Meatball Sundae

Meatball Sundae

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Seth Godin, former Brand Manager, Internet Marketeer who sold his company to Yahoo (who I still hate) and amazing author and speaker, has just unleashed his new book. Thanks to Brand Autopsy for the heads up!

Meatball Sundae: the unfortunate result of mixing two good ideas.

The meatballs are the foundation, the things we need (and sometimes want). These are the commodities that so many businesses are built on.

The sundae toppings (hot fudge and the like) are the New Marketing, the social networks, Google, blogs and fancy stuff that make people all excited.

The challenge most organizations face: they try to mix them. They attempt to slap new marketing onto old and end up with nothing but a failed website.

Old Marketing is about “… interrupting masses of people with ads about average products.” New Marketing, according to Seth, has a flavor that “… treats every interaction, product, service, and side effect as a form of media.” Promoting products and services using a marketing mix of television commercials, print ads, and billboards is Old Marketing. While, promoting products and services using non-traditional marketing methods that invite influential customers to spread the word is New Marketing.

The problem is, as Seth sees it, Old Marketing-based companies are so anxious to embrace New Marketing ways that they end up with a MEATBALL SUNDAE—two great tastes that DO NOT taste great together.

Wal-Mart created a MEATBALL SUNDAE when they decided to combine their Old Marketing strategy of promoting low prices to the masses through traditional advertising with the New Marketing ways of social media consumer generated media. The result of this combination was THE HUB, a myspace wannabe that failed miserably.

Anheuser-Busch created a MEATBALL SUNDAE with its Bud TV marketing initiative. Eager to capitalize on viral online marketing goings-on to reach twentysomething beer drinkers, Anheuser-Busch has routed over $40-million from their television advertising marketing budget to create an online entertainment network called Bud.TV. Launched in the fall of 2006 with aspirations of becoming the next YouTube, Bud.TV has failed to catch-on and is in danger of being axed.

Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch are mainstays of Old Marketing. They are accustomed to accosting consumers with a blitzkrieg of mass media advertising to influence their buying behavior. Given that, are we surprised their New Marketing follies failed? The go-to-business ethos at Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch isn’t built for New Marketing.

Seth isn’t advocating all companies eschew Old Marketing for New Marketing. Instead, he’s saying, “Don’t use the tactics of one paradigm and the strategies of another and hope you’ll get the best of both worlds. You won’t.”

What Seth is advocating is twofold, “First, the structure of organizations needs to radically adapt to this new model. Second, products need to be designed that don’t depend on old-school advertising but instead spread on their own.”

Throughout MEATBALL SUNDAE, Seth outlines 14 New Marketing trends and showcases how enduring and emerging companies are successfully using those trends to create marketing magic and not a meatball sundae.


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