Friday, August 27, 2021


(Digest, 52pp, $6)

This wonderfully thoughtful and intense fanzine was published in 2018 by Orange, Calif., native Adrian H. (@asphaltpearls, perhaps) to focus on his intense My Chemical Romance fandom a decade prior in 2008. 

A handy "Nutrition Facts" panel on the back cover suggests that the contents address the band's cultural impact and what made them special, plus leather jackets and boas, fan forums and masculinity—and that the zine includes discussion of poetry... and revenge.

It's all true. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Seven Best Marketing Research Blogs

I’ve been blogging since 2001. It’ll be 20 years this June. (Can you believe it? Here’s my first ever blog post.) I can even remember Evan giving me a Blogger T-shirt out of the trunk of his car while parked on the streets of San Francisco. More recently, much of my online activity has migrated to social media and my email newsletter—you can learn more about my emerging personal media model here—but I’ve been trying to blog more actively lately. And I’ve been trying to blog with more professional intent and purpose.

Regardless, I am woefully unaware of the state of blogging or social media in terms of marketing research and marketing researchers. I’ve kept both practices (my professional work and my online activity) relatively separate over the years somehow. And I’d like to learn more about who’s worth following and reading. We’ll start with marketing research bloggers.

Here are what I currently consider the seven best marketing research blogs:

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Question of the Week

What are the most important aspects of online marketing?

I’ve been giving thought to my own online presence lately, and the different aspects and parts of that which contribute to increasing attention and interest. The following can probably be applied to marketing yourself as an individual—your personal presence—as well as online marketing more generally for companies and organizations.

The primary difference might very well be budget and scale, though the model itself might prove useful regardless of whether you’re considering this personally or professionally. Some of this you can do with funding, and some of it you can even do for free just as an individual. 

Regardless, here’s how I break it down:

Values and Principles

Since the beginning of the year, I've been digging into the DeMartini Value Determination Process and reading Dr. John DeMartini's book The Values Factor. I haven't finished completing all the exercises in the book yet, but I have gone through his process a few times since 2017, and it's been useful in determining and identifying what I consider most important. That, in turn, is helpful, too, as I set priorities, make goals, and decide where to spend my time and energy.

If you haven't gone through a similar exercise, you might find it useful, as well. I'm sharing my results here, so you can see some of what you might expect to accomplish, as well.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Current

I recently wrote The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Current: 50 Ways to Stay Up to Date and Well Informed, a 20-page guide to what I read and recommend to keep on top of current events, societal trends, and other driving forces in general topics.

For a limited time, this Ultimate Guide is available to Media Dieticians for a discounted rate of $5. If you'd like me to send you a copy, PayPal me $5, and I'll smuggle you the essentials.

If you've ever been curious about what's on my reading list, informing this blog, my social media activity, and the weekly newsletter, the Guide is an inside look at what's on my reading list.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Labor Manual


Audio only

Script below...

An Industry Hero

All of us have heroes, people who inspire us and help drive us to become the very best people and professionals we can be. Sometimes we’re not even aware who those heroes are, people we’ve encountered, who exhibit a quality, practice, or characteristic that impressed us—and which we’ve adopted and picked up on our own. Sometimes we know exactly who they are, and why we admire them and aspire to be more like them. That could be a family member, a colleague or co-worker, someone in our industry or trade, or someone larger still.

When thinking about who I admire in my industry—or in this case, an industry adjacent to mine—the first person who came to mind was a woman I’ve never even met. That surprised me. Since about 2006, when I started working at DoubleClick, I’ve known the name of Leslie Laredo and have been aware of the work of her company, the Laredo Group. If she comes across this post, she’ll be surprised. I don’t expect her to know me, either. In fact, I’m slightly conflicted writing this, but I think it highlights that inspiration and role models can come from unexpected places—and from people we might know just by reputation or other people’s perspectives.

