Seth Godin interview on Brand Mix (1) ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Seth Godin interview on Brand Mix (1)

Question one: Getting into the game

I think that your main point in the book that new marketing (the sundae) won’t work on top of an old business model (the meatball) is very compelling. Many companies have wasted a lot of money approaching new media as if it was simply another TV channel.

How should companies, especially large Fortune 100 companies that have thrived under the old rules, approach new media? Is there a way for them to get into the game without having to reinvent themselves all at once? Can they experiment?


How should they have addressed the assembly line? TV and radio? The invention of the truck and the highway?

I think big companies are dramatically underrating the impact of the new marketing, just as market leaders have always ignored the next thing. The entire thesis of my book is that "can they experiment" is almost always a recipe for doom--at least doom in the sense that they will waste their money and then lose to people who are actually serious.

Brand Mix:

I agree that big companies have underrated this impact. However, I think they do need a way to test and find their way in this new medium (without creating a Meatball Sundae).

So, just like Lauren was able to find a way to grow his business by going into a new channel so should P&G be able to figure out better ways to do what it failed to do the first time around with its cosmetics line. And, from what I understand, P&G has, in fact, made a huge commitment to innovation and open-source R&D (Connect + Develop) so is doing quite a bit in making sure its differentiation comes as much from its products as its communication (e.g. Swiffer).

So maybe "experiment" was the wrong word. Better to ask: how do big companies start embracing new marketing without betting the farm all at once?


Exactly! You do it with a new group, or division, or unit. You let that unit try to beat the core business (as Lauren did) not by knotting them up with policies and procedures.

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