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WOMBAT Live Blogging


Next week I'll be joining three very talented bloggers to live blog WOMBAT. What's WOMBAT?  It's not a new version of Star Wars' hairy little wookie creature. WOMBAT is the Word of Mouth Basic Training conference sponsored by WOMMA .. Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

My thanks to Dan VanDen Heuvel, Pheedo and Blog Savant who asked me to join the team of WOMBAT Bloggers (say that 3 times fast and maybe Michael and Andy will discount your admission!): Josh Halett, hyku and Mariane Richmond, Resonance Partnership Blog.

In full disclosure, and in keeping with the WOMMA Code, WOMMA is picking up the tab for the 2-day conference and hotel. We're on our own for transportation. AirTran was running a sale..$158 to Orlando from Atlanta...making this an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

The speaker line-up is impressive but I'm especially looking forward to the cases studies - Day 2. And of course, meeting up with diva bloggers Yvonne DiVita, Terri Whitsel, Jackie Huba and catching up with divos Steve Rubel and John Moore.

Taking our lead from Michael Rubin and Andy Sernovitz, The WOMBAT Bloggers agreed that our goal is to be your feet on the street bloggers - eyes, ears and voice. We will try our very best to bring you the flavor of the conferene. I'll also be cross blogging at the WOMBAT Blog and Diva Marketing.

So that said, if you can't make it to Orlando next week ~Jan 19 and 20~ drop a comment and let me know what you want to know. Take a look at the speakers. Who among all of the speakers would you like to meet and if you had a chance to talk to her/him, what what would your one burning question be? Suggestions on how I should structure these live blog posts? Your ideas are most appreciated.

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It's Raining Blog Books...Again


Friday the 13th was a great day for authors Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. Their long awaited bebe,Naked_conversationsNaked Conversations, written on a blog, hit The virtual bookstore. Congrats!

The book combines the culture of blogging with interviews from a diverse group of bloggers. Shel interviewed me last spring...haven't seen a copy of the book so I can't tell you if I'm in or have been left on the cutting room floor. Can't wait to receive my autographed copy!

One more new blog book - Blogging In A Snap. Julie Meloni shows blogger wannabes  how-to get started in the blogopshere.

Heard it from Jory Des Jardin, BlogHer

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Friday Fun: Emoticons ;-)


Conan3_215A joke complements of Conan O'Brien:
Did you hear that Levi's is making a new model of jeans with a build in podcast holder? It's called a pocket! <lol> Well at 1a it was funny to me.

One of the frustrations of digital communications is the lack of non verbal cues and sounds.  A nod of your head, a small smile :-) or a wink ;-)  can be more telling than 1000s of letters. Sounds also enhance a conversation. A sigh or a laugh<lol> can change the meaning of a your words. PCWorld calls emoticons the hieroglyphics of a hurried generation.

To add an extra dimension to your digital conversations, today's Friday Fun brings a few examples of email/chat slang and acronyms.  If you can't remember the translations try this Internet Slang Translator ;-)

bf    boyfriend
bfn  bye for now
brb  be right back
cu    see you
gf    girl friend
gg   got to go
h&k  a hug &  a kiss
hfs!  Holy F_ckin Sh-t!
j/k   just kidding
pos   parent over shoulder
qt     cutie
sol    sh-t out of luck
sys   see you soon
thx   thanks
ttfn   ta ta for now
ttyl    talk to you later
u       you
w.e    what ever
xoxo  hugs and kisses
yt      you there
yw     you're welcome

<s>    smile
<w>    wink
:-)      smile
<g>     grin
*g*      giggles
;-)      wink
:-<      pouting
>:-(    angry
hgggsss  hugs
c["]    coffee mug
***     popcorn

Read More About Chat/eMail Slang Emoticons
Chat Slang
Chat Slang
Chat Slang
Chat Slang

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Birthday Wish For Scott


If blogs are also about adding a bit of yourself to the mix, indulge me while I wish my favorite nephew.. well okay he's my only nephew ... 

