Don’t you just wanna read all books in the world?! I do, or at least such a significant number of them that I won’t have time to read one twice. And my memory is lousy. So this is my excerpt/review of thoughts and things I want to remember. Use it if you want to, I know I will!
“Meatball Sundae” is, like all of Seth Godins books, truly inspirational. He takes his own advice and writes a book that will give you energy to change things, ideas on how to do it, and he does it in the time you would have watch a bad movie on TV.
New Marketing isn’t easy, and as he writes in the executive summary “Tactics from the New Marketing are taking the juice out of the Old Marketing, without completely replacing it.” Since I am IN the field of New Marketing I want to tap in to Seth’s full knowledge, so I read the entire book, with a pencil in hand “scribbling in the margins”. This is what I got out of it:
PART 1: Thinking about the Meatball sundae
Seth defines “Old Marketing” as “the act of interrupting people masses of people with ads about average products”. The key drivers would be scarcity of choice and a large resource of cheap attention. Now on the other hand it is the attention that is scarce and the “New Marketing” creates interactions among communities with similar interests.
A specific marketing model requires a specific organizational model to back it up. One example that Seth gives is Sears. With their guarantee policy they could sell “anything” in mail-order catalogs.
First – of course – you need to sell. But you also have to “make noise about what you sell” (Although I don’t like the word, I’d rather go with “Signal”, noise sounds so condescending). And before sales, you need to determine how to distribute what you sell. Seth names Etsy and Audible as two examples of New Media distribution.
“Just as the assembly line revolutionized the idea of a factory, the New Marketing demands a transition to a different way of thinking about products and services and how they are invented, designed, and produced.”
Features of the New Marketing are for example need for success in niches, fads, stories and something Seth calls “launch and learn”.
A major point is: “Don’t use the tactics of one paradigm and the strategies of another…” If you sell meatballs, don’t use sundae topping! Two questions to keep in mind: “Why didn’t American Express invent (or buy) PayPal?” and “Why didn’t Barnes&Noble become Amazon?”
For me the answer would be – it’s not their core business. Is that a smart strategy in a 2.0 world? I don’t know! But it’s something every business considers.
Seth gives the example of Wal-Marts online outlet. They had a banner saying “You can’t out-amazon Amazon”. And since they didn’t try, they didn’t get caught in the middle. If you are going to do it, do it right!
Inspiring examples is one of Seth’s strong sides! The man who invented marketing was apparently Josiah Wedgewood. He was born in 1730 and became a potter. The big difference was; he put his name on his product! And he made sure the products had an impeccable quality. Next step – selling to the upper class, by giving away pottery for free – do you realize he invented the freemium too – but not before giving away free stuff to a celebrity – non other than the queen. When she ordered more he named that service Queensware and sold it to everyone who wanted it. He showed everything in London and his sales force worked on commission. Creating factories with assembly lines made sure that he could make the quantities he sold. And he made people pay premium – four times the normal price of pottery. I mean, this man was nothing short of a genius. He would even survive in this day in age!
Seth argues that New Marketing is not just Marketing – it is a new business model. Despite that, event companies like Apple separates “real” and New Marketing. He points out that technology isn’t the reason of New Marketing – it’s just a tool! One of the examples he gives is Threadless
They sell t-shirts – that you design!
Old Marketing, according to Seth, was built on the facts that TV works and mass is king. New Marketing on the other hand, gives consumers the possibility to have what they wanted all along. He says it’s respect and to be connected to others. I say it’s the freedom of choice!
PART 2: The fourteen trends
Trend 1: Direct communication and commerce between producers and consumers
Good: Companies can create products for their customers instead of searching for customers for their products. However the online world has increased the speed of business, not even the inbox time buffer work anymore. And if only one player in your field change the rules, they change for everyone!
Despite that, a lot of marketing is still “spam-based” i.e. the receiver never asked for it. TV-commercials that we zap away from/skip on Tivo, banners we block in our browser a billboard you almost remember the sender of. If 7 % remember your ad, your lucky! But that’s a long way from getting they to act on it.
With permission marketing, nothing is quick-and-easy. People may give you a chance – but you’ll have to earn their attention. Dailycandy is an example that Seth repeats. They send out e-mail with a lot of info, that the recipients find useful.
