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Showing posts from 2006

Toward a Code of Ethics for Marketing Consultants

My philosophy of consulting has always been that 1) I want every client to remain a (satisfied) client for as long as possible, and 2) I want every ex-client to be referenceable. To me, that seems common-sensical enough, but I'm disgusted by how many outside vendors don't share that approach to clients, whether through price gouging, incompetence, non-responsiveness, or just plain dishonesty. It's not that there's a shortage of ethical codes, just a shortage of adherence to them. Codes abound, from ethical guidelines for management consulting and  search engine optimization , public relations and blogging. My personal contribution to the genre would be: - Start with an honest assessment of your strengths. No single individual can be good at everything, even with a narrowly-defined area such as website design . Accept projects only in your strength areas; you'll be more likely to avoid delivering poor quality work. - Develop a network of talented people in

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me You Might Want To Know

Ardath Albee at the Marketing Interactions blog tagged me , so in the Christmas spirit, I'll play the game. 1. I biked to Canada with my oldest brother when I was 15. That's biked in as 10-speed, not motorcycle. 920 miles in eight days. 2. My wife and I like to joke that we are both "perfect 10s" -- I was the tenth child out of ten, she was the tenth out of 11. Yes, our holidays are insane, with intimate family gatherings that are about the size of Cleveland. 3. I worked my way through college cooking at and managing an Italian restaurant. I still enjoy whipping up a couple of the recipes I developed there -- chicken lasagna with cheddar sauce, and seafood lasagna with white sauce. 4. My summer car (and perpetual project) is a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. It's a two-door 5-passenger vehicle that's longer than my wife's SUV (an extended one with the third seat). I've thought of painting it gray with a white stripe down the middle and letti

Perfecting The Art Of Defining Your Micromarket

Many companies, particularly smaller firms, struggle to properly define their target micromarket properly. The natural temptation is to spread efforts widely so as not to miss any possible prospects. For example, one company I worked with said it "focused" on eight (!) vertical markets. You can focus on one, two, possibly even three things simultaneously -- but not eight. The practical result of a "scattershot" approach is that the best prospects are inadequately communicated to, resulting in wasted marketing efforts and dollars, a mushy message, and an inordinately difficult sales process. By carefully defining and focusing efforts on a micromarket and using the proper micromedia to reach it, companies not only reduce wasted marketing spending but can also finely tune their messages to have the greatest impact on their target market, as opposed to producing lowest-common-denominator prose designed to appeal to a wide variety of prospects, and thereby being of l

Adding Social Networking Links to Your Blog

Happening across Blogs Are Like Pliers on the One by One Media blog , I noticed two things: 1) these guys are pretty smart, and 2) the social networking links across the bottom of each post are cool. Where did they get them? It didn't take long to find the Social Bookmark Link Creator . This handy tool enables you to add links to a variety of social bookmarking sites to each of your blog posts in Blogger, Wordpress, or MoveableType. I'm guessing it works best with Wordpress. In Blogger, the tool only allows you to add text links to social bookmarking sites, and even then, it took some experimentation to get the links to show up in the right place without breaking my template. It also only provides instructions for creating a vertical list; if you prefer a horizontal list -- which I think looks better -- you'll need to add "&nbsp" between the links to keep them from running together. I tried adding social bookmark icons from the ExplodingBoy blog , but c

Marketing in Reverse How To Handle Returns

Marketers promote products, and sales professionals sell them. Understandably, both groups focus on a one-way flow of products -- out the door and into the hands of customers. Little thought is given to the messy problem of products coming back in the door through returns; that's an operations problem. But while marketing generally isn't, and shouldn't be, in charge of the reverse logistics process, it definitely needs to be involved. First, returns are a big issue. According to Forbes , "up to 7% of an enterprise’s gross sales are captured by return costs," amounting to a staggering $100 billion per year in the U.S. alone. Return rates vary by product and type of retailer/distributor, from about 5% in consumer electronics, to 15% on average for computer manufacturers, and up to 30% for book publishers. Second, proper returns handling is important to marketers. As Multichannel Merchant magazine points out in this article , "handling merchandise returns i

Business Blogs: PR Tool or Marketing Tool?

