February 29, 2016

10 Year Anniversary

March 1 is the ten year anniversary of The MineThatData Blog. 

My goodness.

3,200 posts and 1,500,000 words. Anywhere between 1,500 and 2,500 are subscribed to the blog at any one time. Nearly 300,000 unique individuals have read at least one post, nearly half of the grand total read one single post in January 2007. That's the only time anything went viral.

There are two things that posting five times a week give me.
  1. Practice. You get better when you write 3,200 blog posts. You don't get better as fast when you publish ten times a year. I see this pattern repeat in my work - digital folks get smarter so much faster than offline folks, simply because digital folks get to practice often and quickly. I measure everything. I've learned that almost all "engagement" and "content" best practices are invalid for the work I do. In fact, the less engaged folks are with content, the more business I tend to get. Let that one sink in for a moment if you are a content marketer or a social media guru.
  2. Frequency. Frequency is a big deal. If you aren't in the inbox, you are forgotten. I know this to be true ... I lost 1,000 subscribers when Google Reader died three years ago ... 90% of those people never came back.
Early on, I realized it was going to be very hard to write honestly about what customer data was telling me. There are just too many forces that do not want an honest discussion about how customers behave, forces that make money when a dishonest view is promoted, one filled with seductive lizard logic. You know this is true, for most of the advice you've been given, when implemented, did not help grow your business. 

The compensation structure of our industry (vendors fund research brands, conferences, and trade journals) makes it very difficult to share an honest message without being pummeled by those who have a vested interest in protecting the compensation structure of the industry.

So seven years ago, I tried something that became the most popular series on this blog. The series? "Gliebers Dresses". By writing about a fictional company, I could say things that couldn't be challenged ... what is a vendor going to do, publicly beat up Roger Morgan for advocating adherence to a Woodside Research report? Is the trade journalist going to beat up Glenn Glieber for making fictional comments like "I love free marketing?"

The second most popular series written on this blog are the posts that support this presentation about Customer Acquisition (click here). This has been an eye-opening learning process, folks.

The most popular product I've offered is Merchandise Forensics. It's not even close. Merchandise-centric posts are in the lower quarter of "engagement", but generate a ton of business. Let that one sink in for a moment, and reference it the next time you are told to build a credible, relevant, optimized content strategy that leads to increased engagement.

Repeatedly, via project work or my conversations with you, I have learned that your needs and observations are different than the mainstream pap you're being fed.
  1. You want an honest discussion about why business is tepid, and will heartily consume a fictional account of a business in order to get closer to truth.
  2. You are struggling with finding new customers at a reasonable cost, and realize that this is one of the two secrets to business success.
  3. You now realize that merchandise productivity is holding you back, and as merchandise productivity erodes, your customer acquisition activities suffer, and without a steady diet of new customers, you don't any loyal customers to retain.
That's the reality of ten years of content. You want honest facts. You want to learn how you might acquire new customers. You realize that merchandise is terribly critical.

Ok, your turn. What do you want to see covered in the next year? What is the content that will help you the most? Why not send me an email message (kevinh@minethatdata.com), and share how long you've been a subscriber, what you've liked, not liked, and what you want to see going forward.


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