Trend 2: Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities
In just about every community, 1% is givers. These are the ones that tell their friends, maybe even anyone that will listen. You can’t afford to shape up for journalists or critics anymore. You need to keep your shape up for everyone. Anyone can be that 1 % – of bloggers, of influential social media networkers, or whatever else you can think of.
Instead of trying to spot the 1 % we think can help us and suck up to them, Seth urges us to give the brand advocates an opportunity to talk about their experiences, and thus create a horizontal funnel as opposed to the traditional vertical one.
Trend 3: Need for an authentic story as the number of sources increases
If you say one thing, and do another – people WILL hear about it.
One example is Wal-Mart that ran ads trying to show people how happy their personal were and how much they cared about their wellbeing. An then, an internal memo showed up, telling a tail about an organization that wanted young employees because they cost less in health benefits, who encouraged employee turnover for the same reason. What do you think the customers believed more? Payed ads or the leaked info..
The big difference now, which Seth points out, is that it doesn’t have to be the big scandal. It’s enough that a person (who also happens to be a blogger, or know someone who is a blogger, or…) meets one person misrepresenting your brand. Also, he points out, that internet never forgets, and that it’s really not the facts that spread, it’s the stories!
Trend 4: Extremely short attention spans due to clutter
It’s easier than ever to sell something – or rather, to produce/put your name on something that could sell. But the chance you get is also almost nonexistent. Seth gives the example of New York Times bestseller list, where you in 1960 would have been able to say on 1st place for 22 weeks – now you should be glad if you get 2. Also, the average Youtube video is 5 minutes, but most are only watched for 10 seconds. Not remarkable when you consider there are over 7 million different ones to choose from. I would say this enough to scare anyone from even trying – and if you read this, you’ve already given me more time than I could ever ask for. Therefore I must always go the extra mile to make it worth your while.
Trend 5: The long tail
More variety equals more clutter, and marketers tend to deal with it by creating more. The simple solution to this, Seth says, is because everytime they create a new variety sales go up. And it seems this is the way it must be, since – as Seth puts it – “given the choice, people want the choice”. And for every time you give people a new choice, the tail get longer. Some trends have really worked in the favor of “the long tail“; online shopping, google, digital products and technology and permission marketing.
Instead of relying on doing something that “everyone” will like, you’ll do something that you (and at least a couple of other people) like. You can sell china like Replacements, or something else that allows you to service (and thrive on) enough people liking what you sell.
Seth argues that, while you may want to find those big silos to sell something that a large group of people want, there is something new and exciting about finding small silos that hasn’t been found yet, make your contribution remarkable.
Trend 6: Outsourcing
Seth claims: “Just because you can outsource something, doesn’t always mean you should”, and I am prone to agree. But at the same time, one of the examples he gives is intriguing: McDonalds in Oregon have their drive thru orders taken by ppl sitting in North Dakota; they take a picture of your car and sent it to the person handing out the order. My first thought is “What’s the point, it’s only ONE workstation”. But there is less down-time since the North Dakota call center takes orders from several places.
Seth concludes: “Either what you’re doing is repetitive, in which case you ought to outsource it, or it’s homemade, insightful, and filled with initiative and judgment, in which case you can charge for it.”
Trend 7: Google and the dicing of everything
Google gives everyone access to information about everything. Suddenly you’re competing with others down to a product level. You can’t even be sure you’ll make a sale if you are the cheapest in the country. The might as well order it from some other place in the world. So, how about selling one thing and “bundling” less desirable stuff. Nope – someone else will sell it unbundled and just as cheap. As Seth puts it “If you can’t offer more than a commodity, someone else will sell it cheaper.
Trend 8: Infinite channels of communication
For people to want to buy what you sell, they need to know that you’re offering it. They need to “notice it”. TV advertising is all about making people take notice of you. Preferably several times a day, every day, for months or years. Then, hopefully, they’ll remember you when they’re about to spend money on something. But now, as Seth points out, there are an infinite amount of channels that people use – so WHERE do you want they to notice you? You need to be where they are. Seth explains, that by finding people who are already searching for “you”, the step between “notice it” and “do it” becomes shorter. AdWords is one example of how internet has made it possible to directly connect with your customers.
