In the last fifteen years, the Internetand radical changes in media have created a whole new set of tools for marketing and selling products. In 2009 there are more websites, more email users, and more viral ideas, online and offline, than ever before. With all this choice of new media the temptation for business owners is to do more and more and more: buy Google adwords, redesign the website, launch an email campaign, hire a web consultant, start a blog, establish a Facebook group…the thinking being that the more you do the more sales you will get. Wrong! There is very little correlation between the quantity of new media activities and the sales you generate. What matters is how you design your organisation to embrace and use new media.
In his recent book entitled Meatball Sundae, Seth Godin warns that “most of the time, despite all the hype, organisations fail when they try touse this scattershot approach. They fail to get buzz or traffic or noise orsales. Organisations don’t fail because the web and the New Marketing don’t work. They fail because the web and the New Marketing work only when applied to the right organisation. New Media makes a promise to the consumer. If the organisation is unable to keep that promise, then it fails.”
The new marketing tools are the whipped cream, nuts and cherries of a sundae. When combined with ice cream they are delicious; when combined with meatballs they are not so nice. In Godin’s analogy meatballs represent the traditional way of doing business – traditional products, services, business models, sales channels and turnaround times. When the traditional way of doing things is combined with the new marketing we get what he refers to as a Meatball Sundae – a combination of incompatible practices.
To leverage the power of the new marketing the entire organisation needs to be transformed. “Just as technology propelled certain organisations through the Industrial Revolution, this new kind of marketing is driving the right organisations through the digital revolution,” says Godin. He highlights fourteen trends and how they affect organisational practices. Here are four simple ideas for reorganising your business around new media that will have a big impact on offering:
1.Use new media to get ideas from customers. Cape Town based start-up Springleap.com runs a global t-shirt design contest to get new innovative designs for the t-shirts it sells via its website; Procter & Gamble collects and categorises over 5 000 ideas a year for new and improved products via direct communication from users. Your organisation should be open to direct communication from users. Make it easy, seductive and fun to contact your company.
2.Use new media to monitor your performance. Much of an organisation’s identity is now established online, not on the company website,but on other sites and blogs where your products and services are being discussed by users. Hellopeter.com in South Africa, Yelp.com globally andother similar websites are where the real feedback is flowing. To know how you are really doing, actively monitor what others are saying about you on the web and use that feedback to improve your business.
3. Use new media to drastically reduce turnaround times. I can no worder stickers, business cards or customised golf shirts via the web and have them designed and delivered to my house all within 24 hours. The web has opened up sales and ordering channels between customers and a network of suppliers,and those suppliers that leverage Internet technology to deliver faster will inmost cases win. Are you using the web to completely streamline your connections with customers and suppliers and drastically reduce turnaround times?
4. Use new media to get others to do non-essential tasks. The web opens up options to get others to do non-routine or non-essential tasks at a really low cost. Web services such as elance.com, oDesk.com and guru.com give business owners easy access to a very wide array of freelancers and consultants who will take horrible work off your hands for very low prices giving you more time and space to do the things that matter and the things you enjoy.