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New take on the Marketing Mix or Mixed Metaphors?
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.