The idea of a meatball sundae - there are a lot of companies out there who have "meatballs" to sell - traditional products that are pretty good, but ordinary. Mr. Godin observes that the "old way" of just putting a TV ad out there and presenting a pretty good product to a large audience is failing. Then, he points out pitfalls in the technique of using "new marketing" (internet-driven techniques) to sell "old products". Hence the "Sundae". Some companies are trying to put hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top of a "meatball" and then wondering why the marketing techniques don't work.
Here are some key takeaways from my perspective.
- the Internet has enabled and empowered consumers in a totally new way.
- unique distribution and marketing channels have spawned micro-markets that can now be successful without physical locations (like T-shirt co. threadless.com microfinance co. Kiva and others)
- customization is king: more than ever, consumers want choices and ways to strip away excess "features" to save money
- as marketing clutter surges, interruption marketing (like TV ads and email promotions) are less viable
- great service wins (by the way, service and marketing are inextricably linked)