While working on a PR and marketing plan recently, the question came up: are blogs more of a PR tool or a marketing medium? Seems like an interesting question, yet there has been surprisingly little written about it. "Blog marketing" outscores "blog PR" on a Google search by a margin of about five to two, and you'll find four times as many books about blog marketing at Amazon as you will about blog PR. However, (which has a very nice list of blog directories and aggregators, by the way) lists about three times as many blogs devoted to PR as focused on marketing. InternetNews predicted a couple of years ago that blogging would make corporate PR and marketing obsolete, but clearly that hasn't happened yet. __________________________________________________________ This post sponsored by Marketing Tools from VerticalResponse Create professional HTML Email and printed Postcard campaigns in minutes right from your browser. No technical ex

Try Base Camp To Achieve All Your Goals

Marketers have projects. So unless you're one of those rare individuals who can not only keep a multitude of details straight in your head, but also magically keep your team on the same page with your brain, you need project management tools. Base Camp is a reasonably-priced (there's even a free version) online project management collaboration tool that's worth checking out, despite a few quirks and shortcomings. Base Camp, first recommended to me by John Sundberg, president of Kinetic Data , is great for coordinating the efforts of inside people and outside vendors (graphic artists, writers, agencies, web developers, etc.), and is particularly helpful for marketing consultants and contractors who need a practical, affordable project management solution. It offers a useful set of project management features: - To-do lists with task assignment - Milestones with date assignment and automatic e-mail notification as due dates approach - An online document/message creatio

How to Increase Traffic to Your Website

Two words -- valuable content. As Mike Kaselnak, CEO of Hoard Client Systems wrote in response to my recent RainToday article How To Build Website Traffic With Content , "The days of trying to trick the search engines are over. Content is King!" Actually, neither search engines nor people are fooled anymore by tricks with hidden text or metatags. What's more, human visitors expect more from business websites than just product details (marketing), "about us" pages, and a list of your office locations. People want to do business with companies that are smart and helpful, and they expect companies to not only say that on their websites, but prove it by offering content that helps users solve problems, or gives them a one-stop source for information they would otherwise have to scan several sites to retrieve. What kind of content? Items such as newsfeeds, white papers, blogs, podcasts, reports, book reviews, glossaries, and (truly useful) directories are all gen

Using Podcasting and Online Video to Improve Your Business Communications

Curious about what podcasting can do for your business? Check this out. The experts at Twin Cities marketing agency Provident Partners are offering a hands-on presentation and workshop on video and podcasting. This session will save you time and help you understand how new-media formats such as audio podcasts and digital video are being used as powerful tools in the marketing mix. The seminar will be led by Albert Maruggi , who's been recognized by ClickZ and many other sources for his expertise in new media. He is among the first marketers in the country to actively host a regular podcast, the Marketing Edge, and he advises dozens of organizations on new-media strategies. The seminar will cover topics such as how podcasting works, how to develop podcast content, how to measure podcasting results, using podcasting in your marketing mix, and the PR opportunities of podcasting. Details of the seminar: Thursday, November 30, 2006 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 790 Cleveland Ave. S., S

Want To Participate In A Survey? Lead Generation for Professional Services

The experts in professional services marketing at RainToday are conducting a survey among professional services firms regarding lead generation. All survey participants will receive a complimentary executive summary of the final report (due out around January), as well as 50% off the group's current research report, “How Clients Buy: The Benchmark Report on Professional Services Buying and Selling from the Client Perspective” in the RainToday store. Click here to participate in the study. The current report addresses services selling challenges in a variety of vertical segments (e.g. accounting, legal services, information technology consulting, marketing) and answers questions such as: - What can you do during the business development process that will have the most influence on the decision maker? - Which methods are buyers most likely to use to identify professional service providers? - Do buyers attend seminars, conferences, and webinars (and, if so, how do they find o

The Last Word on E-Words and Ewords

In response to this comment to my previous post on web writing standards (capitalizing "Internet," "web site" vs. "website," etc.), here is the consensus (such as it is) on e-words. According to Google Fight , "e-mail" wins over "email" by roughly a 5-3 margin. Spellweb also uses Google searches as the authority, favoring "e-mail" over "email" by a 3-2 margin. Meryl's Notes Blog comes down firmly in the middle ("It's a toss up!"), though she insists that "web site" is two words. However, Professor Donald Knuth of Stanford argues for "email" - "Newly coined words of English are often spelled with a hyphen, but the hyphen disappears when the words become widely used." agrees, citing Google searches as the authority. Slashdot had an incredibly active forum discussion on the topic that seemed to settle on "e

Social Networking - On Second Thought...

