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January 14, 2008


from the Post2Post tour highlighting Seth Godin’s MEATBALL SUNDAE…

Remember the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial where two different tastes combine? It went something like this …


In MEATBALL SUNDAE, Seth Godin updates this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial scenario with Old Marketing as one flavor and New Marketing as another flavor. However, unlike the chocolate and peanut butter combination, the haphazard combination of Old Marketing with New Marketing is a case where two marketing tastes DO NOT taste great together.

Seth says the flavor of Old Marketing is about “… interrupting masses of people with ads about average products.” New Marketing, according to Seth, has a flavor that “… treats every interaction, product, service, and side effect as a form of media.” Promoting products and services using a marketing mix of television commercials, print ads, and billboards is Old Marketing. While, promoting products and services using non-traditional marketing methods that invite influential customers to spread the word is New Marketing.

The problem is, as Seth sees it, Old Marketing-based companies are so anxious to embrace New Marketing ways that they end up with a MEATBALL SUNDAE—two great tastes that DO NOT taste great together.

Wal-Mart created a MEATBALL SUNDAE when they decided to combine their Old Marketing strategy of promoting low prices to the masses through traditional advertising with the New Marketing ways of social media consumer generated media. The result of this combination was THE HUB, a myspace wannabe that failed miserably.

Anheuser-Busch created a MEATBALL SUNDAE with its Bud TV marketing initiative. Eager to capitalize on viral online marketing goings-on to reach twentysomething beer drinkers, Anheuser-Busch has routed over $40-million from their television advertising marketing budget to create an online entertainment network called Bud.TV. Launched in the fall of 2006 with aspirations of becoming the next YouTube, Bud.TV has failed to catch-on and is in danger of being axed.

Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch are mainstays of Old Marketing. They are accustomed to accosting consumers with a blitzkrieg of mass media advertising to influence their buying behavior. Given that, are we surprised their New Marketing follies failed? The go-to-business ethos at Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch isn’t built for New Marketing.

Seth isn’t advocating all companies eschew Old Marketing for New Marketing. Instead, he’s saying, “Don’t use the tactics of one paradigm and the strategies of another and hope you’ll get the best of both worlds. You won’t.”

What Seth is advocating is twofold, “First, the structure of organizations needs to radically adapt to this new model. Second, products need to be designed that don’t depend on old-school advertising but instead spread on their own.”

Throughout MEATBALL SUNDAE, Seth outlines 14 New Marketing trends and showcases how enduring and emerging companies are successfully using those trends to create marketing magic and not a meatball sundae.

1 | sound-bites | MEATBALL SUNDAE
3 | silly stuff | MEATBALL SUNDAE


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