Seth Godin teases with a slow reveal of his new book “Meatball Sundae,” pointing to the undercurrent beneath all the blather about blogs and Borgs. In an economy where only three things really move — communication, products, and value — the revolution in communication media means the fundamentals of business must change, too.
“We’re spending a ton of time arguing about tactics, social networks and adwords. Behind the scenes, an even bigger revolution is brewing. It’s the one where entire organizations change in response to the lever of the change in marketing.”
We like Seth’s vibe. Here’s our take. Treacy wrote that companies need to focus on the “discipline of market leaders” by either being best in product innovation, operations efficiency, or total customer solution. Pick a direction and go there, he said: This is why sharp ops companies can make calculators for less than the cost of a box of cereal.
But Treacy was wrong. The world where a single focus succeeds is now over. Companies today need to do it all — be efficient (to compete in a world-is-flat market), innovate products (or Apple will eat your lunch), and meet the huge set of consumer needs (now hunting for you by the light of the Internet). Media fragmentation did not create the long tail of consumer demand; that’s always been there. But the media revolution is pushing every business down the slide to meet more and more fragmented, complex consumer needs.
Seth’s metaphor is intriguing. In our mind, the meatball of org structure is rolling down the hill of demand, headed for the millions of users and browsers and creators and buyers who each want something different. Organizations can no longer focus just on operations, or products, or customers — they need to cover the entire spectrum above, because consumers are pulling demand to the right of the long tail. What’s for dinner, marketers? Whatever customers want.