Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of 2006, here comes 2007!

I was going to try and go through all the posts and the comments here and try to put together a Best Of for the site and this post, but I admit that I'm too lazy and I couldn't get my act together and compile my favorites. Maybe next year I'll get things moving earlier and involve my other contributors as well. But I ain't promising anything...

2006 has been a wonderful year for me and this site. It's been a little more than a year since the first post here. I had big dreams and modest intentions for this blog; a forum for the cycling industry to come and talk about marketing in the industry, the good and not so good marketing and the various ideas behind it. I also very selfishly wanted to get a chance to collaborate with the folks you see listed on the right side of this site. I consider each of the current contributors friends and will be able to say the same about the new contributors coming on board (more on that in a moment). I can't say that the site has gone exactly as I hoped because the posting hasn't been as often as I hoped- each of us have "day jobs" and other projects were are already working on, so this one has been a side project in our ever-shrinking "free time". However, I am thrilled that readership has stayed strong and many of you have been involved in suggestions for posts and adding to the dialog with your comments. I firmly believe that each of the posts that I or the other contributors put up here are merely the conversation starting point and not the end of the conversation- your input is what really excites me... so thank you!

2007 will hopefully see many great things continue to happen in the cycling industry and the sport itself. Hopefully drug scandals will become a thing of the past (though not likely). Hopefully the market will continue to grow and we'll all get to make a little money. Most importantly to me personally- I hope that we as an industry will continue to talk more to each other and share ideas and work together to grow our industry. By working together, we can accomplish much more than if we fight each other. That's my big, altruistic dream. Oh yeah and that this site becomes a major hub in that unity! That'd be cool.

As I've said recently here, I do plan to get back to more regular posting and to getting back into the core of what this site is about; marketing bicycles or marketing that uses bicycles. With that said, that means I'll be focusing more on advertisements that I like or don't like (including my own again) and discussing what I believe are good marketing strategies and techniques. I don't pretend to have the answers, but I do have ideas and opinions I believe in sharing for discussion with you all. That said, I do still see this site as continuing to evolve as something of a news aggregator, where the writers here continue to dissect and analyze the happenings in the industry and sport. It's just our nature since we are so passionate about all this silliness.

Lastly, but very importantly... the new guys. Our first two new members (whose info will appear in the contributors section very soon) are ready to start playing with the rest of the Krew here and will be bringing some great insights and views on our beloved industry and sport. These two guys bring some great experiences and viewpoints that I am very confident will help to greatly boost the quality of the content here. These two guys will hopefully be joined by a few more aces still hidden up my sleeve, but without further delay...

Meet Phil Gomes; Phil is the author of Spinopsys in Australia. Phil also writes for a political blog there and has contributed to cycling magazines there as well. Phil is also deep in the trenches at a retailer in Sydney. He's got a pretty cool perspective on things and is also a great guy. I had the great pleasure of meeting Phil when I was in Australia in April and I can firmly establish that he is a passionate blogger and cycling nutjob just like me. In his own words, here's Phil's "bio"...
Like many in the bicycle industry, Phil has worked in a number of areas, from retail to distribution and points in between. He's served as a bad mechanic and a good retail manager, unloaded containers, picked and packed orders, worked inside sales and outside as a road warrior, more recently he can be found on the floor at Woolys Wheels, one of Australia's finest bicycle retailers.

Phil also blogs about cycling at Spinopsys.com. wears glasses, has an ironic tattoo sports two earrings, hates driving and likes long walks on the beach under moonlight with that special someone...............Jeebus I'm really bad at this.........It's hard pimping myself......are we dating yet?
I think that covers it all pretty nicely!

Next up is Jeff Rowe; Jeff is a friend of mine here in San Diego, but to dispel any thoughts of cronyism, he's also a damned good writer and journalistic sleuth... and the buyer for a major retailer here. I've known Jeff for a few years and met him through a mutual friend. As I got to know him I realized that we are kindred spirits with very similar leanings in many areas. Jeff is a startlingly funny guy and also has a gigantic heart. I am very confident he will add great commentary here and I am really looking forward to his posts. Jeff is also a reluctant blogger, so he'll have some interesting things to offer and an unique perspective (similar to Donna who was not a big fan of blogging in the beginning). Here's a little background on Jeff as well...

SDSU Journalism/Advertising BA in 1987.

London Bike Messenger 1987 - 1998

Dublin Bike Messenger 1998 - 2002

Retailer 2002 to Present - Currently Buyer at B&L Bike and Sports in San Diego.

Though Jeff offered up a neat and tidy bio here, I can assure you that he can string together some great words and commentary... and he's not one for pulling punches, so this should be pretty darned entertaining. Plus, with all that messenger experience in London and Dublin, I'm sure he's got some great stories to tell and Donna has already requested one about how the industry's marketing approach to messenger-types does or doesn't work. (So there's your first assignment Jeff!)

