Now that Memorial Day is behind us and we have a summer full of vacations and weekend getaways to look forward to (well, not so much me, but hopefully all of you), it’s time to start contemplating your summer reading list. Thanks to the Counselors Academy, which prepared a 2008 Book Club at its recent Spring Conference, a few of your peers come bearing book recommendations. Below is one of four (two more to come, but also check out this one). Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section.
Reviewed by Jason Anthoine, APR
President, The Cohesion Group
Book name, title, author, publisher:
Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync? by Seth Godin, Highbridge Audiobook Publishers
What is the book about?
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. 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.
Why did you pick this book?
Seth Godin is a prolific blogger and one of my favorite authors. His clarity of message about how to (and how not to) market products, services and firms in a crowded marketplace is spot-on. He doesn’t mince words about what to do, how to do it and the difference it will make. Reading his work makes a thousand tiny light bulbs go off, providing energy and direction for taking your marketing efforts in a completely new direction.
What are the key take-aways?
All the new technology and social media tools are great, but they are like toppings at an ice cream parlor. If you start with ice cream, adding these delicious new toppings will make it taste great. But if you’re starting with meatballs, they’ll only make things yucky. Get the basics right (the product, the service, the firm) before expanding into the irresistible world of new media, which isn’t necessarily appropriate for everyone.
One radical or unexpected idea you really liked:
I was fascinated by his study of Anheuser-Busch and its attempts at online media in BudTV. He makes the case that a $40 million BudTV effort hasn’t led to any new Budweiser drinkers simply because the brand is a meatball that doesn’t automatically benefit from sundae toppings like an online TV presence. His second point is that spending millions to create an online presence is considerably different from having that presence created for you by millions of your customers, which is incredibly more valuable. Facilitate the conversation and the brand building, don’t dominate it.
One thing you disagreed with:
On the flip side of that coin, though, I disagreed with his total dismissal of Budweiser (and beer in general) as a meatball, saying that it can’t value from the new media tools. There are ways to promote that brand online that can help establish, build and maintain a conversation and a relationship with both current and new customers through new media. What about a photo site where people can upload a photo of a Bud bottle in unusual places around the world, a sort of Where’s My Bud? contest? What about a site that allows you to design your own bottle coozie or bottle top? Maybe a discussion board where people share stories of their Best Bud? Or an online virtual game with people searching in the real world for a Budweiser can with a check for a million dollars in it? It’s more their lack of creativity about how to use social media with the brand that Godin has a problem with, I think.
Thumbs up/thumbs down: Do you recommend it?
Thumbs up. Though it’s not my favorite book of his many volumes, just like the rest it has great kernels of insight that I can apply to both my clients’ businesses and my own.