The Laredo Group, which Laredo founded in 1996, is a sales and account management training, and digital media training company that concentrates on the sales of advertising and marketing technology, as well as the sales and purchase of digital media. That includes mobile, programmatic, social, and video media. The company also assesses and analyzes sales performance skills and attitude to help sales teams and organizations benchmark their performance and potential. And it provides instructional design services for new hire on-boarding training, compliance and certification, internal product training, talent development, and sales training.

I was surprised to learn that they don’t yet offer marketing or sales research training, which seems a logical outgrowth of that focus. Laredo and the company don’t make the news often, but when I think about online media sales and marketing training, I think of the Laredo Group first. And I’ve never been a client.

Given that limited exposure, I’m impressed and inspired by a couple of things.

Monday, March 08, 2021

The Difference Between Market Research and Marketing Research


I recently came across this interesting infographic, a Venn diagram considering the differences and similarities between market research and marketing research. It accompanies a July 2020 post titled "Market Research vs Marketing Research: What’s the Difference?" on the site My Market Research Methods, which might not have been updated since last October. 

Regardless of the site's currency, this diagram interested me. People often use "market research" and "marketing research" interchangeably. If you read "Market Research Guy"'s post—which I won't summarize here—he makes a compelling case: They're distinct but related practices.

What's missing here, however, is a circle for Product Development Research, perhaps. (That could also include User Experience Research as a subset.) And I'm thinking about the placement of market segmentation. If you also think about it in terms of audience research, that could inform marketing, as well as product development. And if you also think about it in terms of audience segmentation, that might even more squarely—or roundly?—overlap with marketing research.

Or is market the same as audience? I would say not. Let's discuss!

What do you think about this representation? Anything you'd change? Anything you'd add? 

If we were to add Product Development Research, what might that encompass?

Friday, March 05, 2021

Guest Post: The Intimacy of Audio

This post is a guest post by Scott Monty, who offers executive coaching, advisory, and speaking services through Scott Monty Strategies. Thank you, Scott, for participating in the Media Diet conversation!

"Daddy, tell me a story."

It's a refrain repeated in many languages all over the world—a timeless routine that signals the winding down of the bedtime routine. It happens in our house, even after our kids have been old enough to read on their own.

What's the first story you remember?

Odds are it's a fairy tale or a nursery rhyme, or perhaps a Dr. Seuss book.

Whatever personal reminiscence springs to the forefront of your brain ("mileage will vary," as we used to say in the auto business), I'll guarantee you one thing: it's a story you heard. That is, it's a story that someone once told you or read to you.

And it might not have been relegated to bedtime, either. Perhaps it was around a campfire, over a Sunday dinner, or at a family gathering, where the same yarns are repeated year after year.

The stories we tell define who we are. We develop a culture based on the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and our culture is formed via a certain collective memory.

The Thaayorre of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia, are historically an oral people, passing down their traditions via the spoken language. And they believe intellect and memory reside in the ear.

So it makes perfect sense that our strongest memories of early stories are from what we heard rather than what we read.

The ancient poet Homer is believed to have been blind and unable to write even something as simple as his own name. Yet he composed "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," foundational poems in the Western canon. Those two epic poems were first shared orally, suggesting that considerable portions of the 27,803 lines were memorized by rhapsodists who performed them regularly.

The main liturgical rite of the Catholic mass for centuries was sung in Gregorian chant. Before congregants were able to read widely, the religion assured its survival by sharing the oral tradition that is so intertwined with the image of Benedictine monks. Even today, post-Vatican II, there are still some vestiges left of those chants.


“Language is the armory of the human mind and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.”—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1817


Beyond singing, though, how powerful the spoken word is. While the printing press gets credit for a revolution of religion, industry, and education, humans have thrived on language to carry our traditions along.

Historians might bristle at the notion of a historical record sustained solely viva voce, with something as loose and malleable as language, but the inescapable fact is we are an oral—and aural—people.