No sooner had I posted about skepticism surrounding social networking than iMedia Connection comes out with this article , containing detailed reviews of 11 popular social networking sites and mini-reviews of 13 more. In fairness however, the problems noted in the last post here pertained mostly to B2B sites: of the 24 social networking sites reviewed by Kibibi Springs , only three -- LinkedIn , Ryze , and Spoke -- are B2B-oriented sites. In the same issue of iMedia Connection, John Tawadros of search engine marketing firm iProspect makes the case for social networks being just another form of search marketing. He points out that "whether you like it or not, your brand is probably already a topic being discussed. What's scary is that you have no control over it. You can't run that online content through the creative department, or the brand team or the legal folks. You just have to grin and bear it. But you don't necessarily need to be afraid of unfavorable conten

Social Networking may not be All That

The theory behind social networking, often positioned as a key element of Web 2.0 , seems simple and powerful: instead of buying into "marketing hype" about a product or service, or the canned references of an individual, one can get honest opinions from independent, unbiased sources about the quality and reliability of a company, product, service, or person. Put another way, you might not select a plumbing contractor because he has a big ad in the yellow pages, but if Aunt Mabel recommends him, then he must be okay. Social networking is a way to get the opinions of a lot of Aunt Mabels at once. But what if it doesn't turn out that way? What if the most -recommended contractors on Angie's List turn out to be the ones that already have the biggest Yellow Pages ads? What if the most highly-rated products on epinions are the ones already backed by huge national advertising budgets? What if the most commonly tagged blogs on are the ones written by "hou

A Consensus for Inconsistency

Writing in standardized language -- terms that we can all agree on -- is important for effective communication, as well as to avoid looking like an idiot. Over time, standards are defined that enable us to communicate in a consistent fashion. For example, we'd all agree that "playhouse" is a noun while "play house" is a verb. Some standards in our language seem eminently sensible, while others are absurd to the point of becoming one-liners, such as " Why isn't phonetic spelled like it sounds? " The Internet (internet?) has introduced a boatload of new terms into our language, many of which still aren't standardized. Since we've been online ( not "on line" or "on-line" ) for over a decade now, I thought I might be able to discover and share some proper web writing standards. But it turns out there is still considerable disagreement over the correct way to capitalize and abbreviate several common terms, so the following is

More Lessons from the Guru of Podcasting

I needed one paragraph on podcasting for a longer article I was working on for a marketing publication. Being that I know as much about podcasting as Wal-Mart knows about high fashion , I called on Albert Maruggi , head of marketing and PR agency Provident Partners , and increasingly famous podcasting guru. Here's a bit of his wisdom: - Podcasts don't have to be short, despite what some people will tell you . Although they can be used as short "teasers" to get people to ask for more information, they can also be used effectively for longer format presentations such as multi-participant roundtable expert panel discussions or audio white papers. - The name "podcast" is a misnomer - they should be called "netcasts," as many executives choose to listen to them at their desks. They don't have to be downloaded to an iPod or other MP3 player. - That said, the podcasting format does give your content wings by freeing the listener from their computer.

Guaranteed Web Traffic

On behalf of an advertising client, I recently launched a campaign with one of those "guaranteed Web site traffic" services. We were initially going to try MegaWebPromotion , but reconsidered after reading this forum discussion . So, we opted for Blazing Traffic , which promised 20,000 targeted visitors for only $26 (I should have been suspicious when a $16 upcharge was required to get English language visitors ; given the narrow niche-market nature of the site, the ability to read English is an awfully minimal requirement for "targeted visitors"). At about a quarter of the way through the test, here are the results: overall site traffic up a whopping 2% (within rounding error). Conversions: flat. Incremental revenue: 0. In fairness to the folks at Blazing Traffic, a couple of measures of visitor quality (average time spent on the site and percentage of visitors adding the site to their favorites) rose slightly -- though it isn't really possible to tell if t

The Web's Largest Guide to Marketing Publications

If you market to marketers and want to get the word out about your products or services -- or in your quest for marketing knowledge you just want to assure that you aren't overlooking important but obscure sources of information -- check out the new directory of Advertising and Marketing Trade Publications on WebMarketCentral. The genesis for this page was some client research on publications that target direct and catalog marketers. I figured there would be one place on the Web where I could find all of the publications in this category. Instead, I found nearly a dozen directories of marketing and advertising trade publications -- none of them comprehensive or helpfully categorized, and all missing important publications while including dead or inappropriate links. On some projects, you do the best you can in the time available, accepting imperfections (hmmm, several releases of Windows come to mind). On others, you try to take as much time as you can to get it right. I tried to

