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6/17/2006

TALK TO ME LIKE A PURPLE COW

Randy told me recently of a Web 2.0 guru who said no website should ever be made again that isn't a conversation.

Comments. Message boards. Questions for visitors. File trading. Linking. Interacting with each other on-line seems to be what we want. Better, it seems to benefit us all more than reading a digital pamphlet posing as an on-line presence. Boring.

Case in point. Yesterday on the plane I read an entire book. Never happens. Easy read. It was Seth Godin's Purple Cow. It's a marketing book, since Seth is a marketing speaker/author/consultant/blogger guy - about how old school advertising like TV ads and on-line banner ads and radio ads and magazine ads don't work any more and why and how it is in such perplexing marketing times one gets a product, cause or person noticed.

I had a question after reading it. (Lots actually) Nothing pressing but a friend of mine had one answer and I had another and I was curious what Seth thought.

But books are the king of monologue media aren't they? You read them. Page after page of talking at you while never pausing to ask, "Do you follow me so far?" They'll read the same way no matter how many times you repeat the process. They sit there ignoring your raised hand and furrowed brow. How rude. How pre Web 2.0.

But not any more. I got to my hotel and sent off a quick e-mail to Seth asking my question. Short. Kind. To the point.

I woke up this morning - DING! - e-mail from Seth Godin: my very own personal world class marketing consultant. He had a one sentence deciding vote answer for me and suddenly a book went Web 2.0. Purple Cow went from fascinating monologue to tailor-made dialogue.

Suddenly I feel the urge to buy more of Seth's books and tell you what a great writer and thinker and all around nice guy he is.

Those with stuff to tell us and sell us take note. We want dialogue not monologue. And if you give us what we want we'll tell others and you'll that much closer to becoming a rare purple cow in this brown cow world: noticed.

Thanks Seth.

14 Comments:

Anonymous J. Botter said...

I came pretty close to attending Seth's personal "office conference" this past week, but in the end, I couldn't justify the price...right now. I think that in about a year or so (or whenever he holds the next one), I'm going to plunk down the money, because Seth is probably one of the smartest people I've ever met, and just reading his blog on a daily basis has made a huge difference in marketing strategies for my band, in that we're not really "marketing" anymore but more or less creating a community, which is what you've done here.

Seth's right -- no website should ever be created again that doesn't at least facilitate some form of conversation.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

It has absolutely worked for you Shaun. This community here has made me one of your biggest fans. I will go to great lengths to let everyone know the how great the conversation is over here, and what great music you have. so i agree with this...the personal touch of dialogue and community is the most effective strategy....for me. but i still check out products after reading about them in a magazine. so that kind of advertising still does work...sort of.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

Godin is the best, and "All Marketers Are Liars" is his magnus opus, IMO.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Really? I was wondering how useful a non-marketer like you or me, Matthew, would dig it.

Purple cow and some other stuff I've run across this past week has sent me revising the new web site plan. (Sorry, Kat - we should probably talk about that before you do too much work on it eh?)

I've feel more focused, suddenly aware of what I naturally do that is unique. I've run from it, criticized by a label when that uniqueness reared it's ugly head. I've played it safe. No more. We're going to build something different and actually helpful here. Hope it works, but if it doesn't at least we weren't safe and boring.

SG

6/17/2006  
Anonymous J. Botter said...

I'll tell you what, Shaun -- if blogging and conversations with fans can work for my band, it can work much better for someone with an established audience.

We started off by putting a few of our demo tracks up on our MySpace. From there, we released our entire EP for free as a podcast channel, and in the course of two months, over 5,000 people downloaded the entire thing. People could subscribe in iTunes or whatever they chose, and the full album would be downloaded track by track. We saw our MySpace friends list go from about 30 to over 4,000 in two months, all because of word of mouth. We didn't advertise, we just TALKED with the people who were visiting us. We have a band policy of responding to every single message we get personally, no matter how draining it can be. Because of that and because we've been willing to listen to criticism to help make our music better, I think people started talking about it. We've been featured on a few marketing blogs as a band that is seizing the new wave of attitude in the blogosphere and using it to connect with fans.

I realize that a lot of what I just said sounded like marketing-speak, but in reality, we're just connecting with the people who like listening to our music. And that's what you're doing here, and it's far more sustainable than anything a record label would ever do for you could be.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

j.botter. Went to your site. Looks great. Noticed you guys are saying you'll be selling through iTunes. I know my route to doing that in the future but what's yours? How are you guys selling on iTunes? How exactly are you setting that up?

SG

6/17/2006  
Anonymous J. Botter said...

We were going to use TuneCore. I don't think very many people know about it, but it's a great way for independent musicians to get music on iTunes. Now, though, we're signed with Orchard for distribution. Costlier, but has the added benefit of putting you in EVERY digital store and makes you available from most brick and mortars as well.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Jeremy Botter said...

By the by, Shaun, if you'd like to try out Vox, I have one invite I'll gladly send to you. Vox really is like taking everything that's good about the blogosphere and Web 2.0 and tossing them under one roof -- and making them all interact amazingly well and easy to use. My email address is botter AT gmail.com if you want it.

6/17/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

That was my plan as well: tunecore. Sounds almost too easy to be true.

6/18/2006  
Blogger Jeremy Botter said...

Tunecore is the perfect choice for indie musicians trying to get digital distribution, and I'm not sure why more people haven't heard of it. There are other similar services, but Tunecore is the cheapest and, from what I've heard, the most effective.

6/18/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

I do consider myself a marketer. I think that's one of Godin's most important points: that everyone in an organization should think of themselves as participating in the marketing. The old model has marketing as a secondary thought; Godin's model has marketing built in to the product.

6/18/2006  
Anonymous jwise said...

Shaun,

I think the blogging world works amazingly well for your niche. I hear a lot of Christian music and wonder, "Do the singers actually LIVE this way?" Groups such as Avalon who send along requirements of what drinks they want available, what they expect of hotel reservations, the fact that they won't do dinner with anyone local -- I can't help but feel like they're ONLY putting on a show.

Then I hear your music and wonder the same thing. "This guy's thoughts are mind-blowing... does he really believe the life of the Kingdom is possible?" And then I came here and read more of your thoughts, with a very precise question ... How is the Kingdom lived, and why aren't we doing it?

Maybe I'm way out in left field on that, but it's encouraging just to see the lyrics of your songs backed by the thoughts of your blog and (as much as I can tell) the life that you live out. You're a constant encouragement that I'm not the only one on Earth who thinks obeying Jesus is something we should do in THIS life.

Thanks!

6/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I get what you and Godin are saying, Matthew...it's just that that word "marketer" is so tainted for me. I get building the marketing into the product and I'm beginning to function more as a marketer myself BUT when I think about marketing I still see five people in a conference room writing on a dry erase board AFTER the CD is made and talking about money and ads and demographics and not the stuff that really excites me about the "product" I've made.

I don't want to be THAT kind of marketer. That stuff has to be talked about at some point of course but I'm not interested in a marketing plan as much as I am in creating something and being someone that's easy to communicate and "sneeze" to others.

It's obvious to me where my former label messed up in those marketing meetings now. Wish I could blog it without ticking folks off. I've had quite a few revelations about how busted our old way was together. Wish I could share those and discuss...but I'd rather just do it better.

If you guys don't mind me asking - you indie arists - how many records have you been able to sell/give away as indies? How long did that take? 5K/year? 10K/three years?

6/19/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

I would say that most of my indie artist friends sell about 500-1k a year, though I think many of them will start selling 2k-4k a year soon because of putting effort into marketing.

6/25/2006  

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