Birthday_cupcake_2_1Happy 16th Birthday Scott!

A New Era For Marketing Research


Ann_girls__2A fav blogging divo, Michael Bawden - Much Ado About Marketing is running a series on the value of marketing research. How I wish Michael had been in the room with me today when a client said, "Why do we need to spend the money on the research? We know what our customers want." <grr!>  Interestingly, it was the VP of Ops who convenienced the guy that what he thought he knew about his customers might just not be the reality of the situation.

The marketing research profession is entering an exciting (and some may find frightening) phase in its development of data collection and analysis. The field (literally!) has gone from (when my dad Lou Bloomberg, was in the biz) asking questions in door-to-door interviewing to listening to virtual conversations. Granted, the use of consumer generated media as a credible research tool is in its infancy (researchers move slowly...look how long it took for firms to embrace online research); however, consumer generated media is too rich to overlook. Some companies are beginning to explore CGM (consumer generated media) as a supplement to traditional research for information about:

  • Brand buzz -who.what.where
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Product development and improvement
  • Pre launch buzz
  • Early warning crisis management
  • Advertising effectiveness
  • Voice of the customer

I understand that Chrysler is using CGM to track trends. They've gone from mining data at a high level - sensibilities about specific models to a more granular level of information about features and attributes. The next step is better understanding the influencers and how the information flows.

Marketing research professionals are challenged to:

  • Incorporate CGM information into the findings from traditional methodologies
  • Develop a standard of credibility that is acceptable by practitioners and, I should also add, academics
  • Understand what is white noise and what is significant information without sanitizing the data

Here's one to ponder...courtesy of divo market researcher, Greg Rathjen - Marketecture, from Gregory Batson -

Information is any difference that makes a difference.

Read More About Consumer Generated Media
WSJ - Marketers Scan Blogs For Insights

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Friday Fun: What If ....


Sometimes, all a diva wants to do is to do nothing. In the comfort of her own home. With no make up. With no expectations. On that note, Friday Fun takes a quick look at the new TV season.

What if you could change the history of your life? What if you took the path less traveled? What if you said yes instead of no?  That's the premise of a new CBS reality show What If. Lucky us ... what if we apply to be part of the fun?

Campus_ladiesWhat if you could do college over all again?  I must admit I'm looking forward to catching Oxygen's Campus Ladies. Sunday at 9p.

The Plot: Two square, but sassy, housewives ditch their lives in the burbs for life on a college campus. Yup they are going to "do" college all the way ... complete with keg parties, sorority rush, dorm roommate, dating and prof challenges. The "ladies" were created by comediennes Carrie Aizley and Christen Sussin.

Let's look at the online marketing tactics. There's a lot going in the website: interactive games, cast profiles, video out takes and a viral-buzz-word of mouth marketing strategy. The first 5000 people to get 21 people to sign-up win t-shirts. $40k is in it for the best buzzer who brings in the most on-site registrations.

And...ta dah! ... the proverbial dusty musty Campus Ladies "blog" that hasn't been updated since 12/9 and has 8 suspect comments. Can you guess which ones are "real?" Come on Oxygen if you're monitoring the blogoshere get your act together on this one! And it would be cool if you added Diva Marketing Blog to the Campus Ladies blogroll <wink>.

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Executive Ghost (Writer) Bloggers


GhostwriterB.L.Ochman points us to a new piece of blog research. This one is about senior executives who..supposedly.. author blogs. I say supposedly because the findings indicate out of 750 respondents only 17% actually write their own blogs. That's 667 non blogging bloggers.

: I didn't know there were so many senior execs who were blogging! I'd love to see the list of companies and more so the qualifying questions of what determined a "senior executive."

These non blogging bloggers must be feeling a wee bit of blogger guilt because when asked, "How do you describe a ghost written company blog" 428, or 57% of the executive non blogging bloggers, participating in the study, thought that "ghost written blogs" were not so terrific.