I hope that all of you will help me welcome Phil and Jeff to the Krew and I know that they will both prove to be great additions to the family. I also want to thank them both for accepting the invite to come play here; thank you guys.

Again, thank you to all of you readers, new and old, who have joined in the conversation. I sincerely thank each and every one of you for coming here and reading what is being said. I look forward to being here in 2007 doing great things and watching what unfolds.

Thank you all for your support and readership.

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser




Posted by Tim Jackson at 8:30 AM 10 comments

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Book Club?

You read that right... Book Club.

I am happy to be a member of the Marketing Profs Daily Fix Book Club (brought to you by CK). This book club reads and then discusses great marketing books. The first book to be covered is the new book by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell called Citizen Marketers- When People are the Message.

So far I'm only about 3 or 4 chapters into the book and I can really and truly say that it is worth reading. Hell, goofy as it may sound, I was hooked by the end of the introduction. Ben and Jackie do a great job with their writing and with turning their research into compelling stories that solidify their ideas. As a writer myself, I know how hard that is to do. I'm not gonna give anything away here, so you'll just have to wait for the group discussion to take place over at the Daily Fix.

Why am I talking about a book on a bicycle industry marketing site? Well, because it is a marketing book and it has some very important things in it that apply to marketing in the bicycle industry. Bike companies should read this book! Social media is taking the world by storm right now, I mean... social media and the people who create the content made the cover of TIME as Person of the Year. That means that many people who ride bicycles or might one day soon are using social media at an ever increasing rate. The cycling industry absolutely has to get out of the dark ages and go out and reach these people, these consumers, these passionate users.
Bike Companies; go out and buy this book! I'm not going to tell you again...

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser

Posted by Tim Jackson at 9:03 PM 4 comments

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Z-Listers Unite!

My good friend (and fellow 'Bama boy) Mack Collier started a fantastic blog meme listing great and little known (in some cases) blogs. The list is largely marketing-type blogs, so I am posting the list here so that everybody can get to know these great blogs. I know many of them, but there are many more that I had never seen before and it will take me a while to get to know them.

So, without delay, here's the list for your review and discovery. The point is to take the list and post it on your own blog and add your own favorites. However, for me, all my favorite marketing blogs are already on the list. If I think of anybody new to add, I will;

Creative Think
Soloride
Movie Marketing Madness
Blog Till You Drop!
Get Shouty!
One Reader at a Time
Critical Fluff
The New PR
Own Your Brand!
OTOInsights
bizandbuzz
Work, in Plain English
Buzz Canuck
New Millenium PR
Pardon My French
Troy Worman's Blog
The Instigator Blog
AENDirect
Diva Marketing
Marketing Hipster
The Marketing Minute
Funny Business
The Frager Factor
Mindblob
Open The Dialogue
Word Sell
Note to CMO:
That's Great Marketing!
Shotgun Marketing Blog
BrandSizzle
bizsolutionsplus
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes! Andy Nulman’s Blog About Surprise
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
darrenbarefoot.com
Two Hat Marketing

The Engaging Brand
The Branding Blog
CrapHammer
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Viaspire
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
Buzzoodle
Conversation Agent
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Bullshitobserver
Servant of Chaos
converstations
eSoup
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
aialone
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Perspective
gDiapers
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
¡Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly
Jeremy Latham’s Blog
SMogger Social Media Blog
Masey.com

Special thanks to Mack for getting this started and for adding so much to the conversation.

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser

Posted by Tim Jackson at 9:08 PM 9 comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Cards - what's your take?

As Tim mentioned, I've joined The Spokesmen podcast. It's a great collaboration of bike industry related folks talking about everything under the sun bike related. Although I said "um" about, oh, a million times, it was a great conversation and I look forward to doing another one come January (minus the 'ums').

The draw for me with this group of people isn't only the podcast, but the conversations that we have between podcasts. Sure, we talk about the subjects for the next podcast, but we also have started to form friendships with those that we didn't know prior and strengthen relationships of those we already knew. The podcast is an 'excuse' for us to have conversations offline.

One of the conversations that started this week is timely - holiday cards. Personally, I love 'em. They are my favorite part of the holiday season. Although I am conscious of the environment and how we can best help preserve it (I recycle, turn off lights in rooms I'm not in etc. etc), I will always send holiday cards - yes, the old fashioned ones that are written out and mailed.

The discussion started offline is whether or not holiday cards are a thing of the past or not. For example, a few years ago Shimano stopped sending cards and used the money they would have used for cards as a donation to a charity. I don't know if they still do that, but that is a good idea - then everyone can feel as though they have given back in some way without even moving from their desk! Shimano did all the 'work' for them.

Now, I don't know if they sent holiday cards, too, or not, but Specialized used their website to send a big 'happy holidays' to everyone, customers, associates and just, simply the curious, with their online holiday greeting - The Nutcracker Suite played on all bike parts. It's pretty amazing.

