Have some fresh Carnival of Marketing with that turkey sandwich

It’s a holiday weekend and, not surprisingly, this Carnival of Marketing installment has a little less to chew on. But there’s good stuff nonetheless. It’s been a pleasure hosting it these past two weeks, and I look forward to doing it again. If you can’t get your fill of actionable marketing news and advice from this batch, check out the leftovers — last week’s Carnival!

I’m starting off with a very personal recommendation, written in the spirit of gratitude that this holiday week engenders.

I grew up in a small town in the wooded, remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the “U.P.”), at a time when we were so cut off from the rest of the state — and the country — that many U.S. maps didn’t bother to include us. We were depicted as part of Canada. As a boy I was a bit of a runt, and not interested in sports or hunting. Instead I gravitated toward books, and they became beloved teachers and companions.

But the U.P. was a poor part of the country. Books didn’t figure prominently in a typical household. Luckily I could still feed my passion, thanks to my town’s Carnegie Public Library. Astonishingly, Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy reached deep into the mining and logging outposts of the Northwoods.

I am convinced that Mr. Carnegie’s library saved my life (if only by keeping me indoors, lest I get the tar beaten out of me). So when I was driving through my hometown on Friday, midway through a nine-hour drive to my Milwaukee home from a family celebration in Lower Michigan, there was only one boyhood landmark I couldn’t drive by without taking pause.

I pulled the car in front of the building wistfully. Long ago sold to private owners, to God knows what purpose, it has been usurped by a newer library down on Main Street. But this classically designed stone landmark still looks the same, regal and welcoming. Perhaps what’s keeping it looking so good is the psychic force of fond memories, from hopeless dorks like me, now well into middle age.

Which leads me to my first Carnival entry.

In her debut to the blog 800-CEO-Read, Rebecca Schlei recommends a business biography of this great man by David Nasaw. You’ll find it in her The Other Side entry:

[The book] Andrew Carnegie is a cross-genre event, much like the man himself. While Carnegie’s lifelong philanthropy is a major thread in the story, Nasaw also focuses on his early scoot up the corporate ladder and aggressive business practices. An advocate for disarmament, a champion of free and public libraries, a writer and a visionary, Carnegie towers — in spite of his small build — as one of the most fascinating characters in U.S. history.

Hey! He was even short like me. I like this guy more all the time.

Is trust scalable through social networking sites? Or is business guru Charles Handy right when he says that trust is too personal to be replicated through bits and bytes? Charles H. Green examines that question, along with presenting some interesting definitions of what trust is as it pertains to sales and marketing, in Charles Handy vs. Web 2.0 posted at Trust Matters.

You don’t have to be a hardcore sports fan like me [wink] to enjoy End It Like Beckham posted by Starling David Hunter at The Business of America is Business. Major League Soccer (MLS) is changing a rule about who gets to play on a team.

Nicknamed the Beckham Rule, because it would allow a team to hire such a superstar (without giving away its ability to afford to hire other players to join him on the field), this change is ultimately about getting the sport in front of more fans, and on more television sets. But will it work? Mr. Hunter is skeptical.

When it comes to feature / benefit selling, which should come first in today’s time-pressed sales environment: the features or the benefits? Jim Logan explores this in The Role of Features and Functionality posted at his company’s blog.

Using an interesting metaphor, Barry Welford suggests in Walled Gardens – The Walls Keep Tumbling Down that although some companies have adopted the Walled Garden approach to their mobile technologies and services, others are dropping this closed approach when they see the advantages of more open system. It’s posted at StayGoLinks.

Customer service is more important today than ever. So Juuso Hietalahti poses the question Is Bad Support Better Than No Support at All?, as it relates to the development of interactive games. You’ll find it on his GameProducer.Net.

Mike Murray presents The Decline of Hardball posted at Episteme: Belief. Knowledge. Wisdom. He’s referring to a book on how women can learn to compete in business using zero-sum tactics. Its revised edition recognizes that the rules of business (and Mike suggests marketing as well) have changed quite a bit since the book first came out.

Using blogging as an example, he explains, “Rather than learning to play hardball, we all need to spend more time learning to play softball – to build relationships and create connections that allow us to collaborate rather than to compete. The benefits of a relationship-based, collaborative strategy have never been more clear to me as they have been since I have started blogging … I am developing friendships with those out there who, in an age of hardball would have likely been viewed as competition.” It’s a thoughtful piece by an interesting writer.

Last but not least, Priya Jestin offers up Customer Satisfaction Online: Simple & Tough (as in difficult) posted at CRM Lowdown.

This week’s Carnival of Marketing

Welcome to this week’s edition of Carnival of Marketing. It’s my first time as host, and I’ve sifted through the many submissions to find those that offer actionable news, perspectives and advice. Those that didn’t make the cut? Let’s just say I’ve tried to leave the carnival pitchmen and women out on the midway. So, step into the tent, watch where you step, and let the carnival begin!

Do you want to market to twenty-somethings? Start by reading The Many Lessons of Scion, by ThirdWayBlog. David Vinjamuri is adjunct Professor of Marketing at NYU, and President of ThirdWay, Inc. He offers a dissection of the success of Scion, a car that most people my age think of less as a vehicle than the packing crate it came in. “Scion has excellent lessons for the modern marketer. More than many other brands targeting young adults today, Scion has understood that ubiquity and brand strength are not complementary goals and has been willing to forgo the former to gain the latter. The very brave decision to scale back manufacturing to avoid over-saturating the brand shows both the intelligence of Scion marketers as well as the commitment of Toyota executives to the brand promise.” Read on for other lessons, including one of David’s latest posts, about why Microsoft’s Zune will deservedly get creamed by the iPod. Good stuff.

