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the best of the best?

Hi there, it’s Rebecca, Marketing Guru at RunMyErrand. Having been in luxury consumer marketing in Boston for over 10 years, this time of year is always filled with anticipation, excitement and anxiety. And it’s not because we are halfway through the Red Sox season or because the weather has finally changed and the weekend warriors make driving out of the city on a Friday a new sport, but because it is the time of year that both Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian publish their “Best” lists for the Boston area.

At the time of this post, The Improper’s “Boston’s Best” issue has come out and Boston Magazine‘s “Best of” issue should be on stands next week. I am both ambivalent about and obsessed with these lists. I believe that they provide a useful resource to refer to throughout the year when I am up for a great Brunch (according to IB it is Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge) or want a Girls Night Out (Liberty Hotel). If I am struggling to find something to do at night with friends or if my in-laws are in town, I admittedly refer to these lists and am apt to try out a new Salon, Restaurant, Bar, Store or Service they recommend.

But on the other hand, there are so many hidden jewels in Boston and so many wonderful places to see and visit that are continually omitted from these lists.  Some claim that winners “buy” their way onto the lists by throwing around advertising dollars or by wining and dining or through use of brute force. I have no evidence to suggest this is the case (if it is, let me know who to pay to get RunMyErrand considered for the 2010 “Best Service” winner) but I am skeptical that perhaps some categories are on a “best of” auto-pilot. I will refrain from listing those but I think we all agree there are some on these lists that have lost their luster.

And yet, we as consumers and we as marketers eat up these lists even though there may be inherent flaws. Even though we might be skeptical about their merits, even though we have been disappointed in the past. We hold onto the periodical longer than its normal lifespan, dog ear the pages, note the margins and rip out the keepers. With Yelp and other sites providing up-to-the minute feedback about local establishments written by the every-man I wonder how long we will rely on these once-a-year lists compiled by an elite group of 30-50 Bostonians.

For now, I admit, I cannot wait for the August issue of Boston Magazine. If only, to gossip and questions the choices.

What about you? Do you put a lot of credit into these lists? What are some of your favorite places missing from the list? And remember, with RunMyErrand, if you need something at one of these winning locales, just let us know. We’ll get it for you. Without judgment.

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