Feb. 22 2011 – 10:11 am
By LISA ARTHUR
Marketing maverick Seth Godin is throwing down the gauntlet, again. Seth pioneered permission marketing, nurtured our tribal instincts and dared us all to become intrepid linchpins (among other things). Now Seth is using his latest book to challenge us in yet another way. This time, he wants us to “poke the box.”
Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure to spend time with Seth at Aprimo CMO roundtables and read a pre-published copy of the book. I have heard Seth’s directive loud and clear. For companies of all sizes, “poking the box” is about stepping out of the comfort zone. It’s about not being static. It is about revolutionizing business models, transforming the customer experience and finding a way to contribute something that is scarce and highly valued.
Seth summed it up in a Q and A at Amazon:
Poke the Box is about the spark that brings things to life. We need to be nudged away from conformity and toward ingenuity, toward answering unknown questions for ourselves. Even if we fail, as I have done many times in my life, we learn what not to do by experience and doing the new.
This isn’t the same thing as taking a risk. In fact, the riskiest thing we can do right now is nothing.
Seth makes the point that doing nothing is disastrous –especially in today’s publishing industry.
For many, Borders stands out as the new poster-child for failure to embrace the digital revolution.
However, we all know that simply taking action –any action –is no guarantee of success.
Look at what’s happening with Apple. Apple is poking the box with its new subscription model, which gives the company a 30 percent cut of all subscriptions sold on iOS devices. But, digital publishers are still weighing the pros and cons of the new policy, and it’s unclear how it will play out in the marketplace.
At this point, only one thing is certain: Seth doesn’t shy away from that kind of risk. With Poke the Box, he’s not only challenging us. He’s also challenging the publishing industry’s model for content distribution. The book is part of The Domino Project, Seth’s new venture to reinvent publishing.
As he sees it, if your idea or product is a good one, one that’s usable by others, they’ll pass it on.
For marketers, that means poking the box is about producing fresh approaches and compelling content and engaging and integrating business with consumers in new ways.
At Aprimo, we call it “collaborative community marketing,” adding a bit of discipline to what many think of today as social media or social marketing.
Think of it this way: If you encourage and enable your customers to share your content and offers, they will. Once that happens, you start spreading funnel responsibilities (including awareness-building, lead generation and lead nurturing) across a community of thousands. Consumers start doing the lifting, and the benefit to the brand – in incremental awareness and sales – is enormous.
At the same time, integrating internal and external channels allows you to think strategically about each offer, message and creative collaboration. Collaborative community marketing puts customers at the center of marketing, but the analytics and the integration provide the tactical insights you’ll need to drive the campaign.
Seth is poking the publishing industry box. But, as I see it, most industries need a little nudge right now. What are you doing to poke the box?