Ever wondered how social causes get showcased in weekly television programs? Nedra Weinreich reports that “Getting your issue on TV is not as simple as sending a fact sheet to the producer of a show. People who are working in this field have developed relationships over time with writers, researchers, producers and others in the entertainment industry. They are trusted not to push an agenda or a specific plot line, but to provide accurate facts and ideas that writers can then weave into their storytelling.” Read about it in Social Marketing Product Placement, from her Spare Change blog.

Charles H. Green presents Advertising, Borat, Fairy Tales and Trust posted at Trust Matters, saying, “Once upon a time there was a ‘Chinese Wall’ that provided some sort of ethical boundary between marketers/advertisers and media content itself.” This excellent blog lists recent examples of where this wall has been breached, and how this trend has eroded our trust in both the storytellers and their sponsors. This is a new blog to me, and one I will be returning to often.

Here’s one that is already a favorite of mine. Kevin Hillstrom presents Williams Sonoma: Incremental Online Sales and Matchback Analysis posted at The MineThatData Blog. Marketers struggle with how best to allocate sales from one advertising channel to another. Kevin describes two popular methods.

Noah Kagan, founder of this Carnival, wonders WWSGS: What would Seth Godin say? What are the mistakes of this ad? Guess what they are, and then, buried in the comments, you’ll find what errors Noah found.

This carnival has several entries about blogging. Personally, I try not to write about the subject myself, on the grounds that my readers are mostly non-bloggers who want information without pondering how the content is delivered. Ironically, Jim Cronin’s is the best of the blog-related entries this week, with his Who Are You Blogging For? In it he offers that most fundamental marketing advice, Know your audience. It’s advice worth repeating.

Barry Welford has an interesting and carefully reasoned blog on mobile computing called StayGoLinks. In it he writes that the theme for XTech 2007 Conference, to be held in Paris in May, is The Ubiquitous Web. That is also the title of his blog entry. He explains, “The Ubiquitous Web describes efforts to ensure that all can be in touch and stay in contact with the Internet whatever device they are using, whether it be cell phone or desktop PC.” The problem in his view is there are no common standards, and his blog proposes a temporary solution, the Multi-web Practice.

Benjamin Yoskovitz has gotten several PR groups approaching him recently about endorsing books, and other products and services, in the pages of his Instigator Blog. That caused him to post this advice to bloggers: When Your Blog Gets Pitched, Pitch Back. He stresses there that, “It’s absolutely essential that you maintain the integrity of your blog and keep separate what you do for money and what you do voluntarily.”

A neighbor of mine to the south, whose name is simply Praveen, reports in his Branded Interactive Features Coming to DVDs about the use of new DVD formats to carry branded interactive games and calculators. This prolific Chicago blogger cites how Progressive Direct, the auto insurance company, has teamed up with Universal to create a “crash calculator” for the HD DVD version of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Although Praveen contributes to more blogs than I have clean shirts, he chose to post this particular news at his My Simple Trading System. Thank you, Praveen. Your many blogs are interesting and full of helpful content.

Pushpa Sathish writes that it is, “Simple logic that the person who uses the product the most [is] the best to offer suggestions for its improvement.” Is this the case with major CRM systems? CRM Lowdown: Collaborating with Your Customer to Drive Innovation posted at CRM Lowdown, explores this question.

Finally, Mister Juggles, making his parents the Juggleses proud, presents How successful has Domino’s been in bringing pooplets to market? posted at Long or Short Capital. In what may be an attempt to drive down Domino’s Pizza’s stock price, Mr. J. suggests that the pizza delivery chain is selling something that even the makers of Soylent Green would find unappetizing, “To the Drunk/Stoned market, which is known to be both price and taste insensitive.” They also laugh at anything.

That concludes this edition. I’m doing next week as well. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Marketing using this submission form. Past posts and future hosts, can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Countdown to my Carnival of Marketing winners

It’s a great idea. I’ve learned a lot from the concept, and want to give back. It’s the Carnival of Marketing. Every week a blogger volunteers to review recent marketing blogs that have valuable, actionable information, and then provide a good summary of the content with links. I can thank Noah Kagan for adapting the concept from other blog “carnivals.”

And I’m pleased to say that I’ll be hosting the Carnival during the weeks of November 19 and 26.

So here are your instructions: Be sure to return those weeks to see the juicy content I’ve accumulated for your benefit. And if you’re a fellow blogger, let me know as the dates approach of an entry that’s particularly worthy of the spotlight.

Here is the email address where you should send those entries: jlarche (at) gmail (dot) com. The Official Rules:

  1. Don’t submit an old post. The post needs to be from at least the past couple of weeks, and preference will be given to posts from the most recent week.
  2. Submit posts that are actionable. Tips that people can actually apply will almost always win out over abstract stuff. “How” beats “Why.”
  3. Submit posts that are complete. As a corollary to the above, posts that refer out to articles or other sites for more information, or that have anything to the effect of “Watch this space for more information” are going to be among the first to be cut.
  4. Don’t submit posts that are nothing more than a pitch.

That last point should be self-evident. Marketers, like other poisonous organisms, are immune to their own venom. I look forward to the submissions, and to sharing the winners starting in one month … and counting!