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January 28, 2008
Giving Value A Voice (many "voices," actually)

This being my virgin post at Talent Zoo, I’ll start with explaining I’m a marketer to the core. I live my life in a constant state of curiosity as to what motivates people to take actions, or, alternatively, not take them.

I’m fascinated by how people think, what influences their decisions, the perceptions they hold... and whether those perceptions are grounded in reality or formed through really clever campaigns. Spotting an opportunity—be it a new offering, a new market, or a new program—is the most satisfying aspect of my work. I rally for practices that advance the profession and I speak out against ones that pollute it.

And I’m a real stickler for value. After all, value creation is marketing's entire reason-for-being (and anyone who tells you differently is singing you a song). It’s funny how much easier our jobs are, and how products virtually sell themselves, when they offer customers a rich value proposition. Alternatively, it’s far less funny—and a losing proposition—when companies use marketing tactics to compensate for a lackluster product.

But value is in the eye of the beholder, since it is truly a subjective measure. Take this column, while some readers may find it time well spent, others might find it time they’ll never get back.

No doubt you’re seeing a lot of marketers writing about the myriad virtues of social media (aka “Web 2.0”). And, along with various topics, through my column I’ll talk my share of social media, too. I’ll illuminate strategies that have turned my head for another look... and programs that make me shake my head at their lack of common sense.

Yet while many agencies, consultants and columnists are chattin’ up this oh-so-social space, many marketers are pondering a very astute, if altogether basic, question. So I decided to put the question out there. Literally.

In late 2006, I asked my blog’s readers one question. A simple question, to be sure. But the one that matters the most, namely: “What is the single greatest point of value you receive from blogging?”

I sought the single, the uber, the most rewarding, robust and important point of value they receive from all their time, thought and trouble. (Aren’t you wondering it, too?)

The question centered on value because everything we do—in all that we do—stems from there. Take choices. What we choose to do with our careers, which candidates we vote for, whom we choose to be our friends, and how we choose to spend our time, are functions of what we most value. Same thing with motives; we're driven by those things and thoughts that hold the most value for us. So value isn't just a telling factor, it's the tell-tale factor.


With a bevy of responses—ranging “connection” and “community” to “idea exchange,” “innovation” and many more—I created a collage (of sorts) featuring everyone’s responses in a “conversational” manner. The format was apt given the blogosphere is, all told, really just a compilation of many conversations.

You can access the document in PDF format here or you can view it in rich media format here. (please note: Page 1 of the collage captures the “keywords” but full responses are listed on pages 2-5.)

So, why am I sharing this with you?

A couple reasons. In a time when the majority of Web 2.0 coverage focuses on consumers’ use of the medium, this piece reflects feedback on its myriad benefits for business audiences. And because the input spans responses from many “voices” including marketing consultants, creative specialists, advertising executives, respected authors and PR strategists... which just happens to be the audience here at Talent Zoo.


As the discussion in this column continues, I hope we’ll enlighten one another through new ideas on a host of topics—and challenge one another through voicing our differing views on many others. That’s where the value is, after all. And hey, you never know what we might wind-up creating (though likely not another collage ;-).

PS: Since I originally published the collage, it’s been so fascinating to see how many outlets have taken an interest in it. Having caught the eye of a few media publications, it’s also been circulated through some companies and featured in speaker presentations. The piece has been posted on blogs written in languages I recognize... and, admittedly, a few I don’t. It’s even been posted on some faith-based blogs (so perhaps they found inspirational value in it).

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I was born Christina Kerley but everyone calls me “CK”. NY-based, I’ve been in marketing for 15 years with my own business for eight. My work is split between strategy, social media and program development. As with my blog, I write on some core -- but often overlooked -- marketing principles, as well as the new 2.0 best practices now that customers are in control (where they belong).
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