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5.0 out of 5 stars Practical insights on how and why customer-centric marketing can create or increase demand for the given offering, 27 Jun 2013
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype (Hardcover)
I cannot recall a prior time when customers had more control over the purchase/pass decision-making process than they do now. There are several reasons why. Here are three: they have more choices than ever before (including passing), they know more about products and services than ever before (especially via consumer reviews and social media), and so-called "customer loyalty" is earned and retained or lost one transaction at a time. The essence of marketing remains unchanged (i.e. create or increase demand for whatever is offered) but just about everything else has changed.

Although the term "youtility" is a tad cutesie for my literary palate, it does correctly stress two key concepts: customer-centrism, and, usefulness. According to Jay Baer, "Instead of marketing that's needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that's wanted by customers. Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers." As one sign of the times, Best Buy has done that by providing useful information that many people then use when making purchases online...from Amazon.

Baer examines three types of consumer awareness: Top-of-Mind ("an overripe banana tenuously clinging to relevancy"), Frame-of-Mind ("an apple, worthy of eating, but not enough to sustain you"), and Friend-of-Mine (Baer offers no metaphor so I will suggest a cook book). He identifies and discusses 20 companies that possess a Friend-of-Mine mindset and demonstrate Youtility in their customer relationships. Listed in alpha order, they include Angie's List, Big Popppa Smokers, Charmin (Sit or Squat), Clorox, Columbia Sportswear, Hilton Worldwide (@HiltonSuggests program), Holiday World, Life Technologies, McDonald's Canada, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Scott's Miracle-Gro Company, Syncapse, and Taxi Mike.

However different these organizations may be in most respects, all of them -- in my opinion -- seem committed to achieve most of these strategic objectives:

o Identify and understand (really understand) customer needs
o Embed those needs within marketing initiatives that respond to them
o Market (promote, better yet celebrate) marketing
o Embed a Youtility mindset at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise
o Sustain Youtility as an on-going process, a way of organizational life, not as a special project
o Use quantitative analytics to "keep score" both internally and externally

Baer explains how to achieve these objectives, providing a blueprint for each in Part Three. As several of his exemplars (notably Big Popppa Smokers and Taxi Max) clearly indicate, Youtility can be created and then sustained by almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. Business leaders who read this book should pay special attention to how quite different companies have become Youtility-driven.

As I concluded my first reading of this book, I was again reminded of Fred Reichheld's research on the importance of trust ("glue") in all of an organization's relationships with stakeholders, especially those with its employees and companies. It was Reichheld who devised the "Ultimate Question," one that obtains customer data of ultimate importance: "On a zero-to-ten scale, how likely is it that you would recommend us (or this product/service/brand) to a family member, friend or colleague?" As Reichheld explains, the phrasing of that question is "a shorthand wording of a more basic question, which is, [begin italics] Have we treated you right, in a manner that is worthy of your loyalty? [end italics]' The results calculate what Reichheld identifies as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and so shall I. But the question really wasn't [and isn't] the heart of things. After all, no company can expect to increase its growth or profitability merely by conducting surveys, however the question or questions might be phrased." A Youtility-driven company will have employees as well as customers giving it a high NPS. If you purchase the book from Amazon, it will cost you only $15.55 (hardbound edition) to learn just about everything Jay Baer has learned about how to create and then sustain a customer-centric, high-impact organization. How high would your company's NTS score be?

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check Reichheld's The Ultimate Question 2.0 (Revised and Expanded Edition): How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World as well as Joseph Michelli's The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE Business Book For 2014!, 15 Feb 2014
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Rarely does a book catch on to a trend at exactly the right moment and make it its own. Youtility by Jay Baer does exactly that. It seems that putting the words “Being Helpful” at the heart of your business in 2014 is the one strategy that will work to make your business better. But it is not an exact science. What goes around comes around, almost. If you try to be helpful with the goal of getting something back in return you are not giving genuine help. And it is almost definitely going to fail.

I have been thinking about this recently, as winning our recent Best Website Award in 2013 was only possible because we managed to prove to the independent judges that we have provided genuine help to business owners on our blog. Our help has solved problems and helped small business owners save money.

Jay Baer explains how to implement this strategy in your business in his book Youtility, and if you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend that you do. He suggests 6 steps to embedding a “Being Helpful” philosophy into your business.

1. Identify and Understand Your Customers’ Needs
2. Work Out The Best Way To Respond To Those Needs
3. Celebrate Your Helpfulness
4. Being Helpful Is A Mindset
5. Make Sure That Being Helpful Is A Continuous Process
6. Measure

So there have it, read this book, implement a 'Being Helpful' strategy and you will find really does help your business.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Content marketing blueprint, 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype (Hardcover)
With so much hype around 'content marketing' in 2014, it's good to see Jay Baer get to grips with the fundamental tenet of any content marketing plan - making something useful.

Great book, and I have already had to buy a second copy after giving away my first one.

A quick web search will turn up keynote videos and guest podcasts/vodcasts with Jay talking through the central themes of the book. Consider the book as a companion to these.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject and a good read, 22 Jan 2014
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Jay Baer introduces a developing concept in marketing that focuses on the individual consumer rather than the mass market. It's an approach that's gaining a growing following and one that gives small businesses a level playing field to take on the big brands. This book is a useful push to make your business a Youtility business and provides some handy examples that you could try today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype (Hardcover)
Excellent! Well worth a read.
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Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype by Jay Baer (Hardcover - 27 Feb 2014)
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