What do I do? I send holiday cards with personalized notes to everyone. This year the notes weren't long - some simply said "Happy Holidays" and my signature because we didn't get them in (printer error and snafu!) until last Thursday and they needed to go out. I needed to write out over 150 in one day. So, a short greeting, but personalized nonetheless. I wouldn't have it any other way. I like doing it and, I think, most people like getting them.

What is your thought? I've heard from one of my fellow Spokesmen that holiday cards are ok, if they are personalized, not just sent randomly with either just the company name printed and no signature or the bunch of signatures and no personalization. You know, you've all got them sitting in your office - you open the card and there is the pre-printed greeting and the 10 signatures of the people you work with at the company. But, is your name written in at the top corner of the card? Probably not. I'm ok with that - I think it is nice to be thought about at all - but some people would rather it be more personalized.

Now, do I remember the cards that are personalized a little more than the group of signatures - absolutely. But do I fault those that don't - with the time limitations we all have these days, no way. However, I do agree that the completely pre-printed cards with no signatures are lacking a little bit. Hey, if I can get out over 150 in one day/night, with envelopes handwritten, too (in green ink, of course!), you can sign your name over and over on some cards. Think of it as your one day to be a rock star, giving your autograph to everyone around the world!

So, what is your thought on the whole Holiday Card issue? Send 'em traditionally? Use new media to send your greeting? Don't send 'em at all? Let us know. 'tis the season, after all.

And with that, because I can't possibly know all of YOU as well as Time Magazine does.....I'll use this venue to wish each of our readers a happy, healthy holiday season and a new year filled with great riding days (and the time to go out and enjoy them!).

Happy Holidays one and all!

Posted by Donna Tocci at 3:58 AM 8 comments

Monday, December 18, 2006

Spokesmen/ Spokespeople Podcast;

I usually post a link to the Spokesmen podcast on my other blog, but since the Spokesmen now contains myself, Tim Grahl (sadly absent for the last podcast) and now Donna Tocci I felt it relevant to post the link to the most recent episode here... besides I needed to post something here and I'm staring at a bad case of writer's block at the moment. It's pretty cool to me that three of us are all contributors here and members of the Spokesmen/ Spokespeople show... makes me pretty proud of what we've accomplished here. Maybe a Kool-Aid Krew podcast is on the horizon?

Actually, the Spokesmen is a project I've only been working on for a few episodes now (episodes 6-9). Tim has been working on it for longer than I have and Donna just joined as of the last episode. However, the project is the brainchild of David Bernstein of The FredCast and also has Carlton Reid of BikeBiz (among other things). There are other contributors who participate as well but David and Carlton have been on the show from the very first episode and are the glue that holds it together.

If you've never listened to an episode before, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. All the Kool Kids are doing it...

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser
(PS- more real, fresh content coming soon, along with more interviews.)

Posted by Tim Jackson at 9:33 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Congratulations Chris Lesser!

Our very own Chris Lesser has just landed a job with BIKE Magazine as new Associate Editor/ Gear Editor.

Here's the scoop- via BRaIN;
Former BRAIN Staffer Chris Lesser Joins Bike Magazine DECEMBER 06, 2006 -- DANA POINT, CA (BRAIN)--Bike magazine named Chris Lesser its new associate editor/gear editor. Lesser's main duties at the magazine will include overseeing its gear coverage and working with in-house and freelance product testers, all the while staying on top of product trends.

“Bike’s editorial tone and focus has always appealed to me and I'm looking forward to helping put out what I think is the best magazine in the industry," Lesser said.

Lesser brings with him several years of experience in the bike industry. Most recently, he worked as an associate editor at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, where he covered new product as well as the latest industry news. Prior to BRAIN, Lesser worked as a mechanic in a number of shops, including North Star Cyclery and Earl's Cyclery and Fitness—both in Burlington, Vermont—and Cutting Edge, a multi-sport specialty shop in Berlin, Connecticut.

Lesser graduated from the University of Vermont in 2002 with a bachelor’s in political science. In addition to his time at BRAIN, his journalism experience includes a stint at the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication of Columbia University's graduate school of journalism based in New York City. He also has worked as a freelancer for several publications.

Lesser will handle all new product submissions, as well as long-term gear reviews. He can be reached by phone at (949) 661-5185, or by email at
chris.lesser@primedia.com.

I've known Chris for about two years now and have had on and off contact with him and was supremely happy when he reluctantly agreed to join us here at the Krew. Due to his "real" job, Chris will likely be posting very infrequently, but I promised to keep his seat warm for him. I consider Chris a friend as much as an indsutry wanker and am really happy for his new role and I know that he will do it exceptionally well. Makes me wish I made products he could test...

Lesser; I'm proud of you and very happy for you. Now stop slackin' and start postin'!

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser

Posted by Tim Jackson at 10:30 PM 4 comments