"Gotta get me some of that New Marketing. Bring me blogs, e-mail, YouTube videos, MySpace pages, Google AdWords . . . I don't care, as long as it's shiny and new."
Wait. According to bestselling author Seth Godin, all these tactics are like the toppings at an ice cream parlor. If you start with ice cream, adding cherries and hot fudge and whipped cream will make it taste great. But if you start with a bowl of meatballs . . . yuck!
As traditional marketing fades away, the new tools seem irresistible. But they don't work as well for boring brands ("meatballs") that might still be profitable but don't attract word of mouth, such as Cheerios, Ford trucks, Barbie dolls, or Budweiser. When Anheuser-Busch spends $40 million on an online network called BudTV, that's a meatball sundae. It leads to no new Bud drinkers, just a bad case of indigestion.
Meatball Sundae is the definitive guide to the fourteen trends no marketer can afford to ignore. It explains what to do about the increasing power of stories, not facts; about shorter and shorter attention spans; and about the new math that says five thousand people who want to hear your message are more valuable than five million who don't.
The winners aren't just annoying start-ups run by three teenagers who never had a real job. You'll also meet older companies that have adapted brilliantly, such as Blendtec, a thirty-year-old blender maker. It now produces "Will it blend?" videos that demolish golf balls, Coke cans, iPhones, and much more. For a few hundred dollars, Blendtec reached more than ten million eager viewers on YouTube.
Godin doesn't pretend that it's easy to get your products, marketing messages, and internal systems in sync. But he'll convince you that it's worth the effort.
Godin's latest business handbook (after Small Is the New Big and The Dip) revisits some of his most popular marketing advice, while emphasizing that it can't just be applied willy-nilly. In past decades, he says, companies were able to get rich by making average products for average people, but those markets have long since been sewn up; mass is no longer achievable [or] desirable. Rather than simply rely on mass media to raise product visibility, New Marketing treats every aspect of interacting with customers--including customer service and the product itself--as an opportunity to grow the organization. In order to be successful with such marketing techniques, a company must change its practices across the board. Otherwise, you're just putting whipped cream on a meatball. Godin has a perspective on everything from blogs (don't bother unless you really have something to say) to the long tail (if it's as valuable to your company as the top sellers are, why aren't you paying more attention?). His arresting conversational style is sure to once again set the business world talking. (Jan.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 26, 2007
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