Is your marketing a meatball sundae? (part two)

What all of us marketers are being asked to do is to take a hard look at how we are going to market with our products and services, then discover how we can conform our products/distribution/message to accommodate the new medium known as the web. Notice this is NOT a book on how to use the internet and social media as just another advertising or promotional medium in our marketing arsenal.

Yes, this is easier said than done. But as with Seth's other books, this one is filled with examples of successful companies who re-invented themselves and their products to take full advantage of the internet. Seth is also brilliant at providing historic perspective of similar paradigm shifts in business thinking so that we can see how one can be trapped into limited thinking.

As an example of looking at a business from a new perspective, the book tells of how before sports became a business, serving food was viewed by the sports venue as a hassle. By looking differently on the experience teams were providing spectators, food and beverage has now become a key part of the experience AND of the business profits.

So what does Seth offer as an example of using the web AS the experience rather than simply another marketing venue? There are many, but was founded in 2001 to provide t-shirts. He writes, "It's easy to imagine a t-shirt company as focused on one of two things: printing t-shirts fast and cheap or promoting shirts like mad, with licenses, retail deals, or aggressive advertising. Threadless does neither."

Instead, sells t-shirts only through their web site, and with printing designs created by their customers. The web in this case IS the experience, not just the advertising venue. They regularly hold design design contests, and customers can promote their designs to friends who can buy those t-shirts on the site. This is a traditionally meatball product and business model re-engineered to take full advantage of the social web. 

Seth sums up the paradigm shift this way: We now have the chance to go from finding customers for our products (the meatball way) to a new way: finding products for our customers.

Now, truth in blogging compels me to admit that Evergreen Trading has not yet completely cracked the code on catering our financial service to the web and our audience. I think the web continues to favor retailers and consumer product manufacturers over big ticket B-to-B financial deals like corporate trade. It's easier to compel customers to upload their t-shirt design and pay for their order online than for a multimillion dollar excess inventory to be evaluated, advertising schedules to be reviewed, and a trading transaction to be calculated and executed–all online.

With that said, however, we do get regular feedback that our unique business model of web-based transparency of information is refreshing. Between our eBook, blog, and YouTube channel of quick, entertaining videos on trade, Evergreen Trading marches ever-closer to transforming our meatball sundae into a congruently healthy delicious meal. One capable of fully satisfying corporate executives suffering with seemingly unsolvable problematic assets.

I highly recommend Meatball Sundae to anyone looking for inspiration to align their business with the full power and purpose of the web's social marketing.

To see a compelling preview of Seth's core marketing ideas, here's a 10 minute must-see video sponsored by Yahoo:

About Mike Lake

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Evergreen Trading. When not playing jazz trombone he is probably obsessing about writing content that will capture the attention and interest of business people and fellow learning junkies everywhere.

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