As an avid reader, I have a pretty good perspective on business and marketing books. I'm disappointed to say that three letters describe this book's scattershot approach: ADD. The authors may be more comfortable with other formats or with social media. The book format, clearly, does not play to their strengths.
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I was interested in this book because I am looking into doing some marketing for a really small (really, really small) Android software startup, which currently has only one app in development. This book looked like many others in the filed of online marketing – a general-purpose book that can be applied to businesses big and small. The whole point of online marketing, so I thought, was that the skills and tools that apply to one company and organization are pretty much the same that can be scaled upward and downward at will. Online marketing was supposed to radically democratize marketing for everyone. However, this book turned out to be completely geared towards large-scale corporations with many different departments and sub-departments. From almost the very first page it started addressing issues of office politics, corporate turf wars, and similar large workplace intrigue. This is not the only problem with addressing the right kind of audience. The book seems to assume that its readers are already very familiar with all the usual marketing ideas and are already marketing professionals with a lot of real-world experience. It is filled with jargon and assumptions that only the insiders would find intelligible. On the other hand, it goes through a lot of “exercises” and check-sheets that are clearly aimed at very low-level audience – at best! There is certainly some good information provided within these pages, but I couldn’t make any heads or tails out of it. I not really recommend this book to anyone, but if you are desperate for any kind of marketing information then you might find some use for it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Macro vision + Micro toolsMay 14 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Just finished Marketing in the Round and found it to be incredibly helpful. I'm making it required reading for any hire or intern entering the Marketing/Communications field. The book beautifully balances itself between BIG PICTURE theories and more day-to-day how to advice and examples. Simple common-sense charts, tables and questions help you think through your situation and come up with an executable strategy.
Dietrich and Livingston break down the pros and cons of each discipline (Advertising, Web, Public Relations, Social Media, SEO, Content, and Direct Marketing)and illuminate the importance of cross-departmental collaboration. Their years of experience shine through and would serve as a much-needed reality check for those who don't know why they're not getting the results they want from their marketing campaigns.
For example, the section discussing starting up an online community starts out "This is not the Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will not come." Of course, the paragraph goes on to helpfully explain how to participate in existing online communities, where to find them, and how best to engage them.
A must read for anyone currently in Marketing and PR (at least those who plan to be in the business a year from now.)
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive ReviewMay 14 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
This should be required reading for any marketing executive and change-agent in business who is trying to see an increase in their business results from marketing strategies. Gini and Geoff provide the historical context, a deep review of the approaches and sound recommendations to make this a worthwhile read.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
'Nevermore' quoth the mavensJune 8 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
"Marketing in the Round" is not a book to curl up with and read by the fireplace with a brandy and a beagle. Instead, it belongs in the classroom of a course called Marketing I. Authors Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston have impressive pedigrees. She's the founder and CEO of the hot Chicago firm Arment Dietrich; he's a pioneering social media strategist with a litany of A-list clients. Their book (her first, his third) is a comprehensive Baedeker for anyone starting down the marketing road. Like oil on water, it is slick but superficial. It promotes the unbearably obvious and threadbare notion that the marketing disciplines--advertising, PR, SEO, Web, social media, direct mail, etc.--should work together. Facile advice like "You're going to have to get the organization to change" and "...people fear change" adds nothing to a millennium's worth of writing on the subject by Deming, Ishikawa, Taylor, Morgan, Zuboff, Peters, et al. Even the great philosopher Dwight Yoakam had a song called "Let's Work Together." Nearly 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote: "It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things." If you learn by repetition, this text will be a great teacher. For example, it uses the word "silo" 16 times in two pages. There are hives and hives of buzzwords. Terms like Yammer, Yelp, Chatter, HTML5, GChat and CAN-SPAM may frustrate the uninitiated. Dietrich even quotes from her own site, Spin Sucks Pro (the perfect vacuum cleaner name), as an expert source on vision statements. The authors trot out the weary warhorses SWOT analysis and SMARTER goals (where's AIDA?), which are useful for first-timers. They cite the 17th-century samurai sage Miyamoto Musashi, whose advice in this context sounds downright silly: "In the second approach, with the long sword, from the upper attitude cut the enemy just as he attacks." If you're going to show off your erudition by referring to ancient Asian organizational gurus, why not go the distance with one of the earliest, Chuang-tzu from the fourth century B.C.? This purportedly cutting-edge tome has surprisingly dull charts and graphs, given the panoply of design programs available (see the work of Edward Tufte). Each chapter begins with an introduction rendered in gray italic type over a gray screen, a challenging read for even the sharpest eyes. The writing is generally inelegant, without flair, with many a muddled metaphor ("this jambalaya of information") and strained simile. In fact, you might want to set a flare to locutions like "Your CEO will tire of your asking of continually being asked to deliver the vision to all employees." This came shortly after "The first thing you have to do is get buy-in from the corner office. The vision and the messages must be consistently communicated from your leadership team--even if you have to remind your executive team it's time to communicate