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on 11 December 2008
Here is another thought-provoking book by leading contemporary marketing expert Seth Godin. The message is that businesses have a transformational opportunity by completely redesigning themselves around new marketing approaches made possible through web technologies - using social networks, YouTube viral videos, blogs, wikis, etc.

However, as Godin illustrates, many businesses merely try to lay these new approaches on their existing business models and end up creating something wholly ineffective (as messy and disgusting as a meatball sundae).

The book describes 14 trends and uses ample examples and case studies to show how they can be turned to advantage by businesses prepared to fundamentally rethink.

The easy to read style might wrongly lead some readers to the conclusion that Godin's ideas are lightweight. Yet there is more wisdom in this little book than in many a weighty marketing tome. Don't dismiss it.
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on 9 March 2009
The title of Seth Godin's new book is an immediate tip-off that he knows how to grab your attention. This savvy marketer satiates your curiosity quickly, explaining that simply adding "New Marketing" techniques, such as podcasting or uploading viral videos, to your existing strategies works just about as well as adding meatballs to a sundae. The "meatball" in this case is a generic product sold through traditional mass-marketing tactics. Instead of adding new marketing like a cherry on top of your current ad program, gain a true understanding of today's evolving social marketing environment, so you can use it to the advantage of your product. Godin says companies must retool their marketing to survive, because "ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful than ideas delivered at an individual." He breaks the new marketing wave into 14 trends marketers can use separately or in combination. getAbstract recommends this timely little book, which is full of case studies and examples that will help anyone who is selling an idea, product or service.
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on 26 February 2008
While not exactly mixing his metaphors, Seth Godin certainly comes close with the antithetical image he conjures up in the title of this book - as he did with `Purple Cow'. It's an old rhetorical device. Nothing wrong with that if it gets your audience's attention and you have something interesting to say. But whether I would describe what Godin has to say as `remarkable', I'm really not sure.

There's no denying Godin has a dynamic approach to getting his ideas across. And there are some `remarkable' insights in this book, although many of them have appeared in his previous works. And whisper it quietly, many of them are often variations on well-established marketing theories.

What is special about this book is that Godin provides a real and practical sense of how the internet is changing perceptions about marketing. But in a desire to get our attention, and attain guru status he has a tendency to overstate his case. As with many business gurus there is also the tendency to resort to `common-sense' assertion and easy-on-the-ear sound bytes.

For many of us on the European side of the `Big Pond' the old marketing Godin writes about never quite had the hold it seemed to have in the States. And if you are a small business or SME (small & medium enterprise) it tends to be even less relevant. So, to a certain extent, I agree with Godin that much of the older, conventional marketing overstretched their big idea and now it is being found wanting. But I'm not sure it should be dispensed with altogether. And to be fair, Godin doesn't really say this, although his rhetorical flourishes mean this point often gets lost.

My reservations about Godin's book - and here I'm being rather `picky' - is that some good `old marketing' approaches, particularly those that have focused on the importance of building relationships, will have dropped off the radar when the `cream' of the new marketing has begun to curdle. Now that's really mixing your metaphors!

I also have reservations about how a growing `brand' of new marketers make great play with the idea of `authenticity' to make their case. They seem to take it rather for granted that it is a straightforward matter to recognise what count as `authentic' offerings.

Godin claims that if new marketers concentrate on offering `an authentic story that matches our worldview, we'll believe it.' What he doesn't acknowledge here is how the TV industrial complex, which he claims to be outdated, has influenced and continues to influence our worldview. Arguably, part of what the internet does is simply `bounce' and echo these `worldviews' across cyberspace.

And in his conclusion, Godin offers some very old-fashioned marketing theory when he states: `[New marketers] are going to grow fast using [their] knowledge of human nature and the New Marketing that allows people to express their nature.' This sounds suspiciously like old marketing to me. Why it is Godin is able to lay claim to having meaningful insights into human nature, I'm not quite sure. Maybe it has something to do with the occupational hazards of being a business guru.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 December 2015
I was very disappointed is this book.

There's no doubt about it, Seth Godin is a leading thinker on marketing but I found the Meatball Sundae book long-winded and with little substance. Irritatingly this is a book I'd flicked through in a book store and bought. I think I must have read the few good bits. It rarely kept my attention and I think it's made up of blog posts which while connected don't seem to run into each other very well.

I love the metaphor of the Meatball Sundae - it's the result of combining two good things together and creating something messy and disgusting because the flavours clash.

Meatball Sundae is based around a series of trends:
1 - Direct communication and commerce between producers and consumers
2 - Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities
3 - Need for an authentic story as the number of sources increase
4 - Extremely short attention plans due to clutter
5 - The long tail
6 - Outsourcing
7 - Google and the dicing of everything
8 - Infinite channels of communication|
9 - Direct communication and commerce between consumers and consumers
10 - The shifts in scarcity and abundance
11 - The triumph of big ideas
12 - The shift from how many to who
13 - The wealthy are like us
14 - New gatekeepers, no gatekeepers

I felt it was a marketing pitch to corporate America rather than a useful guide to small businesses worldwide. Many of the examples used weren't familiar to me and that inevitably reduced their communication power.

