In September this year a particular 'blog' discussion triggered my reading virus again. Since then I must have read 8 different titles, mostly by recommendations from others (not all have made it into my top list - like The E-myth revisited and The Fred Factor) and my 'wish-list' on Amazon is still not empty, more to read over the holidays.
Most of the books are about major changes in business concepts, changes in marketing, changes in media used in marketing. Some I found real gems, some even a chain of gems. The books that made it on to my top list made me stop and think (and put thoughts to paper on my little note-pad) several times, as good books should do. Some even made me change our business and strategy plan for next year.
This made me think the following: of all these various (new) ideas, is there a winning combination between them? I'm sure there is, because some of the ideas - books compliment each other, like "The Long Tail" and "Permission Marketing", "The Tipping Point" and "Unleashing the IdeaVirus". Main question is: how to implement all (new) ideas into your business to become more effective, profitable and even sustainable.
Which brings me to the next 'step' of this 'book-review' (doing it by the books 3?) MY Winning Combination and in which order to read them.
Winning combination for me and my business (retail Natural Wooden Flooring, working from a small showroom in a Kentish Village with excellent -according to most of our customers - informative websites) is:
- "The Long Tail" - teaches you to understand that niche-markets are the future (and we are definitely in a niche-market: 80% of floor-covering in the U.K. is still wall-to-wall carpet, 20% is everything else) and why, how Internet and other new media can have a massive positive impact on your profit when you realise and discover where your 'niche' customers are.
- "Permission Marketing" - the (IMHO) most logical choice to read straight after "The Long Tail". This book makes you really realise that interruption marketing is passe, especially for businesses in niche-markets like us. It shows you, teaches you the most obvious way forward to 'release' your specific part in the long tail is to 'ask permission' of any prospect and existing customer to keep talking to him/her in order to A) start the conversation in turning this prospect into a customer and B) start turning your existing customers into 'ambassadors' of your business. (Still think there is one little thing missing in Seth's idea)
- "Unleashing the IdeaVirus" - this is more than just translating the old 'USP' (Unique Selling Point or Proposition) into online practice, it goes beyond that (and confirms my opinion that it should be OSPS - Outstanding Selling PointS - as mentioned in my novel The Kiss Business). Is your product, service worth talking about; is it remarkable enough to have others 'spread the word' (by word of mouth or by word of mouse). And if you're in the long tail you need to be remarkable. That's another worthwhile combination ;-).
The book teaches you how easy (if you make yourself aware of it) it is to give prospects and customers simple and effective tools to spread the word, your word.
- "The Tipping Point" - IdeaVirus examples for products and companies in the Short-Head (see The Long Tail)
- "Good to Great" - suppose you implement every idea and tip from all above in the correct way to become a remarkable business that can be very profitable and happy in one of the niche-markets of the long tail. In order to become successful and profitable, and to sustain your business as remarkable you'll have to build your whole organisation (even a one-man-band) around these new concepts of marketing and even beyond marketing. If it's just the marketing department that embraces the 'new technology' and the after sales, production and sales-office stick to the 'old and familiar' ways you won't profit as much from all the above; you won't become sustainable profitable, your business won't go from 'Good' to 'Great'.
My most obvious order of reading therefore would be:
Good to Great, followed by The Long Tail, Permission Marketing, Unleashing the IdeaVirus and then The Tipping Point. As desert I recommend The Goal and Kick Start You Business.
But that's just my personal recommendations, I would welcome other ideas, orders or even tips on books I haven't discovered yet.