Trend 9: Direct communication and commerce between consumers and consumers
eBay is great for selling of stuff you don’t want anymore. But it’s also great for selling stuff you make. Or stuff you buy from somewhere and want to sell to somewhere else. It enables you to build your own store online, without even having a website. CafePress takes it one step further and helps you set up actual online stores. Seth also gives the example Matchingdonors.com where you can register as a donor.
Trend 10: The shift in scarcity and abundance
So, some of the things Seth points out as “Used to be scarce”: Hard-drive space, Long-distance phone service, access to specialty books. As far as the books go – now there’s Amazon. Seth tells the tail about Murder Inc., a New York City bookstore that only sold mystery books. They used to have books no one else did. With internet, that is no longer possible. Seth means that they already were the owner of the infamous “long tail”, they just missed the point and therefore they went out of business. I agree with him. I am passionately in love remotely related to books, and it hurts me that a bookstore (that had already found their small silo!) goes out of business. Instead, Seth means, they should have sold their books through eBay, created monthly emails with tips on books to read, started a book club, created events unique to the store, turned their employees into bloggers. Can you taste it?! It would be a remarkable book store! I’d go there, and I don’t really like mysteries that much.
And the new scarcity? Attention (again, let me know if I don’t make it worth your while), spare time (anyone seeing a correlation here?!), trust, sufficiently trained workers.
Seth mentions Ideo as one of the succeeders in leveraging the scarcity of expertise. It’s a relatively small company, designing for Apple, Microsoft, Pepsi, Proctor&Gamble. They win because they created something remarkable – a workforce that no one can duplicate.
Trend 11: The triumph of big ideas
“The big idea” is a wellknown concept in advertising. And it’s dead. However, feel free to base your business on a big idea! That’s the true base of great marketing. Your business needs an idea that can travel, that address basic wants and needs, that moves – that is remarkable. Seth means that a big enough idea can spread so far, so fast that existing market leaders won’t have a chance.
Trend 12: The shift from “How many” to “Who”
Bottom line: Mass is no longer desirable, and just as well because, mass is no longer achievable. New Marketing gives you the tool to interrupt much cheaper than with Old Marketing, but that doesn’t mean you should. Instead you should focus on “who”. Market to find the people that are trying to find you, or better yet, that are trying to find your competition. AdWords is again Seths exampel. Don’t try to convince people that aren’t looking, focus on finding the ones that are searching!
Trend 13: The wealthy are like us
Seth writes that marketing to the wealthy used to be easy. They used to have similar jobs, similar interest, live in similar kinds of places. But now, he argues, now they’re like us. Some of them even are us! Because more people are wealthy these days and as a result of that the pricing curve must change.
Instead of a product selling small quantities when it’s “too” cheap and “too” expensive, these are now the pricing ranges when products sell a lot. “Why would anyone buy something in the middle? The stuff in the middle is overpriced or under-exclusive.”
Trend 14: New gatekeepers, no gatekeepers
“The web is the biggest haystack in the history of mankind, and you’re just a tiny little needle.” Sound discouraging? Not as much as being at the mercy of ONE journalist. Seth points out that old marketing tactics doesn’t (shouldn’t work) on new marketers. In the world of new marketing you need to be personal, you need to be a contributor at all times – not only when you’re the one capitalizing.
PART 3: Putting it together
This part is better read as a whole, but I’ll leave you with some tidbits.
“Almost without exception, the copromotions don’t work. They don’t work because the offering has been so watered down by committees that what is being offered is dull at best.”
“Advertising no longer matters. Instead, the market belongs to companies offering products that are either a remarkable value or remarkably weird”
Seth gives examples on how New Marketing demands that companies act in a new way. No more buffer zones – like some else wrote somewhere else “For every minute you don’t answer your customer, you give your competition one minute to find them.” And how we need to meet customer expectations. Like with the book “Recording the Beatles” – the authors printed 3000 books and sold them for $100 a piece. Their silo was the posterboy for small! But they met the expectations of that group. And people attract people – after that they could print a low-cost paperback to sell to the rest of the curious (Seth included).
He’s also kind enough to offer insights from his experience with Squidoo
First: The business isn’t in charge, the market is
Second: Easy beats hard. Don’t make it hard for your customers to interact with you – they’ll find someone else.
Third: The long tail matters
Forth: Internet makes it easy to run a big organization with a minimum of employees.
Last but not least: Developing a business with the web in mind is cheating – now you go do it!