Call me jaded, but mostly it's the Internal Conversation trying damn hard to influence (ahem, "align") the External Conversation that I'm witnessing in business blogs.
(I can't seem to eke out my usual 1500 word posts - so by way of intro, I'm jumping into the conversation spurred by these posts from gapingvoid (initiator), CorporateBlogging.info, and Blogspotting.net.)
I'm infinitely more interested in the reverse: Having the customer's conversations about their burning issues influence and inform the internal -- from the fuzzy front-end of marketing when products aren't even an apple in R&D's and product management's eye yet to customer support techniques to whatever.
Try putting your customers and your ecosystem's conversations at the center of the hub -- rather than your company's. Even if it's simply a conceptual idea, it'll radically change the focus of your conversation.
Marketing is not all about getting out the company story. Your customers have stories too.
Cisco broke from the pack of competitors (mainly 3Com and Bay Networks) through a variety of methods in the 1990s.
"The most interesting aspect of Chamber's view of the future was not its ultimate accuracy. What was different about his vision was the fact that it wasn't a vision for Cisco. Chambers was offering a perspective on the future business model of his customers..." (from Momentum)
Cisco stopped talking about themselves for five minutes and started with talking about something customers cared much more deeply about: their visions and their future. And you can't intelligibly have inklings about that sort of stuff without intimate relationships. And Deep Hanging Out.
"We're going to build this company from the customer back, not the company out." - ex-CEO Lou Gerstner on IBM's turnaround
I'm watching with interest the new blog, HeathlyConcerns.com. It's a customer-inspired customer-centric blog. It reverses the corporate-owned conversation trend. Rather than having the industry-insiders chat away, regular folks initiate conversations about health insurance and broader wellness issues they're facing. I think exclusive sponsor eHealthInsurance.com will learn a lot more this way -- they're just hosting the party and getting out of the way, says HealthyConcerns.com blogger Elisa Camahort (via an email exchange).
Hey, with over 9 million blog micro-micro-channels out there to chose from, you might want to think a tad harder about the "programming" of your business blog. Remind me, why am I tuning in again? A friend pointed out that there certainly are folks out there enamored with 24-hour infomercial channels. Even the infomercial cable channels are vastly more varied and entertaining in their propaganda. And they're not just all Us 24/7.
'Nuff said for now. Uh, where's the remote control thingie?