Category Archives: Review

“Join the Conversation” Review

Join the Conversation BookI have just completed the book Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe and as someone new to the Marketing and New Media space it certainly was an eye opener. Jaffe’s first book Life after the 30-second Spot ‘reveals how today’s brightest marketers are using new tactics to engage consumers and new avenues to take the place of TV, radio, and print’ (from the books website). Join the Conversation takes a similar approach and reveals ways brands and companies can reach consumers that are already fed-up or blind to traditional marketing techniques.

I first came upon Join the Conversation as part of Jaffe’s Use New Marketing to Prove New Marketing campaign (UNM2PNM for short). In UNM2PNM, Jaffe offered this book for free to individuals willing to read it and give it an honest review. He wanted to use the marketing techniques is his books to prove their own effectiveness, turning the book into it’s own case study. This is a pretty bold move as the reviewers are free to disagree with him and criticize his hard work. But after reading the book, I realized that it is a case of ‘eating ones own dog food‘, that Jaffe stands behind his work and feels confident that you will find value in it.

The biggest takeaway for me is that as a marketer (or brand manager, public relations, etc) you truly need to engage your customers as honestly as possible. This can be as simple as starting a blog and allowing comments on your corporate website, to one of several interesting techniques used by brands described in Jaffe’s book…sorry no spoilers here! But the key is that it is done honestly with no contrived conversations.

Jaffe incorporates this exact technique as the embodiment of the book where he references and provides a web link to posts on Jaffe Juice or the books website to get certain points across. The beauty of this technique is that you, as the consumer of the book, are free to follow that link and formulate your own opinion. If you disagree (or agree for that matter) you can post a comment and let him know. How’s that for opening the lines of communication between brand and consumer!

The Price of Convenience

How much are you willing to spend to save time? When my wife and I had dinner Friday night we realized we were extremely short on…well, just about everything. So we fired up the old laptop and logged into our Peapod account to pick out some items.

  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Cereal
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Cat food
  • Cat litter

All coming to a grand total of $85 plus a delivery charge of $10. We selected Sunday 9am delivery and the driver was here right on schedule for essentially an 8.5% convenience surcharge (plus a little tip). Well worth the money as opposed to going to the store and selecting the items aisle-by-aisle.

Peapod is a service provided by Stop and Shop  but I am sure there are similar services elsewhere and hopefully in your neck of the woods. What do you think? Is a $10 delivery charge for groceries worth it to you? Especially with the added convenience of a categorized and search based online shopping experience.

Outlook Search with Xobni

I have been using the Outlook search add-on by Xobni for the past few months and I have to say it is a great time-saver for me. It is lightning quick in searching my Outlook email compared to the built-in search Outlook provides.

In addition to the search capabilities, Xobni allows you to better navigate your email world. When you are viewing an email in Outlook, Xobni will display the contacts phone number (and a link to call if you have skype installed), recent conversations and recent attachments.

Have a look at the following youtube video to see all the features of Xobni.

Does Dodge “Get” Conversation?

I am starting to realize a lot of conversational marketing now as I am reading Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe and one in particular that I watched last night. I was in my PJ’s with no pen/paper so take my recollection for what it’s worth! I will continue to look for the ad on YouTube and the Dodge website, it doesn’t seem to be available just yet.

The commercial starts with two individuals we are to assume work for Dodge designing cars. They are working at a drawing table and there is a car sketch on a board behind them. In from the left and behind walks an average woman we are to assume does not work for Dodge. She walks right up to the car sketch, picks up the marker and scribbles swirls around the back tires and wind lines off the back to indicate motion.

The designers turn to her and say, paraphrasing “So your saying it needs a bigger engine?”.

To me, this indicates that Dodge understands the two way street that is the conversational marketing Joseph speaks of in his book. They are showing us a “conversation” (albeit a contrived one since it was a staged commercial with actors and a script) between the consumer and the design staff for the car the consumer is interested in if it only had a bit more power.

What do you think?

Join the Conversation has Arrived

I have begun reading my reviewers copy of Join the Conversation I received from Wiley Publishing late last week. It is an interesting read so far and I hope to share it with you here as I go. The author, Joseph Jaffe, is conducting a living case-study of sorts in that he is offering this book free of charge to individuals willing to give it an honest review in their blog or podcast.

