When I deliver keynote speeches and run seminars at companies, I am often asked for advice on how to convince the bosses that the new rules of marketing really work. Frequently people say something like: "My bosses make me prove ROI before I can do this online thought leadership and viral marketing stuff."
My cynical answer is: "What’s the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?"
But then I suggest that people to ask their boss if in the past few months, they've made a product or service decision based on a direct mail piece they received or a based on a TV advertisement. (Almost no bosses have). Then they should ask their boss if in the past few months they've used Google or another search engine to make a product or service decision. (Virtually all bosses have).
Well now I have something else to suggest. Buy a copy of Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync? for your bosses.* Tell them it is an important book. Meatball Sundae will be your tool to help others in your organization to understand what you already get and what you are eager to implement. It will help you to get the buy-in to do the new rules of marketing that you know makes sense.
But first your bosses may need to transform your company.
Seth kindly sent me an advance copy of the book (it is expected to ship on December 27, 2007). He has put the "new marketing" stuff that I talk about into great perspective for the skeptics in the big companies and also for the bosses who demand to know "what the ROI of this new fangled stuff."
Meatball Sundae lays out in a convincing manner the transformations that are taking place in business today. These transformations mean that everything needs to be looked at carefully, including marketing. But to just toss new marketing onto the top of obsolete business models is like putting whipped cream and a cherry onto meatballs to make a sundae. (Yuk).
Godin tells a story I really like. Josiah Wedgewood, a potter in England in the 1800's at the start of the Industrial Revolution, was the first to create a factory with a production line and job specialization. He built a showroom and shipped product around the world. And he sold bespoke pieces to royalty but first displayed those fantastic and expensive creations for several months so all could see. (Wedgewood was a marketing genius AND a business pioneer.)
Josiah Wedgewood took advantage of changes in society and technology and changed the way business is done, made millions, and founded a company still famous today. But his brother Thomas Wedgewood stuck to the ways that all potters have worked in the past, barely made a living, and is forgotten today.
Godin says fourteen trends are completely remaking what it means to be a marketer. And while these trends are transforming organizations that have the right approaches, they are crippling the organizations that are stuck with nothing but meatballs. Once again, marketing is transforming what we make and how we make it.