How to Write an Effective Email Newsletter

This post has been moved to How to Write an Effective Email Newsletter on the Webbiquity blog. ***** Terms: effective newsletters, successful newsletters, how to write an email newsletter, customer newsletters, prospect newsletters, reducing unsubscribes The Internet marketing business portal: Contact Tom Pick:

How to Sell, Where to Buy

The professional services marketing experts at RainToday will be hosting a valuable Webinar on " How to Lead Masterful Sales Conversations " October 5th and 10th. The seminar is designed to help sales and marketing professionals engage in productive conversations with prospects, avoid common mistakes, and move the conversation forward toward new business generation. Shifting gears, the selection on the Top Marketing Books page at WebMarketCentral had been getting a bit stale; it has now been completely updated with new titles such as Blogwild! by Andy Wibbels and (gotta love this title) How to Sell to an Idiot by John Hoover. There is also a new Web marketing store on the site where you can shop for useful Web marketing software and cool hardware. More content I think you'll find interesting will be added to the site soon, and posted about here as soon as it is up. ***** Terms: RainToday webinar, How to Lead Masterful Sales Conversations, Blogwild!, Andy Wibbels, How

Is Blogging Dangerous?

According to this post on , blogging "has risks that should not be ignored." Author Sharon Housley contends that, due to the danger posed by cyberstalkers, "Females, in particular, should be cautious when circumnavigating the blogosphere." What does she recommend? Tactics such as not posting an online profile or photo, posting anonymously, and avoiding any personal or identifying details. Hmmm. While there are dangers in virtually any aspect of daily life, Housley's paranoia about blogging seems a bit overblown. The flaws in her argument should be obvious -- if she follows all of her own advice, how do we know that her post really was written by Sharon Housley? How do we know that she's really a marketing manager for a software company, or for that matter, that she's really a woman? Blogs are given credibility by their authors. If readers know nothing about a blogger's background, they have no way of assigning credibility, or skepticism, t

More Blogs Worth Checking Out

Fans of Marketing Sherpa or RainToday will be probably be familiar with these excellent marketing-related blogs, but just in case, here are four blogs recently added to the recommended blogs list on WebMarketCentral: Email Marketing Best Practices : Chris Baggott is CMO and co-founder of hosted email marketing services provider ExactTarget , and an expert on email marketing. Chris shares his knowledge and thoughts on email-related topics such as database marketing, list building, and *spam*. It also appears that we have similar tastes in reading (though I spent my 4th of July weekend expanding my kids' treehouse). Buzz Marketing for Technology : buzz marketing guru Paul Dunay shares his innovative ideas for technology marketing. In his own entertaining and informative style, Paul addresses topics like mobile ads, effective (and ineffective) tech ad campaigns, video ads, blogging, and viral marketing. He's also a prolific industry writer and speaker. Small Business Bloggin

Podcasting Beyond Marketing Sherpa

Marketing Sherpa yesterday published a podcasting 101 guide , which began: "Podcasting is about to celebrate its second birthday and we don't know of a marketer out there who isn't at least mulling over the possibilities. Here's our handy guide, including: Surprising data on listener demographics; 3 Mistakes to avoid; 5 Rules for podcast content; 4 Tips to create commercials that get results." I daresn't say any more or I'll get a nasty note from Anne Holland . Access to the Sherpa article is free through Friday September 1, but will cost you a few bucks after that. I'm not a podcasting expert, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know one (a podcasting expert, not a TV): Albert Maruggi at Provident Partners . Shortly after the Sherpa piece came out, Albert supplemented it with podcasting 102 . If you found Marketing Sherpa's podcasting guide of interest, check out the sequel from Albert. As far as I know, his podcast on podcasting will remain free. *

ingage: Newsletter Marketing with a Twist

Check out this newsletter from marketing agency ingage (yes, with a small "i"). The articles cover marketing in the information age, marketing accountability, and leveraging offline marketing efforts to drive targeted online traffic. Interesting enough, but what sets this publication apart from every other marketing newsletter is that ingage has used its own interactive publishing tool to produce it. This tool produces interactive documents that look and act like printed publications, with page-flipping and multiple methods of navigation. While there are other tools on the market that do this, ingage has the only one that, when used to publish on a CD, lets you track response and interest, and update content on the fly. The ingage tool is great for direct marketing (providing measurable ROI) and publications, and really shines for interactive catalog production. Compared to print, the ingage toolset provides greater capabilities (such as inclusion of video, audio, animat

