Sage's Favorite Marketing Excerpts
September 9th, 2014

Sage's Favorite Marketing Excerpts

by Steph DeLuca

We’re big readers here at Sage Island. Fifty Shades of Grey may or may not be in one of our male employee’s desks at this very moment. The women in the office went on an Emily Giffin binge not too long ago, and a few Sage employees may or may not belong to “A Wine Drinking Club with a Book Problem.” We loved WILD, may have a little something for Edward Cullen, and definitely wouldn’t mind sitting at Lighthouse sharing a beer (or six) with Margaret Atwood.

One of our IT guys said he “read the internet once. The entire internet.” And then admitted to reading the Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook. So, there’s that.

But when it comes to our favorite books about communications, consumer psychology and creativity, we’re pretty much all on the same page. We’ve picked a few that stand out in our memory as being really awesome, and selected some excerpts that serve as great reminders and concepts to explore.

There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone. -Cluetrain Manifesto, Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger

Top-down hierarchy is a thing of the past and ignoring your biggest assets—word of mouth customers and employees—is marketing suicide. These guys challenge business as usual and define markets as conversations, drilling down the point that the web gives anyone with internet access a voice. In just about everything. And as more and more of these voices share opinions, experiences, thoughts and feelings, more and more conversations are to be had. People join forces and create communities. And these communities are talking about your brand. Do you know what they’re saying? Do you know where they are?

If two people are not prepared to see each other as equal, at least for the duration of their interaction with each other, then what they are having is not a conversation. -Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web, Euan Semple

Not only has the top-down hierarchy been shattered by the access that the internet has provided us (Hell, I want a beer with Branson!) and fundamentally changed the way we interact with one another, it’s changed our expectations. Your customers expect a response. And if you ignore them?

A cute little snippet from Cluetrain will answer this one: “You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.”

“To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from “What information do I need to convey?” to “What questions do I want my audience to ask?” – Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath

Ah, yes. The good old SUCCESs model. To be SUCCESsful, ideas have to be simple—easily grasped and understood. Ideas have to be unexpected (habituation is real!), concrete to be memorable, and credible to earn trust. You’ve got to evoke emotion to make people understand the importance of your messaging. And above all—you have to tell stories to be relatable.

Easy enough theoretically. Maybe a bit more convoluted conceptually. And then when it’s time to apply? #icanteven.

But the biggest takeaway here is that in order to be successful, you’ve got to train yourself into thinking about your own purchasing habits, incorporating what you know about your customers, and shifting your perspective to your brand’s mission and vision. How do you browse? How do you shop? What stories catch your attention?

“Social Media Is the Shiny New Thing. Two Years from Now, That Bubble Will Burst. | There is no bubble. What social media represents is an evolution in the field of communications, just as the Internet and mobility before it. The tools will change, the platforms will evolve, but the way in which people communicate with other people through digital networks and electronic devices has been fundamentally transformed through the development of social media.” -Social Media ROI, Olivier Blanchard

That is the REAL Legion of Boom.

“The day you start talking to your audience and it’s about them, that’s the day that business really happens.” -UnMarketing, Scott Stratten

Scott Stratten is a hell of a marketer. And because his voice is so authentic, we can say that he’s a hell of a guy without even knowing him personally. He admits to leaving misspellings in his book because it’s “more authentic that way,” and he writes to help his readers. Like Semple, he is accessible (especially on Twitter) and genuinely interested people. No BS. All straight-talk. And better yet, he’s the kind of person you actually want to hang out with. Everyone’s an equal, and everyone’s opinion matters. Which is why, to be successful, you’ve got to understand that every interaction with your brand is just as important as the next.

Books that didn’t make this blog’s cut, but will next time: “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin, “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi, “Creative Confidence” by Tom Kelley and David Kelley, and “The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently” by Sunni Brown.

Got any others? Let us know!