I thought it was a waste of my time reading it but I kept hoping for something better to come through because I had faith in Seth Godin. Sadly I think he has created a Meatball Sundae himself.
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on 15 November 2011
If you've read any of Seth's other books you'll recognise the style immediately. To me it feels like Seth has sat down with a lot of very strong coffee and probably some cocaine and just put his hands on the keyboard. Things flow out... often in a rather disjointed fashion. But that is not to say that this book is not full of wisdom and ideas, just that it reads rather like a series of rushed blog or twitter posts rather than plot line. But that's Seth's style, and as long as you are used to it then it's easy enough to follow what is being said.

The crux of the author's argument is that marketing has undergone a major revamp in the world of the internet and "web 2.0". This is explored in 14 "trends" that he identifies in the book. He terms this difference as "The Old Marketing" and "The New Marketing" almost as nouns in their own right, which threw me a bit at first. Central to this book is that the traditional notions of how marketing should be achieved are not applicable to many online situations these days, a-la you cannot market a meatball as a sundae. I'm not convinced that the book's title is particularly superb; it works as a headline grabber, but the analogy is a little weak. A more accurate title would have been "why you can't expect traditional marketing rules to work with recent web 2.0 developments", but I appreciate that is somewhat less snappy!

Seth's books are always easy to read, and his writing style is fast paced and very confident. My only criticism with this book, as with most of his, is that he does have a tendency to go off topic as he weaves his way through a hyperspeed of ideas and opinions he wants to get through to you. You have to take time to digest what Seth is trying to get across and make your own interpretation of it, as he doesn't really spell it out all the time. He also has a tendency to use as examples non-mainstream companies and organisations he has personal involvement with, which is fine, but doesn't help reduce the need for explanations.

There are definitely a number of eureka moments in this book where you will think that he has hit the nail on the head. I was especially impressed with his insights into spam and how it has changed the way we view email. But again this was just a one paragraph epiphany amongst a sea of other thoughts and opinions pouring out.

All in all this is a good book which I enjoyed reading and learned from. But I think I probably had to invest as much as the reader as the author did as the writer to understand what was being said. You have to engage with this book to really understand what is being said, and provide your own level of interpretation.
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on 4 August 2014
Seth Godin is back again with yet another fantastic marketing manual, a book which will change the way you think about the new technologies that we’re all talking about and which increasingly dominate our lives. According to Godin, meatballs are the staples, the things that people need like toothpaste and washing powder – the old products and services that used to be easily sold through mass-market advertisements. Meanwhile, the sundae is the new layers of technology that the internet has made possible – delicious on their own, but they don’t go well with meatballs.

This, then, is Godin’s guide to using these new social networks – really, though, it doesn’t matter how you try to sell your product if the product itself isn’t right, and that’s the main gist of Godin’s book. What is a let down, though, is that there’s nothing to mark this book apart from any of Godin’s other work – all of his books fit together like pieces in a giant jigsaw, and while you should read this because you should read all of his books, it’s not as much of a barnstormer as Permission Marketing or Tribes.

Simply put, the ‘meatball sundae’ isn’t the strongest concept, which is a shame – still, there’s lots to be learned from the king of modern marketing.
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on 9 February 2008
This was a great read. Seth writes fast, firing out lots of interesting examples. I read Seth's blog regularly and believe I'm well up to speed on new marketing but still found lots of nuggets here. I found myself putting this book down a couple of times to visit the websites he mentions as he moves along. Enjoy.
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on 12 April 2008
Absolutely brilliant book. It put into words concepts that I knew were true in my head but I couldn't quite express them. I love it for two reasons: 1) It will hopefully help me build rational arguments to convince senior management in work that "New Marketing" is the way we need to go, and 2) It's given me a brilliant framework, some real world case studies, and solid advice that I'm going to apply to my own personal projects and enterprises to help them excel!

The book discusses, describes and gives advice on the practices that "New Marketing" companies (Netflix, Amazon, Google etc) have used to become the successes they are today, and how the lessons learned and philosophies that are driving this era of new marketing can be applied to and used by more 'traditional' organisation.

The one downfall I could point out is that Mr. Godin encourages us to make something remarkable, so that users/customers/readers will spread the word. This book is so remarkable that I almost don't want to recommend it to others, as I want to keep the advantage of having this knowledge to myself! :)
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on 11 September 2015
I am a big Seth fan, book arrived ontime and in good condition, many thanks
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on 24 November 2014
Not convinced.
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