My Take-Aways From The Book Meatball Sundae

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

What the heck is meatball sundae? As it sounds, it is a dish with balls of meat and whipped cream and a cherry on top. Not necessarily something you would want, would you? Replace the meatballs with ice cream and you have something you’d like – something that works well together and is a tasty treat.

This harmony, and the converse lack of harmony, is the crux of the book Meatball Sundae by marketing consultant and author Seth Godin. He uses this graphic example to state how you take your business products and services (the meatballs) and market it with today’s marketing tools, namely online (the whipped cream and cherry). Godin’s premise is you just can’t slap today’s progressive marketing techniques (blogs, viral videos) on staid products and services just as they are and how you have marketed them in the past, or New vs. Old Marketing as he refers to it. New Marketing is making a personal connection between the consumer and the emotion of the product or service, where Old Marketing is broadcasted, interruptive promotion as it has always been done in the past.

My greatest takeaway from this book is not necessarily a positive one – it is more unlikely to happen in an older organization than a newer one. In a newer company or firm, New Marketing is all they know, or could even have been the prevailing catalyst for the start of the business. Therefore, the firm is more in sync with what needs to be done to practice New Marketing.

In older companies, where marketing has happened “that way” for a long time and has worked, this understanding may not be in place, and unless it is guided throughout the organization, it will never happen. In most older, traditional companies, people are concerned more for their own jobs in a fluctuating economy than anything else, and are less likely to champion the cause of New Marketing. Despite this, many companies have taken a fresh look at what they do and sell and have made personal connections with their audience. It takes a different allocation of money and resources than before, but with such a perspective, they can see their results, measurable more than a billboard on a highway.

Meatball Sundae is a quick, lively read and full of many examples of companies and what they did well – and didn’t do well – in practicing New Marketing. I recommend it to newer or old companies, to help them in their thinking. Depending on the company, making such a leap may not be as wide as crossing an ocean.

When I read Meatball Sundae, it made me think of a book Godin wrote back in 2002, Purple Cow. I think I’ll re-read that one next.

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