Problems with "Naked" CRM Systems

Ardath Albee of Einsof has released a new e-book titled " Why Naked CRM Systems Don't Work ." She notes a number of CRM-related frustrations that will be familiar to marketers and sales reps, such as: - Marketing doesn't think sales reps are adequately following up on the leads they've produced; sales doesn't think the leads are qualified. - Marketing develops collateral materials to help sales; sales reps feel they don't have the right materials. - Sales people quickly drop leads that aren't hot; marketing loses track of these leads and can't adequately nurture them. - CRM systems don't live up to their promise; sales reps don't keep information up to date because there's no benefit for them. Einsof's solution is to properly "dress" your CRM system with an interactive sales portal. Both sales and marketing benefit from an interactive feedback loop that shows what works, and what doesn't, in the real world. Is this a

RainToday Releases "The One Piece of Advice You Can't Sell Without"

The experts in professional services marketing at recently released a *free* report entitled " The One Piece of Advice You Can't Sell Without ." But given that the report was written by 11 experts in Web marketing and sales, each of whom (natch) has distinct opinions on the topic, it should have been titled "The 11 Pieces of Advice You Can't Sell (or Market) Without." Regardless, this report is well worth the read. Among the 11 authors are Seth Godin (his blog beat this one for the top spot Readers Choice Award from Marketing Sherpa; but, considering that he's written -- how many now? 6? 8? Best-selling marketing books, while I'm, well, just me , I was dang honored to come in with an honorable mention to Seth), Jill Konrath (author of Selling to Big Companies , and an all-around cool person), and the often-imitated-but-never-duplicated Mike Schultz . With 11 different authors, there are, as one would expect, 11 different opinions abo

Interactive Technology Brings New Life to Old Media - Catalogs

With even the most carefully-worded search terms result in thousands of hits, PPC costs are rising, and new laws and spam filters have reduced the impact of email marketing, catalogs remain a powerful marketing tool. Catalogs have am impact and immediacy that can't be matched by email or Web sites; they arrive in the mailbox with bills and letters that the recipient has to look at, and they sit on the desk or kitchen counter, just waiting to be opened and perused. Catalogs are particularly powerful for online-only retailers. Yet it's amazing how few retailers and distributors still take advantage of this powerful tool. Based on some recent client research, I estimate that less than 20% of retailers overall still produce catalogs, and that figure is below 10% for high-tech retailers and distributors. By relying on increasingly difficult and crowded opt-in email and search engine marketing, these retailers are missing a lot of potential business. Paper catalogs have their drawbac

Web Conferencing Services Reviewed

If you deliver Webinars, hold meetings with remote sales or other personnel, or lead marketing or sales presentations for clients and prospects, you know the value and utility of Web conferencing services . Features and reliability have increased greatly over the last few years. Internet presentations save enormous time and money in travel. As the popularity of Web conferencing services has increased, so has the number of options in the market. There are estimated to be more than a hundred vendors in the space now, though only a handful of leading contenders. Which service is the best? The answer, as it so often is in these situations, is "it depends." Web conferencing services vary considerably in price, functionality, and ease of use. The best solution for 2-3 participant remote sales presentations is different from the best solution for 6-10 participant marketing or training presentations, which is in turn different from the best solution for 50+ participant webinars. Here

Greer's OC: A Fashionable Micromedia Site

Greer's OC is a great example of an effective consumer marketing micromedia site. Former fashion columnist Greer Wylder targets her content to, and delivers for her advertisers, a very narrow but lucrative and otherwise difficult to reach audience: upscale shoppers, primarily female, in the Orange County, California area. For Hugh Hewitt to call Greer's OC an advertising revolution and a mortal threat to newspapers isn't off the mark. Newspaper subscriptions are declining. TiVo and XM are killing the value of media advertising. Mega-portals like Yahoo that try to be all things to all people end up being of little value to anyone. People will flock, however, in small but targeted numbers, to sites and media that focus specifically on topics that fascinate them. So what exactly do I mean by "micromedia"? Micromedia is any form of media targeted to an individual or group of individuals that can be can be defined by a set of unique characteristics. It is much narr

