What I didn't expect, however, was that this slim volume was going to be a “whole approach” to marketing, but that's what it is. On certain levels it recalls Lon Safko's Fusion Marketing in that it takes many disparate elements, previously “siloed” into their individual realms in the marketing mix, and setting them up in a new “marketing round” configuration, designed to fully integrate all aspects into an efficient whole.
The book walks through the various elements and the pros and cons of their sub-sets in a very deliberate manner, with instructions for developing “dashboards”, and specific exercises to do to get the details of your organization categorized for these approaches.Imagine your organizational structure as a wheel instead of a typical hierarchy. Think of marketing as the hub. The spokes are made up of public relations, advertising, Web, email, social media, corporate communication, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, content, and direct mail. They circle simultaneously.
I found it interesting that much of the “theory” in the book is based on 17th Century samurai master Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings ...
These form the template by which the various activities are processed and planned, and set the tone for much of the discussion that follows:In the “Water Book”, or the second ring, Musashi discusses five primary approaches to strategic engagement: the middle (or direct), above, below (the groundswell), and the left and right sides (combined to one: flanking). Independently or sequenced, the primary approaches form a baseline to approaching marketing strategies.
This goes to set up a case study, looking at the 2010 “Pepsi Refresh” program, which Coke did not respond to, and ended up expanding its lead by continuing its “authentic” activities. Each of the Musashi approaches are discussed, and the marketing elements set out in those contexts, and illustrated with case studies from various industries.When a competitor does something that draws significant attention or garners a lot of sales, it is natural to want to react, to mimic that marketing tactic. But that may, in fact, be the worst thing to do.
Successful marketing capitalizes on your authenticity. It plays to your offering's strengths so customers will be more likely to buy. It is an expression of your culture, and its strengths and weaknesses. It is a measured response to you real and perceived competitors – a solution for stakeholders that empowers your brand to thrive regardless of competitor actions.
One interesting graphic here is a re-visioned “marketing funnel”, which takes the “groundswell” approach – here the top of funnel is “awareness”, followed by “consideration”, followed by “conversion”, moving into “loyalty”, and finally towards “advocacy”, which generates word-of-mouth, that then drives new customers into the top of the funnel.
Frankly, Marketing in the Round could easily have been twice its 200 pages, but this has no “fat” on it … and reading it is something of a firehose. I very rarely re-read books (within a few years of first reading), but this is one that I'm very tempted to take another run through, just to get the gist of it set better. This could also be spun out into a workbook. As noted, there are lots of forms and exercises to sort through marketing activities, and this could be expanded into a course. However, keep in mind, this is a book very much oriented towards either business owners or their marketing agencies, so it's not really a “for everybody” book … but one that would certainly be of interest for anybody in those categories.
This just came out this summer, so should certainly be out there in the book vendors who carry business titles … and the on-line guys have it at about 1/3rd off of cover. I found this a fascinating read, with a unique mix of contexts and approaches, and wish I was in a position to actually put some of this into practice!