  • 8% said it was "a sham"
  • 5% agreed it was "totally misleading"
  • a whopping 44% said it was "marginally misleading"

Some people might say what's the big deal? Ghost writers draft executives speeches all the time. Why not ghost writers for blogs? For this diva, blogs are personal writings, even if the topic is business, the heart and soul of the author comes comes through. (Sure a talented copywriter can capture a personality. Let's agree not to go there.) It just does not seem quite right to ghost write blogs. Dias and divos, if you don't want to write your own blog ..don't. I promise not to think less of you. Have someone else in your company blog.

Another interesting finding was that 39% of the executives said the reason they were not writing their own blogs was due to  "difficulty expressing themselves in writing." I personally find that rather sad, and at the same time frightening, that almost 40% of this sample acknowledged they were lacking a basic business skill - written communication. How the &6%! were they promoted into senior management positions? Is this a clue why so many of our corporations are in trouble? Might be wise not to buy stock in any of those firms.

The survey was conducted by David Davis, writer4business.

More Blog Research: Lisa Calhoun, Write2Market, is conducting a survey - The Business Case On Blogging. If you have a few seconds add your comments.

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Is 2006 - The Year of the Wiki


In 2004, the word of the year was Blog. In 2005, the word of the year was Podcast. In 2006, will the word of the year be Wiki?

What's a wiki? Glad you asked. The word wiki is based on a Hawaiian word meaning super-fast. Sandbox_2In diva terms, it's a blog for multiple authors where everyone gets to play at the same time. Companies have been using wikis as internal project management systems. Some organizations are exploring bringing wikis out from behind the internal firewalls and into the world wide web.

Clear Admit, an educational counseling firm that guides MBA candidates through the maze of applying to top B-school programs, launched an interesting wiki that supports its Clear Admit Blog.

The Clear Admit MBA Admissions Wiki provides people going through the MBA experience an opportunity to share what they've learned. There are tabs for the interview process and the application. There's even a tab for current students to tell the real scoop on what's going on in classes and on campus. The wiki includes links to some of the schools' bloggers.

Between the blog and the wiki Clear Admit has created a comprehensive resource for MBA wannabees. What makes The Clear Admit wiki unique is that it works in tangent with the blog. Click on the blog links to Interview Reports and Bloggers by School you'll be taken to the wiki pages. Information flows back and forth.

Haven't seen anything quite like this one. Have you? Needless to say the biggest challenge, for any wiki, is getting people over the hump of the learning process and then encouraging them to participate.  If you have any feedback on the Clear Admit wiki or ideas on how to encourage readers to contribute please give Alex Brown a shout out.

More Wikis
Charlene Li's Public Wiki
Photo Wiki
Product Wiki
The Speaker's Wiki
Fortune 500 Business Blogs Wiki

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Word of Mouth Strategy For Charity


Conferences are about networking and knowledge, and if you're living right, a new business lead or two. Michael Rubin, Word of Mouth Marketing Association, dropped me an "e" last week that he hopes to start a new trend. At the January 2006, Word of Mouth Basic Training conference, giving back is part of his model.

WOMMA is auctioning 20 tickets to the conference on eBay. The goal is to bring in $20k through word of mouth marketing. Good for WOMMA and good for the charities:

* Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
* Habitat for Humanity
* Heifer International
* American Red Cross
* Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
* Electronic Frontier Foundation

Sidebar: How can you spin Michael's idea for your business? Is there a way that doing good can help produce word of mouth marketing for your brand? And is there a way to extend the strategy? For example, are any of the charities involved in the promotion? How about tapping into the volunteer base? How can you make it easy for people, who are already passionate about a cause, to chat it up?

One for the non profits - Marianne Richmond, Resonance Partnership Blog, points to a Google AdSense Grant Program. If you're really serious about developing a cause marketing strategy give Mollye Rhea at For Momentum a shout.

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2006 - Can You Believe it?


From blog  buddy  anina, the smart, savvy, fashion model geek (honestly!), came across the perfect Diva way to wish Happy_new_year_3you a Happy New Year.

All the very best in 2006!

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