As entrepreneurs, you and I are as far away from corporate America as we can possibly be. And that’s by choice – the daily office grind is a living death that I avoid at all costs.
So I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first stumbled across Marketing in the Round. Co-authored by Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston, the book’s core focus is on breaking down marketing barriers in large corporations. What on earth could Gini’s “tear down those silos” rallying cry teach me about my one-woman business?
Awesome Core Ideas
As it turns out, the whole point of “tear down those silos” is to start thinking of customer service, sales, marketing, advertising, and PR activities as parts of a greater whole instead of separate activities. This may be old news to some, but it was a news flash for me that I can’t separate traditional marketing from online marketing.
Building on this “everything is connected” theory, Gini and Geoff describe the types of media (paid, earned, and owned) and give a brief definition of each media channel. It sounds boring, but understanding the types of media open to you is crucial groundwork for big thrust of their book, which is marketing strategy.
When I think of strategy, I think in terms of “I want to grow my email list, and here are three ways to do that.” What Gini and Geoff propose, however, is going one step higher on the big-picture ladder.
They categorized all marketing tactics (such as “I want to grow my email list”) into four strategies: direct, top-down, groundswell, and flanking. For the next 150 pages, they drill down into each of these 4 strategies: their advantages, disadvantages, and where each media channel fits into the overall strategy. The book concludes with a few chapters on how to implement, measure, and refine your strategies for awesome results.
So What’s In It for You?
By far the most valuable part of this book is the exercise section at the end of each chapter. Gini and Geoff have done a great job of creating easy-to-understand worksheets that help you implement these new ideas.
Take, for example, their “crawl, walk, run, fly” approach to evaluating your own resources and abilities. Their handy-dandy exercise sheet lists the various forms of media, and asks you to rank your ability in each. And there’s no right answer – the idea is just for you to know what you’re awesome at and where you could use additional training.
You can use the same approach to the 4 marketing strategies. Let’s say that you’re launching a new product or service. Which strategy is right for you? Rank yourself in each of the 4 strategies (direct, top-down, groundswell, and flanking), then cross-reference your “what kinds of media am I good at?” list with your strategies list and find where the two meet.
This may sound basic, but often the most difficult thing about marketing is that you simply don’t know where to start. Doing these exercises gives you that starting point. And, as a bonus, they’ll also help you figure out where you are in relation to that starting point.
Even though it’s not geared specifically to entrepreneurs, I really enjoyed Marketing in the Round. Their real-life examples and cool exercises helped me to understand the larger world of marketing, as well as what “used to be done” before the internet. If you’re looking for a way to organize the various media channels and tactics into one big picture, this is definitely the book for you.
P.S. Be sure to check out @ginidietrich on Twitter. She tweets an interesting mix of useful posts and funny pictures, proving that marketing people are just as cool and fun as the rest of us entrepreneurs!
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