally applicable.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Where did your copy of The Bombast Transcripts ship from?

And now... for a short break in the Shirky action....


Amazon shipped my copy of the Bombast Transcripts from Campbellsville, Kentucky at 7:11:48 on January 7th. Did I say copy? I meant copies. I ordered four of those mothers. What do you think clocke was doing at 7:11:48 EST, when his book shipped to me? I’m guessing he was dreaming about the fun he had at those rant parties “back in the day,” or listening to the needle go thump-thump-thump at the end of the Dire Straits album he never turned off the night before. Yah, I’m betting it’s the album, not the CD.

And as he slept, my Bombasts traveled north to Lexington, then later that day, south, to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they hit the dock near midnight. They were tired, you know? Lots of miles already—just hanging in their air-bubble wrap, wondering why they didn’t just go straight from Cambellsville to Knoxville and skip the northward detour to Lexington altogether.

On the 8th of January, it was off again from Konxville at 3:20 in the morning. Who the hell put these things on the truck at 3:20 in the morning? God bless them, whoever they were. My Bombasts then fled south from Tennessee to Georgia, where they reached Pleasantdale, Georgia at 8:00 that morning.

Now here’s the kicker. I’ve never heard of Plesantdale although it’s apparently right in my sweet little Metro Atlanta area. The other kicker—my bombasts sat in Pleasantdale until 9:34 that night. Shit, it took the less than 24 hours for them to make a tour around the state of Kentucky, through Tennessee, and come to rest in Georgia. And now they’re sitting about 20 miles from my house for a whole day? I have a good mind to go to Pleasantdale and get them. I wish the guys who put them on the truck in Konxville at 3 in the morning were working in Pleasantdale.

I’m hoping that tomorrow they’ll travel northward again, to the teeny tiny town of Acworth, where I am waiting so anxiously I have just demolished a box of these new Kool Stuf (which can only be pronounced “kool stoof”) Oreo toaster pastries. Have you had these things yet? Holy cow, they are some of the best stoof I’ve ever had in the sweets department. They hit you like no-doze too. I’m good for four hours of writing on a packet of those kool stoofs, which are for all intent and purposes, pop-tarts, but Nabisco’s big bad branding guys knows better.

Got Yours?

Monday, January 07, 2002

In short they won't accept the measurements it produces.

This is what I'd like to understand more of. What measurements does it produce?
Happy New Year. Straight into it after a long lay-off...

It is not so much the financial maths that is the main limiting factor it is more a question of relinquishing control. The marketing department in yer standard corporate monolith is not going to give the control of their brand away. It is a question of ownership. They own it and they will continue to want to own it, no matter how much they talk about the brand being a representation of employees blah, blah etc.

A related point is that corporate culture depends on bean counting. That's why broadcast media is tailor-made for these types of companies. You punt your message out through three or four kinds of channels and then measure the results. With micromarketing you can measure results but you can't assign an increase or decrease to a particular action or set of actions. That makes 'em nervous. If you can't measure it, it doesn't exist. As a corollory - if you can't measure it, you don't exist.

That is not to say however, that the results of Gonzo Marketing can't be measured. But imagine this scenario: you are presenting the latest sales results to the VP of Worldwide Widget Sales (which incidentally are going very welll because you have started talking to your customers instead of shouting at them). When all of a sudden he asks how you know it is your fine new marketing tool that has achieved such spanking sales.You pause, cough and point to your bursting in-tray. "Because my customers tell me so", you venture. Ah, but what about the focus groups, and all the other paraphrenalia? Don't have any? Goodbye.

In short they won't accept the measurements it produces. One thing these påeople don't like to be is nervous. GM is a loose cannon (as they would say) Don't know when it is going to go off.