Afternoon chat with John Zagula of Marketing Playbook

Afternoon chat with John Zagula of Marketing Playbook.

John Zagula, partner with Ignition partners, and co-author of the excellent Marketing Playbook,
just spent a few minutes on the phone with me — we were picking up on
the conversation we started the other evening. I was typing in the
browser window and accidentally closed. Gone. Grrr.

But, from memory, here's what we chatted about. The nice thing about
blogs is that the conversation can be continued and lost notes can be
rebuilt. I'll be watching the Marketing Playbook's blog for more interesting insights.

Why they wrote the book

They had learned a lot about marketing while at Microsoft and while
funding new companies in their roles at Ignition Partners and people
kept asking them to put their knowledge down in a book.

They discovered a framework that works and keeps companies focused
on the basics rather than get off track on tactics (building cool
looking advertising is fun, he told me, but is it really communicating
what your company is about?)

How software is changing

Expectations in the marketplace are changing. Even staid enterprise
users are expecting things to work, be more like a service, and open up
new potential. John told me how he's now able to have a blog, was able
to edit his own film, and do other things on the computer that were
very difficult, if not impossible just five years ago.

He also told me to even look at Microsoft's Windows Update: software
is changing from something we buy that stays static to more of a
process that we use that updates often while we use it. Look at Google,
for instance, we use it and it's always changing while we're using it.

What Microsoft should do?

“Be more boring,” he told me. “Huh?” He went on to explain that
growth will come from making computers more reliable, secure, and easy
to use. Ahh. Boring stuff!

What is interesting about blogging

Blogging, he says, is all about talking with customers and being
believed. Blogs are authentic. Original. Believable. And they build
great relationships with customers, and, with competitors and/or
potential partners.

Is branding dead?

No, but it's changing. “Hey, you have a brand now,” he told me. He
explained that that's important. That new business is being chased up
by guys like Craig Newmark with his Craig's List. “Look at eBay,” he
told me. “They had a small number of highly active community members
who dragged in a much larger number of less active members.” The trick,
he told me, is to find those guys who create content and experiences
that'll pull in the larger numbers.

Well, actually, this is probably easier to read than my original
word-for-word notes (I gotta use OneNote next time rather than trying
to take notes right in the browser window, grrr). The Marketing
Playbook will help you think through your marketing plan. It gave me a
framework to discuss marketing with my coworkers (and with all of you).
If you've read the book, for instance, you'll know what I mean when I
say “this is a stealth play.”

Thanks, John. Oh, I forgot, I also told him that I'm thinking of doing a podcast. That I am.  [Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger]

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