Monthly Archives: August 2008

Business Blogs Blow

 

Biz Blogs Suck

Biz Blogs Suck

Just kidding!  Not all business blogs blow, just most of them.  

 

According to an article in Monday’s Washington Post, Technorati says that of 112.5 million blogs on the web, 5,000 are corporate.  I’d wager that the number of small business blogs is much larger.  A Forrester report from June finds that fewer B2B blogs were started in 2007 than in 2006.  That is startling. Forrester hints that the resources corporations expended on blogs did not generate the expected results.  

I think the problem is with the execution.

There are certainly some corporate blogs that work very well.  But here’s why most don’t:

Corporations don’t understand that blogs are best produced by people who know how to communicate. Since blogs generally come in written form, the best people to write blogs are people who can write.

Blogs are intended to start a conversation.  A conversation implies two-way communication.  Many businesses are afraid of two-way communication because they don’t want to hear other people’s opinions about their business, their products or their services.  Many companies want the conversation to be one-sided.  We call that advertising.

Business blogs are a great way for a business to be a part of the community and to create a community of key constituents such as customers, employees, suppliers, local residents and/or anyone interested in the offered product or service. Blogs provide a rare opportunity to put a human face on a company.  Most businesses don’t understand this.

Business blogs are the best but most underutilized consumer research tool available to business. Blog conversations are like free focus groups, you can learn a tremendous amount from listening to the comments.  Few businesses take advantage of this great opportunity and even fewer adjust their business or their offerings based on this feedback.

Blogs by commitee really blow.  One or two talented people can easily run a great company blog and still have time for other tasks.  The key is to have your finger on the pulse on the company and its community and then be able to use blog technology (thanks wordpress!) and your communication skills to reach your audience.  It ain’t rocket science and it doesn’t need a committee, a task force or any other corporate bureaucracy.  According to this post in Above the Buzz, the Forrester report found that team blogging didn’t work for B2B bloggers.  I’d venture a guess that it doesn’t work for B2C bloggers or any other blogger either.

Like everything else in life, the results are commensurate with the effort.  Too many business blogs are left to wither on the vine due to lack of attention.  Ignoring an audience is the best way to lose them.

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Filed under Blogging

My Bottled Water Conflict

 

Selling Water Can Be Fun and Profitable!

Selling Water Can Be Fun and Profitable!

I recently came across this article about the launch of Nestlé Waters first ever marketing campaign targeting Hispanics.  The campaign includes an endorsement deal with Cristina, TV spots on Univision, spot radio in major Hispanic markets, print advertising (print lives!) a consumer contest and in-store hoopla.

The best thing about all of this is that the ads feature Cristina talking about health topics, including the risks associated with obesity and diabetes.  The campaign was created by the fine folks at Castells & Asociados.

Obviously there are a lot of ways to sell bottled water and I applaud Nestlé and Castells for using their marketing muscle to get behind reducing obesity and diabetes in the Hispanic community.  This is a cause which I cannot endorse more strongly.

In 2005, one in four U.S. Hispanic adults was obese (not just overweight).  But what’s most alarming is the trend with children.  One in six Hispanic high school students is overweight and 24% of Mexican-American children aged 6 to 11 are overweight, compared to 20% for African American kids and 12% for non-Hispanic whites.  It’s well known that obesity can lead to higher insulin levels and type 2 diabetes as well as other health problems like asthma, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

There are factors that contribute to this situation, including genetics, that cannot be controlled.  But two major factors that we can impact are exercise and nutrition.  Any effort to get kids and their parents to dump the soda and other high calorie, low nutritional value foods, should be supported.  Everyone can benefit from drinking more water and from using water as a substitute for high calorie beverages.

But here’s the rub.  If you’ve been paying attention, bottled water producers are bottling and selling a product we don’t really need (tap water works just fine) and creating a nasty, land-filling byproduct in the form of plastic bottles that live forever.

So what’s a health conscious enviro-wannabe like yours-truly to do?  I’d gladly give Nestlé my frequently sought, yet seldom given, stamp of approval if: Nestlé also educated its consumers on the need to recycle those ugly little plastic bottles and better yet, provided an incentive for them to do so.  

After that, I’d hope that folks would get tired of expensive bottled water and turn to taps, filters and reusable bottles.  But one step at a time.

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Filed under Climate Change, corporate social responsibility, CSR, Green Marketing, Hispanic marketing, Multicultural Marketing