Is your marketing a meatball sundae? (part one)

Speaking with a colleague the other day, I mentioned a favorite marketing book and was surprised that he had neither read nor even heard of it. I have noticed that too few well-read people know of this wonderful book and its important theme.

The book is Meatball Sundae by marketing guru Seth Godin. Having written such marketing classics such as Purple Cow and All Marketers are Liars, Meatball Sundae is not as well known. But its message is critical for all of us struggling to use the internet and the ubiquity of social media to market our products or services.

The book's title refers to what Seth calls average products and services sold to average people (meatballs) and the internet with its social media and email marketing components (Sundae). The premise is that you can't just put the ice cream, cherries and whip cream on a meatball in order to make it taste better (sell more). His point being that spamming through email, buying thousands of banner impressions and slapping your Facebook link everywhere isn't simply the next step in your traditional marketing strategy. Not if you're using this media like just another form of mass TV and radio media.

Think of it this way: Old-School marketing wisdom says buy as many impressions as you can afford so you can push your message in front of as many ears and eyeballs as possible. Sure, there's a lot of waste because most of the people hearing or seeing the message ignore it, but your investment will hopefully pay off from the portion of people who see it and buy the product. Traditional advertising wisdom, right?

The problem Seth is identifying is that too many marketers view the internet as just one more medium to add to your TV, radio or outdoor plan. The result is that you plaster your message on as many web sites as possible and push out your message to as many emails as you can get you hands on. In the end, Seth explains, most marketers are asking, "How do we use the cool new tools to support our existing structure?" Instead, the question we should be asking is, "If our business is not growing the way we'd like it to, how can our business be altered to conform to the new media/internet?"

As Seth puts it, Ask not what the new marketing can do for you. Ask what you can do to thrive with the new marketing.

Continued in part two…

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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