Joining the Conversation

Joseph Jaffe is a businessman, blogger, podcaster, and author.  I’m currently reading his latest book, Join the Conversation and will review it here when I’m finished.  I can tell you now that Joseph is a man who practices what he preaches.

His area of concentration is the so-called "new marketing" and social media.  His contention, and I agree with him, is that marketers can no longer "talk at" consumers.  We must carry on conversations with them with the emphasis on listening to what they have to say, hence the name of the book

Burtis_bowl_2
I mention Joe to lead in to an example of how this "conversational marketing" worked for Keith Burtis.  Who the heck is Keith Burtis?  Keith is a professional cabinet maker and wood turner from Buffalo, NY, and he’s in love.  He planned to take his girlfriend to a podcasting event in Toronto this weekend.  While there, he was going to propose to her.  The engagement ring would have to be picked up no later than tomorrow, February 22.  And that’s the problem.

What he calls "some challenges" have left him short of the funds needed to pick up the ring and pay for the trip.  That’s where Jaffe and the "conversation" come in.  Joe interviewed Keith on his February 15 podcast, Jaffe Juice and provided a link to Burtis’ wood turning web site.  If he could sell just a few bowls over the course of the next week, he’d be able to carry out his plan.

To make a long story short, as of today, he’s reached his goal.  He sold his quota of bowls and he and his girlfriend will be traveling to Toronto this weekend where he’ll pop the question.  Hopefully she’ll say "yes".  In appreciation for their purchase, the bowl buyers have received links on Keith’s web site back to their own sites.  Several of them are very well-known bloggers and podcasters, including Jaffe.

This story points out the power of the social media.  If you have a solid network of contacts, or if you can piggy-back on someone else’s network, there’s not much you can’t do.  Jaffe himself was able to push his book to number 2 on the Amazon.com business books list in just one day using the power of his network.

We’ll talk more about Jaffe’s success with this type of marketing in a later post.  For now, let’s just say that even if Burtis could have afforded to run a traditional ad, it’s unlikely that he could have even gotten it placed in time to help his cause of picking up the engagement ring in just a week.  But, by using his connection with Jaffee, he was able to reach a huge on-line community in a timely fashion and at no cost at all.

[UPDATE:  Monday, February 25, 2008 10:26 AM.  She said yes!]

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3 Responses

  1. Mike, Thanks so much for the mention here. You are right. There was really no other way for me to reach my goal without the power of community. After a few emails to Joseph Jaffe, CC Chapman, and some friends on twitter I realized that if I was going to make my goal that I’d better get “turning” some bowls! The power that these bloggers and podcasters wielded was just amazing and I am forever grateful. I attended Podcamp Toronto this past weekend, got engaged, had amazing conversation, and just an all around great time. Social media has provided me with one of the best weeks of my life! Thanks to all!

  2. Mike, Thanks so much for the mention here. You are right. There was really no other way for me to reach my goal without the power of community. After a few emails to Joseph Jaffe, CC Chapman, and some friends on twitter I realized that if I was going to make my goal that I’d better get “turning” some bowls! The power that these bloggers and podcasters wielded was just amazing and I am forever grateful. I attended Podcamp Toronto this past weekend, got engaged, had amazing conversation, and just an all around great time. Social media has provided me with one of the best weeks of my life! Thanks to all!

  3. Congratulations on your engagement! I’m glad she said “yes”.

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