Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later.
For the first time, Seth Godin is releasing a new book, and I won’t be buying it.
You’d think that a shameless Seth fanboy like me wouldn’t be able to pass up the purchase. But it’s not happening this time.
Why? Because for the first time, I got a free advance review copy. I guess being a shameless fanboy has its perks, so I’ll go ahead and share my impressions of the book with you.
Meatball Sundae is the least appetizing book title Seth has ever come up with, and it’s absolutely perfect. The corporate skepticism for new media marketing may be over, but that doesn’t mean the people in the big boardrooms have a clue. They’ll heap on some tasty “new marketing” whipped cream and a cherry on the same commodity meatball of a business, and end up with a nasty mess.
Perhaps marketing executives figure they’ll get them some blogging, and some of that podcasting, maybe some of those viral videos too, and then they’ll be able to keep selling the same stuff they have for decades. Seth explains that you’ve got to reinvent your business to fit the realities of the new marketing (rather than the other way around), because ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful than ideas delivered at an individual.
Those are Seth’s words, and that’s the best definition of social media marketing I’ve heard. If the new marketing is all about the stories we respond to and share, what’s the unique story behind your business?
Meatball Sundae is not just for clueless corporate types. I see small business bloggers and online marketers who “get” blogging and social media, but there’s nothing new or unique about the underlying business. That’s why many are spinning their wheels with online marketing, no matter how much content they produce.
What’s your story? Why will people talk about you, and what will they say? If you don’t have those answers yet, getting them is the most important business task you face. You’ve got to develop a truly unique position in your market space, or maybe even create an entirely new market. The ideas in Meatball Sundae can help businesses of all sizes figure out how to make that happen.
I do, however, have one reservation about the book. And it’s fairly substantial.
On pages 83 and 84 of the book, there’s a subchapter entitled “Digging Brian’s Copy.” Yep, Copyblogger is used as an example of how independent authorities are building audiences with social media.
I guess we can forgive Seth for one lapse in judgment. But seriously, I can’t have this—people might start thinking I’m respectable or something.
All kidding aside, there is one irony related to Seth’s ideas on new media marketing being delivered via a book. Seth wrote Meatball Sundae a year ago, and it’s just now being released at the end of this month. The publishing lag time must frustrate Seth to no end, but then again, he simply must publish books to reach the corporate crowd who desperately need to understand these ideas.
Here’s an excerpt of what Seth wrote about Copyblogger that shows the contrast between traditional book publishing and the real-time media space we operate in:
His site has grown to six thousand subscribers in less than a year, mostly by practicing what he preaches.
Some readers will dismiss six thousand subscribers as a tiny number. It’s not. Most trade magazines have fewer than twenty thousand subscribers, and most of those subscribers don’t even bother to open the magazine.
Well, the Digging may be done, but it’s nice to know I’m beating most of those pesky trade magazines a year later. This long publishing lag time is one reason why I can’t talk myself into writing a book, especially given the stuff I like to write about.
Luckily, Seth’s ideas are well ahead of their time even a year later, and he demonstrates that we’re in the very early stages of a huge shift in business and marketing. Meatball Sundae provides plenty of food for thought, and yes, the bad pun is intended.
You can buy your copy of Meatball Sundae at Amazon.
Time to take a break from blogging, and get ready for 2008. It should be another fascinating year in online marketing, so stay tuned.