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The Age of Conversation Review In AdAge.com

Advertising Age does a review of the new book ‘Age of Conversation’. I’m proud to say that I’m in the book as a one of the contributing authors (103 of them). I’ll blog more on this tomorrow at launch date for the book.

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I will say now though, that I’m proud to be a part of this great project. I hope you will support it.

Three months ago, agency execs Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton agreed to add “publisher” to their resumes. Having struck a deal with 103 authors eager to lend their two cents about today’s marketing-communications landscape, the boys feverishly compiled essays, baited a vendor and hooked a PR firm to rep the title.

On Monday, the book will be released in three formats: e-book, paperback and hardcover. Its editors won’t be raising a glass together anytime soon, however. You see, David, who hails from Des Moines, and Gavin, based in Sydney, have never met. In fact, with the exception of a single, garbled Skype exchange, they’ve never even spoken.

Welcome to the “Age of Conversation.” McLellan first conceived of the open-source literature idea after spotting a similar project, titled “We Are Smarter Than Me,” on a Wharton School of Business web site. He excitedly blogged about the concept on DrewsMarketingMinute.com, also the homepage for his branding consultancy, McLellan Marketing Group.

Here’s the complete list of authors.

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
CK
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Sacrum
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Luc Debaisieux
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Robert Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Kris Hoet
G.Kofi Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Polinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
AJ James
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman
S. Neil Vineberg

Big Brown Box Update – Over $18k Now In The Box

Just posted a new update at Big Brown Box. An online company called the Karcher Group donated about $2,100 worth of stuff to the box, including one year of free webhosting and a search report. Nice stuff, and the box will gladly accept it.

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Got anything for our big brown box? Lots of stuff in there already. Check out the blog for details.

Creativity & Ideas Come Best When You Shut Down Your Brain

How did you get your last great idea? If you’re like me, and many others, you get your best ideas during down time.

creativity.pngYou know, gardening, showering, riding a bike, driving, and um, other bathroom activities. :0

SmallBizTrends has a great blog entry with proof of this.

The latest Small Business Monitor report by American Express OPEN says that over one-third of entrepreneurs use down time — time when they are not technically working — to come up with creative ideas for business:

More than one-third of entrepreneurs (35%) report coming up with their best ideas during “down-time”. Male business owners are more than twice as likely as female business owners to come up with their best ideas on the way to work (18% vs. 7%). Women are also more likely than men to wake up in the middle of the night with ideas for their business (70% vs. 56%).

At this time of year I do a lot of gardening. I find that the time spent alone outdoors — just the plants, some red-winged blackbirds, a few moles and me — is prime time for coming up with new ideas. There’s nothing like pulling weeds or deadheading flowers to have new ideas jump into your head as if out of nowhere.

But the ideas are not really coming out of nowhere. Our subconscious and even our conscious minds are at work during down times like gardening. Sometimes down time is the only time we have to actually think about breakthrough ideas or new products or creative approaches. On a typical work day we tend to be occupied with phone calls, answering emails, meetings, writing and other specific tasks, leaving little open time. We may have to get out of the office to have unfettered time for creative thinking.

I couldn’t agree more. 100% of my best, most creative ideas come to me when I’m working out or watering the flowers. What about you?

Say “Google” Really Fast – Video

One of the best things about doing online video is that you can have a lot of fun with it. I just directed, shot and edited this short little video called “Say Google Really Fast.”

While it’s no George Lucas production, it was fun to do, and really proves that you can do entertaining and engaging video if you just think creatively. Enjoy the show.

$57k For A Video About Ketchup, Sign Me Up!

Need some more motivation to get into video? How about $57k worth? Heck, I’m thinking about commercial ideas right now. What, you don’t want to win $57k? Nice contest.

Go buy a camera today. This is just another sign that you need to do online video.

All you need is a great idea for a 30-second Heinz ketchup commercial, the most votes and “Bingo!” Fame and fortune. What are those prizes again?