The goal is to use the same approaches he describes in the book to assist with it’s marketing. This, according to Jaffe, “would turn the book into its own case study.”

“Join the Conversation” by Joseph Jaffe

In the coming months I will be reviewing the book Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe. I have been listening to Joseph’s podcast Jaffe Juice (formerly Across the Sound) and I look forward to reading the book.

More about the book here:

Book Description
With the continued fragmentation of the media and proliferation of media options, the balance of power has shifted from the marketer to the individual. In Join the Conversation, Jaffe discusses the changing role of the consumer and how marketers must adapt by joining the rich, deep and meaningful conversation already in progress. This book reveals what marketers must do to become a welcome and invited part of the dialogue, and how to leverage and integrate the resulting partnership in ways that provide win-win situations for businesses, brands and lives.

From the Inside Flap
Throughout the history of advertising and marketing, communicating with consumers has been a one-way street. Marketers produced and disseminated messages and customers consumed them whether they liked them or not. Today, every person sees thousands of advertisements a day—and totally ignores the vast majority of them. Yet, companies still spend billions of dollars each year yelling at customers who don’t want to hear it.

In this follow-up to his bestselling book, Life After the 30-Second Spot, author Joseph Jaffe explains how marketers must adapt to the brave new world of the Internet, social media and networking, consumer-generated content, blogs, and podcasts by joining the rich, deep, and meaningful customer conversations already in progress.

Consumers today are active participants in the advertising process, not silent targets and sitting ducks for one-way communication. Forget about the medium being the message; today, consumers are both the medium and the message. The future is bright for organizations that can join the ongoing dialog and leverage their customer relationships to build win-win situations for businesses, brands, and individuals. Through the power of community, dialog, and partnership, marketers finally have the power to talk with consumers rather than at them.

Traditional marketing is a red flag smart consumers can see from a mile away; an outdated idea lurching toward them with the same predictable exhortations and tired come-ons. They’ve had enough, and it’s time to change the dynamic. When marketing is a conversation, marketers can get to know their consumers as individuals, not as silent members of a faceless demographic subsection. Join the Conversation uses real-world brands and companies, real case studies, and real conversations to reveal how to talk to customers—and how to get them talking about you.

It’s time for marketing and marketers to become more meaningful and authentic, or they will both become obsolete. Totally practical and brilliantly revolutionary, Join the Conversation reveals the future of marketing and how you and your company can march boldly into it.

Join the conversation today at or through Jaffe’s daily blog and podcast, Jaffe Juice (

Review: Agent18 Eco Shield (G3)

I can now take my iPod Nano G3 out of the house. Thanks Agent18! I received an iPod Nano G3 for Christmas this year and it’s black and shiny. This Nano is replacing my 2003 issued iPod that I scratched up something fierce within the first month I had it.

Every case I have owned (and that is quite a few) was either too clunky, not protective enough (as in no screen protection) or had features I that I didn’t need (like a belt clip). The Eco Shieldis what I have been looking for.

The Eco Shield (G3) is a two piece recycled plastic case that easily assembles over the iPod Nano. The front and back are completely covered with the exception of a cutout on the front to access the wheel.

What I have found the most useful bit about the Eco Shield is that the bottom of the case is completely open. This allows me to attach my FM Transmitter, and even dock the iPod without removing the case.


How I Stay Organized

Following the principles of Getting Things Done (or GTD) I use Remember the Milk as my method of capturing all of my To-Do’s. It is an online to-do list manager who’s functionality is as great as it’s name is silly.

There is a great review and how-to for Remember the Milk (Get Organized with Remember the Milk – from, I just wanted to shed some light on the program for anyone who hasn’t heard of it yet.

I spent a long time trying to find the killer app of task management. In fact, I wasted more time transferring my tasks to the next best thing to come along than I saved using the applications to begin with! I tried offline apps (MyLifeOrganized, TiddlyWiki) and online apps (Tada List, Todoist) and finally arrived at RTM; I’ve been an active user for over two years now.

For me, the concept is simple:

I can capture my tasks as I come upon them in many ways:

I can access my task from wherever I am:

Go ahead and try it out, it’s free and they have great support.