Frank of Frankwatching sent me an e-mail right from Sweden. “Isn’t this something for you?” Well, it was: a workshop by Jospeh Jaffe, writer of amongst others ‘Join the conversation’ or a book about ‘how to engage marketing-weary consumers with the power of community, dialogue and partnership’. Jaffe lives in New York and is a well-known expert travelling the world to give his workshops. Yet, the Belgian agency Famous managed to invite Jaffe in Belgium today, in the beautiful Koloniënpaleis in Tervuren.

I decided NOT to twitter and NOT to write down anything. I just listened to what Jaffe had to say. And that seemed to be a good idea. According to Jaffe there are five things you should do with your customers: 1. listen to them, 2. respond, 3. be invited to join the conversation, 4. catalyse and 5. start. And what you shouldn’t do? Manipulate, dominate, fake and control. The consumers of nowadays are smart, and they know when you are messing with them (and when you aren’t). So far so good.

Jaffe showed a lot of examples underlining his viewpoints. You probably all remember the film of the sleeping Comcast Technician:

You can imagine that this film damaged the reputation of Comcast quite a bit. Yet, they are joining the conversation and recently started offering their clients help on Twitter. And not in an anonymous way. Employer Frank takes care of ‘comcastcares’. A good reaction of the company if you ask me.



Jaffe also referred to “The Cluetrain Manifesto“, in which ‘markets are conversations’. According to Jaffe not only markets but also marketing should and can be a conversation, instead of one way messages from a marketeer to an anonymous crowd. He showed a picture of markets in the old time (where you could smell the herbs, hear the music, … and in the meantime discuss the goods) as opposed to the very clean shopping centres of nowadays, avoiding every kind of emotion. “That’s the problem of our whole society,” the man behind me whispered. But that’s another discussion.

At any case, it was quite inspiring. Even though I knew quite a lot of the ideas/examples mentioned, it’s always good to have them refreshed. The ideas are bubbling 🙂 .

The quote of the day:

“You shouldn’t ask your marketing agency for a VIRAL marketing campaign. When you have a good campaign, your marketing is always viral. People will always talk about you.”