That is bolstered by the latest trends and supporting technologies. When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod in 2001, he said you could have "1,000 songs in your pocket." That appealed to our love of music and all that is audio.

Fast forward to the present day, when Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study tells us more than one out of three Americans listen to podcasts, 62 percent of us over the age of 12 use some sort of audio assistant, and podcasts reach more than 100 million Americans every month.

Audio news such as Joe Rogan’s podcast going exclusive with Spotify for $100 million, and Amazon pushing into the local podcast market (where we rely on local news, sports, weather, and advertising), and the rise of social audio apps such as Clubhouse are additional signs that audio is booming.

Whether it’s asking Siri a question, telling Alexa to add something to a shopping list, or dictating a voice-to-text reply, we're using our voices to speak to our digital companions, not just each other.

The oral (and aural) tradition is alive and well.


“The gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance and it may well some day become the foundation of a common citizenship.”—Winston Churchill, 1943


This wide-open medium stands before us, easily conquered with microphones and hosting services that are affordable and accessible. It's like a modern-day Gold Rush, with prospectors storming the general stores for supplies and heading into the wilderness to mine a vein.

Similar to the California Gold Rush that burst into the national consciousness in 1849 and peaked by 1852, we might stand on the edge of a podcasting rush. How long before we become oversaturated with audio content?

With podcast familiarity at more than 70 percent (again, according to Edison Research), it's the perfect opportunity for brands to create content for the medium.

Stories work because they affect us at a deeply personal level. And yes, we can craft words on a printed page to tell a story, but we run the risk of a speed reader or hyper-scroller who breezes past an important point we're trying to make.

But audio? With audio, we have a chance to arrest their attention. To say the same thing to everyone and to have everyone hear it the same. To form a common bond through the same language.

The Most Intimate Form of Communication

What has always struck me is how personal podcasts are. Whether we're listening at our desks, on a walk, while we're gardening, or while we commute, it's a medium in which someone is speaking directly into our ears.

That is a level of intimacy that isn't afforded by other media.

Podcasting content speaks directly to us, just as we do to our children when we tell them bedtime stories.

It's entirely possible that our future oral tradition will include the phrase, "Alexa, tell me a story."


Scott Monty is a 15-year veteran of podcasting and a strategic communications advisor, after serving as Ford Motor Company's first executive responsible for digital communications and social media. He writes the Timeless & Timely newsletter, where the past enlightens the present.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

My Very First Project

Trying to identify the Very First Project I ever worked on, in order to consider what lessons I might have learned from it, was much more challenging than I expected. I’m sure that as a child, I worked on multiple art projects, but those are usually relatively limited in scope and might not afford the same opportunities for learning. Also, while I definitely learned how to do multiple things—multiple skills—as a child, those situations don’t always present themselves as projects, per se.

Regardless, I’ve identified three contenders for my Very First Project—or project-based learning moments, at least: learning how to tie my shoes, which I do remember; an illustrative art project during grade school, which I return to occasionally for its primary lesson; and my first research project, a term paper of sorts, when I was in third grade. All three predate my first working experience, which was delivering newspapers door to door (go figure). And all three taught me something I still use to this day.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Mentor Moment: Root Cause Analysis, the Five Whys, and the Question Behind the Question


Transcript below...

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

Consider this, if you will, for the next time you need an icebreaker or warm-up activity for a team or group of people who might not be totally familiar with each other. It’s also a fun topic of conversation for a spare moment with your family and friends—and could lead to some interesting debate and discussion.

The question is this: If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would you invite? You can take various approaches to the question in terms of whether you want participants to focus on living celebrities or famous people, living notable movers and shakers—but not necessarily celebrities—or historical figures, celebrity or otherwise.

(Do be careful how you ask the question however. Asking, “What three people would you like to have for dinner?” could lead to very different answers, and perhaps criminal charges related to the desecration of corpses, should such a dinner occur.)

