One thing you notice if you’ve been blogging a number of years- there are a lot of marketing bloggers out there. Tons of them. And they’re all very, very interested in the blogging medium.
Why is this the case? Blogs are cool, sure, but it’s not like they cure cancer or anything. It’s not like they’re going to soon replace Superbowl ads or anything.
I think Seth said it pretty well to me the other day: “The web is a giant compiler for marketers. You can experiment here for less money, in less time, than anywhere else. If Al Gore hadn’t invented it, I’d be seriously bummed out.”
Yesterday, while Johnnie Moore, Mark Earls and I were recording a podcast, Johnnie came up with a wonderful metaphor to describe this phenomenon.
He told Mark and me about being 12 years old in science class. To demonstrate that yes, indeed, a stick of celery is full of capillaries, even if you couldn’t see them with the naked eye, the science teacher dipped the end of a stick of celery into a beaker of blue ink. An lo and behold, the kids watched in amazement as the ink traveled up the celery capillaries, turning the rest of the green celery stalk into blue.
Suddenly that which could not be seen before, could now clearly be seen. Glaringly so.
I think that’s why we like blogs. We get to actually see stuff working, for real, here and now, on the “Live Web”. We get to watch the metaphorical marketing ink travel through the capillaries. Which is very unlike the murky, vague, advertising-centric marketing world a lot of us grew up with. So of course we’re excited. Kudos to Johnnie for explaining it so well.
[Update: Johnnie posted the podcast here.]
How good to read about the power of a story (you called it metaphor) to impact, even when that story is about grade-school science. That is why, in the midst of Web 2.0, that I am a storyteller. Yep.
Hmmm… I think there’s a HUGE piece missing out of this. I don’t think money has anything to do with it… great marketers recognize that the key to building patronage and retaining customers is building a relationship.
Pre-web marketing never allowed us to do that… print media didn’t provide enough space, television enough time. Billboard and other mediums also didn’t connect.
Marketers love blogs because they afford us the opportunity to build relationships with others. We always know that that was the key to marketing. It’s the key to marketing ourselves and the key to marketing products and services.
As well, we can see the results in real time and utilize that data to adjust accordingly. No other medium allows for that. Marketers don’t mind spending money, but we’d rather work on getting results. That’s what blogs have done for us!
I agree with you it’s not a question of money.
In fact, from a marketer’s position, I evaluate a (corporate) blog to be quite an expensive investment, both to start and to maintain active, attractive and fresh.
Ideally it should be the relationship that should drive marketers to build and publish blogs. Unfortunately they sometimes do not get the whole idea from the beginning or they mistakenly take blogs as distribution channels for more or less formal press releases.
Hugh, I think that the number 1 advantage of corporate blogs (and of those marketers that now the art of doing these blogs right) is the chance to listen to the customers and react in a positive and constructive way.
Damn, Hugh, but that cartoon makes me laugh.
Very apt story and useful image and metaphor … transparency in action, as it were 😉
Listening, seeing, understanding and responding in useful ways, to create more meaning for any given person, is what marketing “should” be about.
It will indeed be interesting to see what forms it takes and with what dynamics in another decade or so.
That Johnnie is a clever fellow.