First, it’s too easy to read, and we all know business books should be hard going and stuffed full of jargon to be valuable. Second, it doesn’t back up conventional thinking. So it must be wrong. And third, it creates work for you. A lot of work. And no-one wants to make life difficult for themselves, do they? So unless you’re fed up with books that talk big but deliver little, unless you can see any benefit in having your thinking challenged, or unless you’d like to transform your marketing processes in line with cutting edge thinking even if that means changing your entire organisation, Marketing in the Round isn’t for you. Read no further.
Unfortunately I fall into all three of those categories. So when my friends and two of the bloggers I most admire Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston got together to write Marketing in the Round, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. And I wasn’t disappointed when it finally made its way to the UK.
Marketing in the Round isn’t a book about social media. And it’s not just another megaphone for the echo chamber. What it is, is extremely inspirational and totally deceptive. By focusing on organisational change and a completely integrated approach to marketing, it feels refreshing. It does away with buzzwords and any over-emphasis of digital media in favour of a more practicable and balanced approach that has massive potential benefit. And its easy-to-read nature betrays its value. Marketing in the Round draws you in without you even realising it and, before you know it, you’re thinking about how and where different marketing disciplines in your organisation are or should be integrated. That’s what makes this such a valuable book – effective simplicity is at its core.
Anyone who’s read Gini’s Spin Sucks or Geoff’s blog knows that neither of them pull any punches; they both tell it how it is. And in true Dietrich/Livingston style, Marketing in the Round is also very honest. My favourite paragraph is this, from a chapter on the groundswell approach:
“The groundswell involves people, comments and feedback – probably more feedback than you’re comfortable receiving. It’s going to get messy. Tempers are going to flare. Feelings will be hurt. You’re going to feel a loss of control. The marketing round will need to develop a thick skin to really listen and make a change. Are you ready?”
See what I mean? Like I say, refreshing honesty.
Organisational Change as the Key to Success
The overall premise of Marketing in the Round is to drive beneficial collaboration within organisations. It aspires to a hub (the ‘round’) where marketing, sales, HR, PR, customer service and finance all work in harmony for maximum effectiveness. It talks not only about the need to break down silos and how important this is in the digital age, but also how to do this. It offers tips on eliminating budget, control and power wars, and is something every progressive marketer should read.
What I particularly like about the way it is structured is that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to pull apart different marketing disciplines and elements. It describes an approach and, almost, a philosophy about true marketing integration. And this is underpinned by an analogy with military strategy; it refers repeatedly to The Book of Five Rings, a manuscript by 17th century Japanese Samurai Miyamoto Musashi. The war analogy is apt and, to carry if further, if you’re a strategic marketer, this book could very well be your secret weapon.
You can pick up a copy of Marketing in the Round if you’re in the UK on Amazon.
Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of Marketing in the Round by Gini Dietrich.
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