As you’ve seen, my commitment to weekly blogs hasn’t been going that well. It’s all for a good purpose though. I’m working on IABC/Seattle‘s new WordPress site. It will be live in a few weeks and I’ll be back to normal programming.
In the meanwhile, here are a few of the marketing and business books I’ve either read recently or are on my shelf waiting to be read. Reviews will be coming soon, but don’t let that stop you starting on them now.
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki (can you see the trend here?)
Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz
Have you read a great business or marketing book recently? Share it in the comments.
I can across this while researching my Masters thesis.
“But now I must warn you: Many people who adhere to the old rules will fight you on this strategy. If you are a marketing professional who wants to reach your buyers directly, you will likely encounter resistance from corporate communications people. PR folks will get resistance from their agencies. They’ll say the old rules are still in play. They’ll say you have to focus on ‘the four Ps’. They’ll say you need to talk only about your products. They’ll say that the media is the only way to tell your story and that you can use press releases only to reach journalists, not your buyers directly. They’ll say that bloggers are geeks in pajamas who don’t matter.”
I know the blogger mention does narrow this, but when do you think this was published? The term blog was first used in 1997 and by 2002, blogs were mainstream in political communications (ref). Look at the rest of the quote. When was the last time you heard a corporate communicator refuse to define an audience? I first formally studied marketing in 1994 and already the 4 Ps were losing favor. And journalists and print media have been encountering reduced circulation for years.
So, when was this published? This quote is from The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, published in 2007 – only three years ago. From those attitudes, I expected it to be from the early 2000s at the latest, by someone who has just discovered the internet (remember introducing your grandparents the net?).
Luckily, this pessimistic, out-dated view is perfect for my thesis on communications barriers.
What do street prostitutes, erupting volcanoes and doctors washing their hands have to do with economics?Not much, say some reviewers of Levitt and Dubner’s latest book, Superfreaknomics (Amazon, Dymocks). Their first book, Freakonomics, sold over 4 million copies and was heralded for making economic theory through real life examples.In this follow-up book, the real life examples have remained (thus the prostitutes, volcanoes and doctors) but the links to to economics theories are tenuous ad nearly non-existent. There are occasional mentions in some chapters and a blanket caveat stating it all comes under micro-economics theory. However, this is the same premise that links all activity to the demand and supply curves.That aside, this is an excellent sociology book. The authors have pulled a wide range of research into an engaging and entertaining text. While reading this, you’ll find yourself quoting random examples of human behavior and never think of Leave to Beaver as innocent again. All research is supported in 35 pages of references and notes.So, if you want to learn economic theory don’t read this book. But, if you’re after an entertaining insight in to human behavior, I highly recommend Superfreakonomics.
The business world has been changed by the internet. Consumers can jump online and in five minutes publish a video blog (vlog) detailing poor customer service. Give them another 30 seconds and the vlog has been sent to to 126 Twitter followers. A further 30 seconds and it’s with 130 facebook friends. If 10% of those people share the link, that’s potentially 6,656 people hearing of the bad experience in under 10 minutes.
Jeff Jarvis’s book What Would Google Do? (Amazon, Dymocks) looks at this reallocation of control from corporation to consumer and how you can use the same tools and tactics in your business.
While the book’s title suggest following Google’s lead (following the What Would Jesus Do? movement on the 90s) it’s really all about openness and transparency in business and our lives, and how to work with it.
The book details some excellent case studies, such as Dell Computers and Starbucks Coffee. It does fall down in the second part (of three) when the author attempts to “Google-ize” a range of industries, some of which shouldn’t have the level of transparency or user input Jarvis demands. It picks up again in the final part, allowing you to forgive his pontifications.
I totally recommend this for anyone needing to get a handle on the way business has changed or just to get some case studies of where transparency has worked.
Thanks to Davinia Khong for her help with this review. I had to leave my copy of the book in Melbourne, so she is my researcher.
Richard Branson’s latest book, Business Stripped Bare (Dymocks) (Amazon), is like his global empire: positive, honest and challenging.
Through the 328 pages, Branson puts his teams and himself out as examples of what to do and, more importantly, not to do to be successful in business. He gives credit where credit’s due and names team members who have helped bring forth his amazing success and uses his own learnings in examples of where he thinks that he, and the Virgin Group, could have done better. Like the Virgin Pulse MP3 player. Never heard of it? Branson would prefer he had of listened to the analysis and not released it.
A later chapter gives some of the true passion that motivates Branson and should be a lesson to all. While most of the book focusses on Branson’s business success, he also reminds readers that everyone has a social responsibility and that those who are successful in business are more accountable to helping others.
The book is written in Branson’s natural voice, giving it the feel of a conversation with a friend, more so than an instructional text. He’s a friendly mentor to the world, not just the Virgin Group, and it’s impossible not to be inspired by his journey and the change he has brought to the world.