Aside from the fact that I am a long time reader of Seth Godin - evidence here, here, and here. Why talk about this book now, you may ask? While it published last year and some of the examples may be considered old by those of us who move at the speed of the Internet, let's face it - it's not old because it's still too few who are doing it.
Meatball Sundae is one of the books I bought recently because I am working on several grassroots, community-based initiatives. It's a good way to say that people look to me to help them articulate what they are doing to help customers with new tools, so they can get bandwidth to do more of it (and with it).
The bandwidth is important to consider - social media is a commitment and certainly not one of the many programs that can be run as touch and go. Also very important side note: if your company is not asking constantly "is what I am doing helping customers today?" something is out of alignment.
This book single-handedly explains why it's a good idea to take stock of what business you're in - the organization supports marketing. Since Brian Clark from Copyblogger is among the lucky cited in the book, I will quote him as he quotes Godin (isn't that how ideas spread?):
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.
I have been saying it for years, we are starting to see it happen - business as usual doesn't work anymore. None of us thinks we are average, we do not buy stuff because it is average.
We think we buy out of necessity - food, clothing, cleaning products, car, house - and in part we do. We need to eat, be sheltered, have a mode of transportation, etc. What we buy makes a statement about us and we make a statement about our beliefs with the act of purchasing it.
I suggest this would make the perfect gift purchase this holiday season. As we reevaluate everything we do in light of the current economic climate, it makes sense to regroup on the context we build or join for conversations with our customers. They are (and we are as them) making those choices on the basis of what connects with them.
Seth highlights how specific marketing models require specific organizational model to back them up. They also require specific people who understand that business growth comes from satisfying the people who can best leverage your ideas. In the book, Seth lays out the difference between old marketing and new marketing. Investing in innovation, gaining community support, and telling stories are part of the new.
The book makes a case for "it's the business, st**id."