If you had a bowl of meatballs and wanted to dress them up a bit before you served them, would you add whipped cream, a sprinkle of nuts, and a cherry on top? A meatball sundae doesn't sound attractive? Seth Godin knows how to write with snappy images to get his ideas across in crisp, concise, and memorable images. The idea of the meatball sundae is used to illustrate old style companies trying to "get with it" by using the New Marketing paradigm without updating anything else. One of the examples he cites is the $40 million Anheuser-Busch spent on Bud-TV to add zero new customers. I am not qualified to judge the appropriateness of the effort or what Bud was after, but I do agree with the author that the goal of all marketing, in the end, has to be to create more customers.
The book has three parts that each consists of multiple short sections that focus on aspects of the topic under discussion. Part 1 is "Thinking About the Meatball Sundae" and takes us through the history of marketing in the US and how it has gone through several upheavals and how those who got their marketing in synch with the new realities won.
Part 2 is "The Fourteen Trends", which discusses the realities of the New Marketing.
They fourteen trends are:
1) Direct Communication and Commerce Between Producers and Consumers
2) Amplification of the Voice of the Consumer and Independent Authorities
3) Need for an Authentic Story as the Number of sources Increases
4) Extremely Short Attention Spans Due to Clutter
5) The Long Tail
7) Google and the Dicing of Everything
8) Infinite Channels of Communication
9) Direct Communication and Commerce Between Consumers and Consumers
10) The Shifts in Scarcity and Abundance
11) The Triumph of Big Ideas
12) The Shift From How Many to Who
13) The Wealthy Are Like Us
14) New Gatekeepers, No Gatekeepers
Part 3 is "Putting It Together" and Case Studies. The Case Studies are short illustrations of how these principles and trends support success or how failure results from ignoring them.
The book is a pleasant read and geared towards those trying to get a handle on what is happening now in the marketplace, especially to entrepreneurs thinking about their marketing efforts. It is written with energy and without academic jargon.
You will know if this book is for you. That is, if you are writing checks for marketing programs for your company, this book is for you.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI