Friday, July 31, 2009

Marketing Book Binge

I must admit, I binge on information. Perhaps it all started while attending college in Iowa at Cornell College - their one-course-at-a-time system is so perfect for learning to process gobs of information very quickly. Now I find it a valuable skill in this information-rich modern world we inhabit.

Lately I've been tearing through books on social media and marketing. My most recent reads are: Twitter Power, The Twitter Revolution, The New Language of Marketing 2.0 and Guerilla Marketing. So if you are looking for the cliff's notes, or want to decide what's relevant for you to read, here's my take on those titles:

Twitter Power by Joel Comm

This book provides a step-by-step method to create follower-worthy tweets and gain attention on Twitter. It also outlines how Twitter can help as a channel for customer service, brand building, and crowdsourcing. Mr. Comm gives practical advice and encourages testing and measurement (near and dear to my heart) in social media marketing efforts. His chapters on setting up your profile & twitter page will be useful to people getting started on Twitter. More experienced folks will find this book less valuable. Most important takeaways - create a plan, measure results, and stick to it. Like many marketing efforts, building a following and converting customers takes time.

Twitter Revolution by Warren Whitlock & Deborah Micek

This was one of the early books about Twitter (back when Chris Brogan only had 8,900 followers). The authors' excitement for the medium definitely comes through. This book answers the question - "Twitter - what's all the fuss?" pretty well. I found it a little disjointed and shallow; kind of like Twitter! Most important takeaways - start a conversation, be genuine, connect with lots of people, and be open to where that takes you.

The New Language of Marketing 2.0 by Sandy Carter

A publisher sent me this book after seeing one of my reviews. Frankly, I was flattered. Once received, I found the subtitle off-putting. My first thoughts - What's with the marketing ANGELS? Is it a religious thing? An ill-chosen acronym?

It took me some time to read this book. It has about 3-4 times the content of any other marketing book I have picked up in the last few months. Kind of textbooky. BUT - I have kept it on my desk and referred to it several times due to its meatiness. There are a lot of case studies from huge companies. The author is an IBM exec. The part I liked the best was the chapter called "Fish where the fish are and use the right bait." Sounds simple, but it's so easy to forget when you are jazzed about your product or service and "like, EVERYONE could use one of these" thinking. This book is an excellent choice for anyone who does marketing for or in a large enterprise. The perspective is mainly from global firms, HQ'd in the U.S.

Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

This book is in its 4th edition. Definitely worth owning, targeted to small and mid-size business owners & marketers. I like the very hands-on approach from this author. Guerilla Marketing is focused on outreach. What you can do to get your message out there to the right audience...understanding your product and market, then communicating with them as cheaply as possible. There is not a lot about what I'd call "pull" marketing like online search and social media. But this is good, get-down-to-business and get local marketing strategy. This book is great for small to medium sized business owners that sell products or services to a niche, or local audience. Key takeaways - read chapter 7 on saving marketing money.

At the risk of lengthening an already-long blog post, I'll give my 2 cents as a marketer. Consistency is hard, but it wins. Just look at the number of abandoned Twitter accounts, or in-progress online shopping carts, or direct mail in recycle bins. Regardless of the channel you choose, you have to be consistently there - talking, listening, informing - reaching out to people who are likely to buy what you sell. Be passionate. Remind people of how your product or service will make their life better. Then tell them again.

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