the vision and drive the messages. They have to come from the corner office." Unsupported statements are glibly tossed off, e.g., "People don't change because they want to" and "Because mobile is technology-based, older demographics have been slow to adopt smartphones and the behaviors that a smartphone can enable." Tell that to my 83-year-old mother (use Facetime). There are sudden switches into the second person and infelicities like "Epiphanies are not always obvious." One sentence says "The truth of the matter is, media relations is only one tactic in a PR professional's arsenal," followed in the very next sentence by "...media relations, which is the backbone of most PR programs...." Early on, the book says "People don't like ads," then later expends considerable ink on examples of successful and popular ad campaigns. In giving the pros and cons of the different forms of paid, earned and owned media, Livingston and Dietrich drop this IED without evidence or explanation: the "High level of unethical behavior among merchants." The creeping octopus of condescension slithers its slimy suckers into the works with pronouncements like "Most media relations aces do not comprehend marketing. Direct marketers do not understand crowdsourcing. Advertisers rarely understand the long-term relationship work that business developers and fundraising pros participate in." However, despite the book's casual relationship with intellectual rigor, it should be catnip for marketing mavens and apprentices alike. It is full to bursting with excellent examples of how well-known companies have met or not met marketing challenges--Southwest Airlines, Tom's Toothpaste, Netflix, Toyota, Victoria's Secret, Foursquare, even the band Radiohead, to name only a few. The questionnaires, checklists and exercises (which are downloadable from the publisher's website) are instructive and inspiring, handily guiding the reader through the entrails of integrated multimedia marketing. There's value here, especially in the line "Whatever your method of outreach, be sure to bring writers and artists in to make your effort have the best impact possible." Hey, thanks! [...]
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An important new marketing bookMay 14 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
The premise behind Marketing in the Round is that our businesses are hindered by departments that function independently of one another, often with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. And it's been that way by design with each department suffering from a bad case of #DontBeCreepingOnMyTerritoryosis. It's only natural to get territorial when budgets and staffing are on the line, but we have to remember, we're all in this together.
The good news is you're not alone. The other good news is that Gini and Geoff have written a book that walks you through the process of breaking down those walls and silos in a very practical and actionable way. They will help you create an internal, interdepartmental group which they call a "marketing round", and move you along to a means of measuring your results. Think of it as carpooling. You have a group of people, all located in the same place, and all headed to the same final destination. But rather than each of them driving their own cars, they pool their resources and work together to achieve those goals more effectively.
Perhaps one of the most important contributions of this book is that it not only gets you asking questions, but asking the right questions, in order to make more informed decisions about your marketing efforts. You'll walk away with the tools you need to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, while taking into account factors like your available resources, and how to properly time and plan your messaging and activities.
(This was an excerpt of the review I wrote for the book on my blog. You can read the full review here: [...])
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Insufficient analysisSept. 18 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I initially quickly read first chapters, didn't learn much. Maybe missed it, I said to myself, and tried rereading. Then, I saw the innumerable 5 stars, (mostly given by reviewers with too few Amazon review, strange!), and so I reviewed it once more.
This book feels more like condensed seminar notes than an analytical book. If one has read marketing textbooks and kept current with web and social media, this book provides little value. The book's theme, "Marketing in the Round", as best as I can determine, is same as traditional integrated marketing communications, and its slogan-message "break down the silos" has been around for centuries.
The book's other coined terms (its marketing approaches), e.g. groundswell, top-down, flanking, or go direct, all have better known, traditional marketing terms. The book uses Musashi's warfare classic, "The Book of Five Rings" to derive and give analogy to these terms. Warfare philosophy really isn't appropriate here, because warfare is usually a zero or negative sum activity, and business is usually a positive sum activity. Campaigns, however, can be thought of in military terms; and, instead of relying of Mushashi, perhaps the authors should look more to Sun Tzu, the preemient military strategist.
For example, when the book states in order for Mushashi's "top down" approach to work, a company usually needs market leadership; such is too broad of a generalization and possible implementation strategies too obvious. By comparison, a Sun Tzu general would know details of the marketing terrain, have high degree of environmental (including enemy) intelligence, and deploy all kinds of sophisticated illusions and non-obvious tactics. Thus, as said by Sun Tzu, the great general will win without any recognized market leadership, provided he knows his craft. And, instead of the sophisticated analysis needed of Sun Tzu, the book exhorts the reader to adapt preferred approaches by using five simplistic qualifying questions.
And the book uses a supporting evidence technique that I can't stand--short anecdotes of various business stories. The anecdotes are so short that it's difficult for a reader to "evaluate". A seminar leader can use his far greater knowledge to answer questions and establish faith and trust. This book's short anecdotes don't create these, and somehow, the authors want the readers' blind faith.
It is a very short, survey summary book of marketing methods. I see this as a problem--there are many reasons for this or that marketing method, and this book simply is too short to provide reasoned discourse analysis. To be fair, I couldn't stomach more than half of the book, so will make my evaluation based on half read and remainder scanned. A good seminar supplement book, a decent summary book, a bad book to learn marketing analysis.