If you’ve been reading my posts about Your Business in 2008 and you’re an avid business book reader, you’ve probably recognized that I’ve been writing about the undeniable trends that are changing the landscape of future profit – trends that popular author and big thinker Seth Godin runs up the flag pole in his latest book, Meatball Sundae.
If you haven’t yet, buy this book. (Seriously. How often do I say that in this blog? Rarely.) As a former student of my classes wrote to me the other day, “I have listened to Seth’s new book/cd twice now and it crystallizes so much about the internet for me.”
Seth has taken on the world of New Marketing – blogs, email, YouTube videos, MySpace, Google AdWords – and shows how you can use them in your business. But be careful, warns Seth: “… all these tactics are like the toppings at an ice cream parlor. If you start with ice cream, adding cherries and hot fudge and whipped cream will make it taste great. But if you start with a bowl of meatballs… yuck!”
I had the good fortune to wrangle Seth into a visit here for a quick chat about the book:
MICHELE: Thanks for stopping by, Seth. How goes the reaction to Meatball Sundae so far?
SETH: I’m totally thrilled that people seem to ‘get it’. That’s always the fine line I walk, because I refuse to write “How to Create a Successful Google AdSense Campaign in 24 Hours for Dummies.” So, the goal is to write a book that stretches things, but not too much.
MICHELE: Why do you think it’s so difficult for companies to give up the idea that they have to “reach the masses?”
SETH: Why go into marketing? Because you want to put on a show, to get noticed, to be on stage, to make a point. Mass marketing is the key to most marketers’ dreams. Hey, if everyone just knew about this, then we’d be fine.
So, it’s no accident that marketers (and their investors) embrace the idea of going after the mass market. It’s going to take a lot of counter-evidence to get most of them to change.
MICHELE: Do they really believe in the power of New Marketing, or that social media is simply another “buzz phase” that will eventually die out? What are they going to need to do, in terms of hiring and education, in order to set themselves up for a profitable future?
SETH: I think most marketers think it’s a fad. The next gimmick. Then, some day, it will return to ‘normal’ and they can make Super Bowl ads again. Sigh.
It’s not going to happen. And until marketers start hiring people who are quick, humble and skilled, they’re going to continue yelling at an audience that is really quite good at ignoring them.
MICHELE The power of Meatball Sundae lies in your outline of Fourteen Trends that when read, should make every business owner and marketer run around like their hair is on fire. Of the fourteen trends, are there any that stand out to you as being of critical importance? Changes that marketers should have made, like, yesterday?
SETH: I honestly believe there are more than 14 trends... perhaps 50. I just picked 14 that were fairly easy to write about and grok. The point being that taken as a whole, the package clearly overwhelms what you’ve got going with mass marketing right now.
Some businesses will thrive on just one trend (pick any of them). Others will be a blend of three or four or nine. What matters is that you organize around them, not that you demand they accomodate you.
MICHELE: I love how you’ve not only shown the effect of New Marketing in business, but also the impact that one individual can have in affecting local government. Take the Sidney Pundit, for example – do you think these individuals know ahead of time what they’ll achieve? Are they that smart and ahead of the curve?
SETH: Pioneers almost never realize what they’re doing... whether they are gold miners in California or Charles Revson buying TV ads for Revlon. You do it because you have no other choice, because you’re passionate, because it’s the best tool you can grab... not because you intend to change the world.
MICHELE: Thanks, Seth – it’s been great talking with you. Just one more thing… I know that Jackie has done it, but as part of your in-depth research, have you actually tried a meatball sundae?
SETH: I’m proud to say I haven’t had meat in fifteen years. But I’m going to make a soy meatball sundae tonight. Just for you.
What a guy. Can’t wait to hear about Seth’s soy meatball adventure. In the meantime, I think I’ll kick back and give Meatball Sundae a third read-through. I'm convinced this is the book that five years from now, people will be saying, "Boy... Seth was predicting all of this stuff years ago. I wish I'd paid more attention!"
So... have you purchased your copy yet?