Meatball Sundae

Seth Godin is one of the most interesting gurus in the field of marketing and business. He became famous with the concept of permission marketing. According to Godin, mass marketing is insufficient in today’s Internet world.

One of his recent books is “Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?” He says in this book that trying to use online marketing techniques for traditional businesses is useless. It is something like a meatball sundae, the unfortunate unification of two different good things. The sundae toppings are Internet marketing, social networks, adwords and the other tools available on the Internet; and the meatball is the old traditional stuff, like cars or a book, or TV sets.
Traditional businesses with the mindset of traditional businesses cannot adapt themselves to the new environment. One of the most important examples from the book is the comparison of Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Barnes and Noble is one of the biggest bookstore chains in the United States. However, its performance compared to Amazon.com is dismal. If you visit the two companies’ websites, you won’t see much of a difference. Why then is Amazon.com much more successful? Bear in mind, Amazon.com does not have a single store in the real world, while Barnes and Noble has more than 800. Any customer can experience the store in Barnes and Noble’s case, while they cannot do the same with Amazon.com. One of the explanations for this puzzle is the number of books available from the two companies. Amazon.com provides many more books than Barnes and Noble. Traditional companies have difficulty in adapting themselves to the new world of online marketing.
Godin explores 14 trends that are changing business. Here are some of the trends he underlines in his book:
 Intermediaries are being eliminated. The Internet provides direct communication between the producers and consumers.
 The voice of the consumer is louder than ever. With blogs, Facebook and other available options consumers can easily destroy any company’s reputation.
 Stories are very effective ways of spreading a message. However, any story can start without the control of one company, so it is better to be proactive and lead one story and use it as a tool of promotion.
 Speed is very important. Customers have very short attention spans; traditional companies can be slow in providing a response to customers.
 There is a new reality called a “long tail.” Customers reward companies that can provide diverse choices and cater to increasing tiny micro-niches.
 Selling everything piece by piece. The Google approach to advertisement has changed the game in marketing; instead of mass marketing, successful companies do advertising person by person.
 Channels of communication are increasing by the day, making it much more difficult to configure a strategy of communication.
 Direct communication and commerce between consumers has become a reality. Today, eBay and similar services/systems have been accepted and used by millions of people to buy and sell goods from ordinary people.
 The Internet eliminates the scarcity of any good or service. You can find anything on the Internet — a book from the 1920s or unlimited hard drive storage capacity.
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