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How Main Stream Marketing Misses the Boat
Today's case study is Marketing Sherpa. Anne Holland, president, was interviewed by Chantal Tode for DM News recently. The article went live today and it does nothing to make me think that Holland knows much  about Internet media.

The main theme of the article is that blogs and RSS aren't as popular as podcasting and streaming video. Sigh...where do I begin?

Chantal says:

According to research, less than 10 percent of IT professionals read blogs regularly while over 50 percent of journalists are avid blog watchers. In other words, there’s a lot of hype about blogs and marketers should survey their end users to find out if they’re using blogs before investing.

I say:

Bullocks. I work in a large, technically savvy organization. We have over 2200 employees in Canada and over 600 in my particular office. I'm somewhat known as a blogger around the office and at least twice a week someone will comeup to me and ask me "What's a blog?". Instead of trying to explain the term, I give examples such as Boing Boing, Engadget, and Slashdot. In almost 100% of the cases the person says something like "Oh, right - I read [insert name of blog], but I didn't know that was a blog".

Any survey that only asks people if they read blogs will show an innacurately low number. Since blogs don't have a headline on them flashing the word BLOG in big letters, many people don't know when they are reading a blog.

Podcasting and videocasting, on the other hand, are quite obvious. People know if they've watched a videocast or listened to a podcast. Many don't know if they've read a blog.

Jeremy Wright talks about this concept while addressing Google's software. In Secret #2 he states that people use more than they know:

when you do studies of user behaviour you don’t just ask people what features they use, you track them on what features they actually use.

Anne Holland says:

Similarly, RSS feeds have become an object of a lot of attention, yet research indicates the vast majority of people don’t know when they are reading an RSS feed. Instead, they often think they are reading content generated by Yahoo News. Ms. Holland’s advice is for companies to work their brand name into headlines if they must do RSS feeds.

I say:

OK, this is good advice and it's just the last sentence that I want to address. "If they must do RSS feeds"?? That's not a must, Anne, that's a requirement. Go talk to one of the 20 or so online RSS readers or one of the dozen or so local RSS reader applications if you think RSS is an afterthought. There are multimillion dollar companies built on RSS and suscriber numbers go up each day. RSS isn't just for readers, though. Vincent van Twillert over at A Feed is Born can show you 4,000 ways in which RSS is being used every day. There's no 'If' - if you want to play with the big dogs then you simply 'must' produce an RSS feed.

I'm not going to go as far as to put this article under my Snake Oil category, but Anne hasn't quite closed the loop on her Internet media knowledge yet.

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