He successfully documents that evolution in his new book microMARKETING: Get Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small.
Written with a level of urgency and power that is an unfortunate rarity in contemporary business books, microMARKETING feels a lot like having a conversation with Verdino. It’s a fast, compelling read that provides a surge of ideas and a confidence boost about your ability to succeed in a world where small often kicks the ass of big.
The book is chock full of concise and interesting examples, some of which Verdino had a hand in creating. One of the characteristics of microMARKETING I appreciate most is that the case studies talk about “why” particular programs worked (or didn’t). Instead of just collecting success stories like a post-modern scrapbooker, Verdino makes the reader understand the underlying principles of the network effect; interruption vs. interaction marketing; and reach vs. relationships with craftily utilized, relevant case studies.
microMARKETING – Think Small
The underlying premise of microMARKETING is that the staggering increase in content creation and communication modalities (as well as a more discerning consumer in general) makes it paradoxically less efficient and effective to rely on big marketing initiatives like traditional advertising programs.
Instead, of swinging for the fences and trying to reach a large number of potential customers with a TV commercial, Verdino suggests that brands of all sizes would be better served by a widely dispersed base hit strategy. The question then is do you want to reach a lot of people at one time with interruptive marketing that they may or may not care about (grenade); or do you want to reach a few people at a time in a more engaging, persuasive way (bayonets)?
The criticism of the distributed, microMARKETING philosophy has been that you can’t reach enough people to make it a worthy replacement for old school approaches. Verdino persuasively argues this point on two fronts. First, that by stringing together enough micro engagements, a brand can replicate reach. Second, microMARKETING enables brands to communicate with customers and prospects in varied, heterogenous ways that traditional marketing doesn’t allow.
Chapter 7 (“From Reach to Relationships”) focuses on the fact that not all customers are created equal, and that engaging with influencers and micro-communities can trigger a multiplier effect that makes microMARKETING as efficient as it is powerful. Verdino sums up this principle nicely with this quote:
What if instead of buying the many to reach the few, we built relationships with the few to attract the many? What if instead of viewing reach as a starting requirement, we saw it as the result of getting consumer relationships right?
I’m a big fan of this notion of reach following relationships. Brian Solis talks about brands “earning their audience” and I wrote a post about it called The Chicken and the Egg Social Media Conundrum.
What I like most about this chapter is that it doesn’t simply say “some people online have influence, focus on them” as so many other books and blogs have done. Rather, Verdino talks about the power of commitment, and how smart marketers need to build win/win scenarios for their customers to be able to successfully move enthusiasts to evangelists. Your best customers will help you once because it helps your company, but they won’t keep banging the drum unless they benefit personally as well. This is just human nature, but it’s often ignored by companies thinking that people will spread their press release like bird flu just because they “liked” a Facebook page.
At the conclusion of the book, Verdino has included a microMARKETING action plan that walks you step-by-step through the questions and exercises necessary to start thinking small. There’s an online version as well.
I appreciate that the book includes a how-to section in addition to an example-rich manifesto. It makes the ideas in the book seem much more achievable and practical.
If you’re stuck in the rut of traditional marketing via TV, print ads, press release distribution and the like, microMARKETING is required reading. And if you’ve already begun the journey of deconstructing and widely dispersing your marketing initiatives, this book will give you a pile of new ideas and examples that will motivate and inspire you.
(photo by Niffty)