Friday, January 18, 2008

Advertising: Now a Conversation

Tom Giles of Businessweek asked me if I would be interested in writing down some of my thoughts on how companies are evolving the way they think about marketing in the age of conversation. The result is this "Viewpoint" published by Businessweek this morning:

Advertising: Now a Conversation

In today's environment where independent information about a product is plentiful, traditional one-way messages to consumers no longer work

It's no secret the Internet has changed the way consumers get information about products and the companies that provide them. Because so much intelligence about a potential transaction is so readily available from independent sources, the message provided by conventional advertising has declined in value to consumers, who even question its trustworthiness.

None of this is to say that traditional one-way advertising—say, the kind you find on TV or in print publications and even banner ads on a Web page—can't play an important role in communicating with customers. At its best, the mission of the marketer is the creation of meaning. Taking a common product and imbuing it with the aspiration of adventure, achievement, or beauty was one of the amazing feats of the 20th century.

continue reading on the Businessweek website... Advertising: Now a Conversation

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Democratic Party Nominees Debate in Nevada

I have been registered as a Democrat since the day I could vote. And this year will be no different, I will vote for the Presidential candidate nominated by the Democratic party. I have been a partisan though since early on in the process, startling friends and family by putting an Obama sticker on my bumper (I don't generally like bumper stickers).

So I watched the debate in Nevada the other night prepared to love Obama and be satisfied with one of the three.

Other than being completely bored by the debate though, my only reaction was one of being disheartened by the candidates complete unwillingness to answer a direct question.

Anyone else have this reaction? I mean, sure -- some of the questions were inappropriate. But rather than just give a rambling non-answer, wouldn't it be better for the candidate to say "I am not going to answer that question." Or better yet, to explain why they won't answer?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Visit Asilomar

I probably use this space too often to complain about a company, product, or service that I have been disappointed with, and not often enough to talk about one that I have been happy with. With that in mind in 2008 I will try to do a better job of talking about the great company, product and service experiences I have -- starting with my family's vacation to Asilomar.

Located between Pebble Beach and Monterey, CA in the town of Pacific Grove, Asilomar is an amazing gem. Primarily a "conference center" Asilomar is also available to vacationers when there are rooms unused by the conferences. With beautiful Julia Morgan designed buildings, an incredible beach a short walk from the grounds, and easy access to the best of Carmel, Monterey, and the rest of the area it would be hard to go too far wrong.

There is an interesting trade-off though -- the Asilomar Conference Grounds has been a part of the California Park system since the 1950s and the facilities are operated under an agreement with a concessions contractor. This keeps prices low for such an incredible location, but results on low infrastructure investments. If it wasn't for this arrangement, Asilomar might have long ago been sucked into the Pebble Beach developments that are a stone's throw away. So I am glad that there is a way for families like mine to afford a beach vacation in Monterey. On the other hand, it would be nice if some of the more worn out parts of the facility would get a face lift.

But none of that will impede your families enjoyment -- the staff was great, the facilities include a great room with pool tables, ping pong, and endless board games. The aforementioned beach is beautiful and has something for everyone -- sand castles, nature walks, etc. And we also went wine tasting in Carmel Valley and found some great new wines and wineries!

Highly recommended. Here is the link again -- Asilomar.