Take note: You can also play the game at work—imagine that! Games at work—by focusing on people from your practice, profession, industry, or even company. For example: What three living marketing leaders would you want to have coffee with? What three historic marketers would you invite to a dinner party? (P.T. Barnum, anyone? Totally.)

Depending on how you approach the game and question, the results can be fun, as well as productive, especially if you’re focusing on industry or professional luminaries—and provided you further explore why you’d want to hang out with them. What questions would you ask them? What would you seek their help and assistance with? What do you think they’d bring to a project that you and your team can’t currently bring yourself? How do you think they’d approach a given challenge or problem?

In any event, here are three people that I’d like to invite to dinner—and why. I would not, however, have these people for dinner.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Four Things I've Missed

Late last year I gave a talk to some colleagues about a number of topics. One of the topics that I addressed was things that I missed—things that I was not able to pursue or participate in given the stay-at-home orders, working from home, and the pandemic. So as I think about goals and dreams for 2021, a large part of my thinking is based on wanting to return to these things by the end of the year.

There are four things that I miss terribly but I hope to be able to return to and participate in again at some point in 2021. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

How to Get My Job

When I was in college, I used to get really irritated when I or a fellow student asked a visiting professional or journalist how they got where they were in their chosen career—and they answered that we probably couldn’t get where they had gotten following the same path any more. They’d tell their career path story, sure, but that caveat always seemed to cheapen and weaken the career advice in terms of its perceived applicability, and it felt like a cop out. It used to annoy me greatly.

Now that I’ve been working for several decades and I’ve had as many jobs in as many organizations as I have—even having changed careers and industries, for gosh sake—I can tell you this: That caveat is not at all a cop out and usually is not offered as a hedge or a dodge; it is 100 percent true and reasonable.

So when people I coach and mentor ask me how I got started in my industry or career, similar to those professionals who exasperated me in college, I know how I got here… kind of… but I’m not sure you’ll be able to follow the same path. My path will not be your path. My path then would not—most likely could not even—be my path now. I’m actually not really sure how helpful or useful my career path is as a model. Regardless, here are some ideas and lessons for folks just starting their careers that might be applicable for you, too, even now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Pay Attention to How You Spend Your Time

Shortly into the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the amount of screen time I was spending concerned me. (My teenage son’s screen time concerned me, too, but that’s another story.) Between my expanded workday without commute time on the laptop, active use of my mobile phone for messaging and social media throughout the day, watching TV and movies with family—and alone, while folding laundry—purely leisure use just to fill and kill time at the end of the day (ahem, TikTok and doom scrolling), and a brand new iPad, my screen time had radically increased… and I wasn’t really even sure to what extent.

So I needed to assess that and audit it—oh, researchers...—so I could be fully aware of how much time I was wasting, if I was, and how much of it I could chalk up to reasonable use in a time of relative stress and concern. Luckily, I had a good start already—and some longitudinal data I could include in the audit.

Since January 2019, I’ve used a mobile app called SaveMyTime to keep track of how I spend my time. I log every action, including going to the restroom (AKA “ablutions”) and feeding the cat (AKA “Spooner”). Here’s how the last two years have broken down, excluding items accounting for less than 3% of my time:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Seven Business Books Worth a Look

Any business leader or marketer worth their salt should be reading frequently—heck, constantly—be it local business news, trade magazines, academic journals, practitioner blogs, or business, personal and professional development books.

Brian Tracy suggests that you read at least 30 minutes a day for personal or professional development. Garrett J. White proposes that you should read until you get an idea or an insight—and then immediately document how you can apply it in your life. And Peter Voogd recommends that you continue reading and exploring a given text until you have mastered it fully… in practice.

With the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders, you might have found yourself traveling less for work—and spending less time browsing airport bookstores, which are sometimes the best and most convenient places to learn about new business, sales, and marketing books. So, what to read?

Because health-related travel restrictions might continue well into this year, I offer Media Dieticians this short list of business and related books that I recommend. Some are new, some are old. All are recommended.