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
– $57,000
– Your commercial airing on national TV
– Eternal glory

4 RUNNER-UP WINNERS:
– $5,700
– Your commercial airing on national TV

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOU HIT “SUBMIT”
Your commercial can be rejected for the following no-nos:

– The commercial isn’t 30 seconds, and nothing ticks off the TV network guys like an ad that’s too long or too short.
– The commercial contains “copyrighted material”—stuff like music or video that somebody else created and/or owns.
– The commercial contains inappropriate content that your mother may not like and we can’t show on TV.
– The commercial contains another company’s name, trademark or logo.

What Can We Learn From The Top 25 Marketing Blogs?

top25.gifMarketing blogs are very near and dear to my heart. Obviously… because I’m a marketer, and blogger, myself, go figure eh?

The Viral Garden, written by Mack Collier puts out a list of the top 25 marketing blogs every week which I like to review. It’s a good insight into what other marketers like myself are doing. What they’re blogging about… why they are successful, etc…

Recently I thought it would be fun to analyze the top 25 list to see if any similarities could be found? After all, these blogs and personalities are successful for a reason correct? Why not see what they have in common and try to learn from it?

Introducing… The Top 25 Marketing Blog Analysis.

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What Did You Measure?

I tried to get a feel for several things, from if they use a photo of themselves on their blog, to things like “Is Seth Godin in their blogroll”. :) Here’s the official list things I researched on each blog.

Do They Have RSS To Email Subscription?
Do They Blog At Their Name.com?
Are Their Ads On blog?
Does The Blogger Promote Twitter?
Does The Blogger Promote Linked In?
Is Their Phone Number Listed?
Are They A Book Author?
Do They Have Seth Godin In Their Blogroll?
What’s Their Feedburner Count?
Is There A Photo Of Themselves On Blog Home Page?
What Is Their Blog Worth?

Some interesting insights have come out of my analysis. For example…

$7,819,446: How much all the Top 25 blogs are worth collectively.

The majority of top 25 marketing bloggers don’t brand their names. For example, you’ve got guys like Mack Collier who blogs under the brand Viral Garden rather than at MackCollier.com.

Seth Godin is NOT in everyone’s blogroll as I assumed he would be. What’s up? Some of you have a problem with Seth? :)

The majority do not put ads on their blogs, and even those that do have smaller text link ads, etc… I’d like to hear more about this from the top 25. Why don’t you have ads on your blog?

WordPress and Typepad rule the roost in terms of blogging platforms used. I expected to see more Typepad users.

Top 25 marketing bloggers don’t like to give out their phone numbers too much. This is a personal thing. I give out my toll-free number, but that’s just me.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more analysis down the road. Any patterns you notice?

Traditional Advertising Models Are Collapsing… Smell The Fear!

Are you ready? Here comes more creative uses of online video. Check out this piece in the Washington Post about brand evangelism.

The traditional advertising models are collapsing. Where once there were mass media, with the audience a passive receptacle, we are moving toward what branding expert Rob Frankel calls “the masses controlling the media.” An audience empowered by hundreds of cable channels and TiVo pays less and less mind to TV ads. And the marketers, well, some might suggest they are desperate.

“You can smell the fear,” Garfield says.

Which means that smart marketers will figure out how to get the people to do much of their work for them. The big marketing story of this year’s Super Bowl was “consumer-generated advertising,” in which ordinary folks competed to help create TV spots for Doritos and Chevrolet.

And it’s not only about getting your audience involved. It can be done the other way, by creating your own engaging content that your audience wants to see.

For example, look at this site called Willitblend.com.

The kitchen appliance company Blendtec has a microsite called Willitblend.com, which functions as a laboratory of unlikely things getting pureed in Blendtec blenders, including pickled pigs’ feet and light bulbs. Users can send a note to the Will It Blend? site to suggest a new item to be blended — a shag rug, perhaps.

So very, very smart. I mean, c’mon, don’t you have to know if a video camera will blend? What about a baseball?

Man, I want one of those super blenders, don’t you?

What are you creating that is engaging? Are you concentrating your marketing efforts on building content that will grab hold of your audience?