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marketing with meaning January 28, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in bob gilbreath, marketing with meaning, the next evolution of marketing.
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Keen observers will know that I don’t tend to blog about business books a lot. That’s because I don’t tend to read them a lot because I find snippets interesting but whole reams of them quite dull. So when approached to get an advanced copy of The Next Evolution of Marketing by Bob Gilbreath, I surprised myself by saying yes.

I’m glad I did.

The book is not really a book at all; it’s a two parter that in part one either tells you what you’ve been doing (mass broadcasting to people who don’t listen) is essentially wasted or re- affirms your career choice to try different things to engage people with brands rather than  just shout at them. This is nothing new to those who are trying to do this. But there’s a huge amount of meticulous research to help you keep fighting the good fight. Enough complete case studies than you can shake a stick at and enough riposte material to repel the borders against old school marketing. In this section Bob provides a handy triangle model (we planners love a good triangle) to explain the three stages of marketing with meaning. I like it because it shows there’s flexibility and scale to doing something interesting. Not everything can be the Nike+ nirvana.

Part 1 also has a lot of personal anecdotes. Bob used to work client side at a small place called P&G – you may have heard of them. Apparently they’re also making something called BookFace a central plank in their marketing strategy.

I apologise, I’m being a bitch and spoiling the good story about this book. Back to Bob.

He’s pretty candid about the challenges internally which will be familiar to many but also reassuring that the challenges can be overcome. This is why I think client side marketer should read this book more than agency folk; while we have the ambition and the dreams to take brands places, our dreams are often made or laid to waste by brand teams and the challenges they face. Many of which we in agency land just don’t have exposure too nor resonate with.

Most books would stop there but part two is essentially a guide on how to do marketing with meaning. And yes it includes measurement! Hurrah! While most of the industry is excited about the shiny box, Bob re-affirms that anything is pointless unless you can measure it. And there’s another handy triangle to measure “meaning”.

I’m also impressed that the book lives beyond the printed page and is alive and well sharing marketing with meaning examples through Twitter, a site and a sample download.

The passion in the book to shift the model away from channels and reach etc. into meaning is contagious. Read it, follow the Twitter stream and you’ll see what I mean.

People in Five by Five world – it’s in my bookcase in the planning dungeon. Please borrow it but also please return it.
Big thanks the Meghann and Bob at Bridge Worldwide for sharing the book allowing me this opportunity and for the inspiration.

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