February 21, 2007

An Open Letter To The Marketing Blogosphere

Dear Marketing Blogosphere,

When I began writing my blog last August, I looked to all of you to understand how this form of communication worked. I subscribed to most of the blogs in The Viral Garden Top 25 list. I subscribed to Marketing Profs Daily Fix. I checked out many of the blogs in the Z-List and the Power 150.

I learned a lot! At one point, I maintained nearly 200 blogs in Google Reader.

Yesterday, I unsubscribed from two more blogs, reducing my total to less than 150.

Why have I unsubscribed from so many blogs? Because we can be a very negative group of writers. I am equally guilty of this. But I'm growing tired of reading constant, non-stop, "I am better than you" criticism.

The great jetBlue crisis of 2007 represents a tipping point for me. Hundreds of jetBlue customers were imprisoned on airplanes for up to eleven hours last week. Thousands of families, travelers, and business associates were also inconvenienced.

According to Google Blogsearch, more than 7,500 articles have been written about jetBlue in the past seven days.

The marketing blogosphere has been particularly vocal. Many of us criticized jetBlue for gross incompetence. Many of us offered suggestions on how they can remedy the situation for those impacted. Many of us hammered them for being just another big, impersonal business that doesn't care about customers. Many of us suggested they use their own blog, or YouTube, to communicate with us. And when they did decide to use YouTube to communicate with us, some of us blasted them for not apologizing, for not doing a good enough job of communicating, for not better leveraging their own blog. Could they have done anything that met our expectations?

Why do we act like this?

Are we writing all of this commentary because we genuinely care about the "jetBlue brand"?

Are we writing all of this commentary because we genuinely care about the employees at jetBlue, especially the 95% of employees who had nothing to do with this incident?

Are we writing all of this because we are loyal jetBlue customers, and we don't want this to happen to us in the future?

Are we writing this because the businesses we work for are perfect, and never make mistakes?

Are we writing all of this to demonstrate our subject matter expertise in managing large companies, crisis situations, or use of social media?

Are we writing all of this because we are so fed up with corporate America that we simply can't take it anymore?

We wonder why our craft hasn't been embraced faster by brands. Why would any brand want to jump into this tank of sharks? A brand can work on being authentic, honest, responsive. A brand can work on communicating better. A brand can fess up when it makes mistakes.

A brand doesn't have to participate in a craft that is fueled by such negativity.

I would like to initiate a change in how the marketing blogosphere behaves. Starting March 1, I would like for the marketing blogosphere to write something positive.

Just one day a month, on the first day of the month, write something positive. Call it "One Positive Day". On the first day of each month, let's all identify one brand, one person, one "anything" that has done an outstanding job, and let's feature that story by writing about it.

On each remaining day of the month, do whatever you have to do. But on the first day of each month, let's try something different. Let's highlight something good, let's spread something positive.


Are you with me? Or are you comfortable waiting for the next brand to implode, so you can blast them in front of your audience?

Sincerely,
Kevin Hillstrom
The MineThatData Blog