How are your New Year's resolutions coming along? We tend to talk about those a lot all through January, and then never mention them again from February on (I think we all know why). The main resolution I made was to read more books. After dissolving the Montreal Business Book Review into my other Podcast, Foreword Thinking, I stopped digesting as many business and motivational books as I used to read. While I did not set a specific goal for this year, I'm happy to report that since New Year's I've completed six books (I figured twelve this year would be good - so, I've set a good pace). The latest is Join The Conversation - How To Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers With The Power Of Community, Dialogue, And Partnership by Joseph Jaffe.
Jaffe's first book, Life After The 30-Second Spot, quickly became the "must-read" book for all Marketing and Communications professionals. It was a steadfast look at how the Internet and technology was changing the media landscape, and what Advertisers needed to start paying attention to. I enjoyed Life After The 30-Second Spot so much that my company, Twist Image, bought a crate and handed them out liberally to employees, colleagues and clients.
Jaffe's latest, Join The Conversation, telescopes deeper into online communities and dissects how everything from YouTube to Blogs are changing the media landscape. The book even includes a chapter titled, Why Are You So Afraid Of Conversations?, that was user-generated (Jaffe set-up a wiki and empowered anybody who saw fit to write a couple of paragraphs for this chapter - of which I took part). The book is rich with examples coloured with Jaffe's commentary (pointing out the good, the bad and the bleh) and this is what makes it so valuable. Case studies, business cases and research tends to be the call from the C Suite when Social Media and Web 2.0 programs are mentioned. Join The Conversation displays the many companies (big, medium and small) who have tried it, what the results were and, according to Jaffe, how those programs could have been extended or improved upon.
On first read, the book seems slightly disjointed and lacking flow (almost like a bunch of individual Blog postings), but by the end it all comes together and by second glance, it makes perfect sense. Along with his own, unique research into what Advertisers and Marketers think about "Conversational Marketing," Jaffe builds a strong case for why companies (and Marketers, in particular) need to do more than simply experiment with these channels - but fully embrace them. And while we all still question whether or not Marketers are wanted as a part of these very dynamic conversations that are taking place, one need look no further than Join The Conversation for a plethora of insights into how it can work when done with authenticity, transparency and, above all, passion.
Join The Conversation is Jaffe at his best. His own passion rings through on every page (along with his snarkiness) and there's enough humour and sarcasm to keep the pace fresh and fast. The book also snuggles in perfectly between Life After The 30-Second Spot and his Blog/Podcast, Jaffe Juice. Tag-team this with Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin and you've got your fill of Marketing books covering the New Media, Social Media and Web 2.0 landscape.
As part of the Marketing for Join The Conversation, Jaffe is also running a program he calls, UNM2PNM (Use New Media To Prove New Media) where he is giving away 150 copies of the book to Bloggers who are willing to review it. In the spirit of this program, I'm also willing to send my copy of Join The Conversation to a Blogger who is willing to review it on their Blog. You know how to find me.