Choices Expand for Customized Start Pages

Where does your browser go when the click the "home" icon on the toolbar? For many people, the answer is still their ISP's home page (at home) or whatever page their IT goup set it to (at work). However, there are an increasing number of services that let you customize your own start page. Among the first were My Yahoo and the aguably better though under-publicized Google offering, but both the choice and sophistication are increasing. Among the new entries in this space are the very cool Netvibes and Pageflakes . These services let you customize your stat page with tools like news feeds, RSS feeds (such as your favorite blogs), local weather, your address/contact book, a dictionary, to-do lists, online file storage, mail and IM, photos, Web search, sports scores and more. Yahoo, Google and Netvibes all seem to be fairly browser-agnostic; Pageflakes appears to work best with IE. Another service planned but not yet launched is the "life organizer" from Lifeio

Explaining Technology So Even Your Mom Can Understand It

How do you explain a highly technical product or complex service offering in an easily understandable way? Better yet, how can you explain it so simply that even your mom will understand it (assuming your mother isn't a network system administrator)? That was the challenge facing Xiotech , a maker of storage area network (SAN) systems. CEO Casey Powell , who joined the company about a year ago, is a big fan of , the site that famously explains in simple terms how almost everything works, from ballpoint pens to rocket engines . When he challenged his marketing team to develop a similarly simple way to explain Xiotech's offerings, Tom Pearce and the rest of the group came up with...the Mom Button . After all, how better to explain complex technology in terms so simple your mom can understand it than to have a mom explain it? Since the initial launch of the Mom Button, the original "Mom Explains Xiotech" concept has been expanded to have Mom discuss s

Best of the New Marketing Books

Three outstanding new marketing books have been added to the Top Marketing Books page on , the Internet Web site marketing portal. First, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale by Brian Carroll presents a strategic approach to generating profitable leads. Brian's book outlines a proven approach to generating qualified leads for complex sales, which frequently involve pre-sales engineers, subject matter experts (SMEs), and even corporate executives, as well as traditional sales professionals. The complex sale -- which combines elements of consultative, competitive, and team selling -- is now the norm for business-to-business sales. Brian's book shows how to identify your best leads and target sales approaches; align sales and marketing to optimize both the number and quality of leads; build strong sales pipelines; and use multiple lead-generation vehicles, including email, PR, referrals, blogs, and speaking opportunities. Second, Waiting for Your Cat to Bar

Blog Tools and Stuff

If (like me) you've chosen Blogger as your platform for online disquisition, you've noticed that it's fast and reasonably intuitive, but lacks a few basic functions. The folks at Quick Online Tips have rectified that with Free Essential Tools for Bloggers , an excellent list of add-ons that expand the capability of the platform. The list goes well beyond the common tools such as Pingoat and Technorati (well known and also covered in Best Practices in Blog Marketing ) to include traffic-generating and tracking tools, as well as mobile blogging . Definitely a post worth bookmarking and coming back to. That's the tools. As for the stuff, Larry Bodine has written an interesting piece over at RainToday titled It's Not Too Late To Start Blogging - But It Will Be Soon . (Yes, Brian Carroll beat me to this ; when does he sleep?!) Registration is required to read the full article, but it's free. Larry provides seven great reasons to blog, most of which are covered

Awards Are Nice, but Relationships Rule

At the risk of having a Sally Field moment, I want to say "thank you" to everyone who voted for this blog in the recent Marketing Sherpa Reader's Choice blog and podcasting awards. It's quite and honor. Winning an Honorable Mention (despite being up against Seth Godin ) is the second-best thing that's happened as a result of lanching this blog. The best thing has been the opportunity to meet, or to get to know better, a lot of fascinating marketing people, directly or indirectly through this blog. Although traffic here hasn't been huge (at least not until the last week or so), I've been amazed and gratified by the caliber of my readers. I've used this blog to introduce you to some of those people, such as Albert Maruggi , PR guru and head of marketing agency Provident Partners , who writes one of the best podcasting blogs on the planet. And there's Kelly Allan , operations and marketing consulting expert at Kelly Allan Associates ; Yvonne DiVit