unboxed marketing

group therapy for marketers and business owners

thoughts about meatballs and sundaes

Posted by Steve Buchholz on March 19, 2009

On days I don’t ride the motorcycle to work, I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae. As with everything else Godin writes, the book is great.

don't serve your customers meatball sundaes

don't serve your customers meatball sundaes

Today’s chapter captured very well concerns I’ve had about diving into the world of marketing with new media. According to Godin, the whipped cream and cherry are the new media marketing strategies, and the meatballs are the old-style products you sell. Plopping new media on meatballs creates a bad tasting, incongruous concoction that markets won’t taste.

I love the imagery, in part because it makes sense. Here’s my take on it. When you use new media such as blogs, social networks, and the like, you are at least creating expectations—and you might be making promises—about the type of company you are. If you attract someone to your business with cool, new marketing tools, what will customers think when they walk through the door and find boring, old, and outdated business practices? If those business practices work for you, that’s super. But it seems like a bad idea to make customers think you’re something you’re not.

So, what does that mean for marketers?

It means not agreeing to applying whipped cream and other toppings to a pile of meatballs. It means becoming part of the conversation about all the marketing Ps. Don’t allow yourself to be cornered into the P for Promotion. Life is way too dull there and you can’t exercise your full expertise from that spot.

It also means making sure people listen when you suggest changing the way your business works so new marketing is aligned with operations.

It means remembering the lessons of the New Coke failure: You can spend a truckload of money on advertising, but you won’t succeed if no one wants the product.

It means being a true marketer.

Go for it.


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