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Meatball Sundae: How new marketing is transforming the business world (and how to thrive in it) Paperback – 15 Jan 2009
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The essential guide to the fundamental shift taking place in marketing - and how you can profit by getting in sync.
What is a meatball sundae? It's something messy, disgusting and ineffective, the result of combining two perfectly good things that don't go together. Meatballs are the basic staples, the things people need, the stuff that used to be marketed quite well with TV and other mass market techniques. The topping is new marketing: MySpace, websites, YouTube, and all of the magic that CEOs wish would shine atop their companies. The problem? New marketing is lousy at selling meatballs. When confronted with the myriad opportunities presented by new marketing, people usually ask 'How can we make this stuff work for us?' This, as Seth Godin explains in his remarkable new book, is exactly the wrong question. Mapping out 14 trends that are completely remaking what it means to be a marketer - and by extension transforming what we make and how we make it - Godin shows how the question for any thriving 21st century business must be: 'How can we alter our business to become an organization that thrives on new marketing?' Meatball Sundae is an essential guide to the fundamental shift taking place in the marketing and business world, and shows you how to align your business to it.See all Product description
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There's no doubt about it, Seth Godin is a leading thinker on marketing but I found this 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.
About my book reviews - My goal is to help you to find the best business advice. I aim to be a tough but fair reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb it. A two star review indicates that I'm very disappointed and I believe the book should have been much better to deserve your attention.
Paul Simister, a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
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.
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.