Most helpful positive review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The return of common sense marketing
on June 20, 2008
Why did the Apple Newton flop and the iPod rock? How did a struggling magician transform himself into a success with a three-word tagline? How did a car rental startup grab an entire market segment that was just sitting there for the big guys to gobble up? Answer: it was all a matter of tuning in.
It stands to reason if an organization wants to develop products and services that resonate with people, the first step is to ask people what they want. Simple as it sounds, authors Stull, Myers, and Scott, each of whom has extensive experience working with large firms and non-profits, observe that many of them simply don't do it. Those that do often lack the right processes to gather and act upon the information they receive. As a result, they roll out products and services that fall absolutely flat, squandering their resources and completely missing golden opportunities.
The authors contend the solution is to tune in. Instead of selecting new product initiatives in ivory tower executive suites and developing them in the lab, get to the grass roots. Talk to actual people, uncover their most urgent needs, and craft solutions. This strikes me as an incredibly sensible approach; perhaps that is why big companies are apt to overlook it.
The book focuses on the why and how of tuning in, with emphasis on the how. The authors lay out a 6-step process for tuning in, very detailed yet written in plain English every reader will understand -
1. Find unresolved problems
2. Understand buyer personas
3. Quantify the impact
4. Create breakthrough experiences
5. Articulate powerful ideas
6. Establish authentic connections
Even though it is simple and straightforward, the tuning in process, like any other, has its share of pitfalls, problems, and subtleties. Here's where the authors' impressive consulting and training experience really distinguishes this book from others I've read on similar topics. These men are able to identify the hazards organizations will encounter in the trenches, and explain - largely through the use of real life case studies and their own war stories - how to handle (and not handle) them.
I like the emphasis on real life stories. They give the whole book the flavor of authenticity books like this need. The procession of examples is what makes tuning in seem implementable, rather than being just another cool-sounding new marketing theory.
Any organizational leader, marketing specialist, or sales executive will profit from, and probably be challenged by, "Tuned In", since tuning in involves jettisoning conventional wisdom (for instance, making new product decisions based strictly on what current customers say), and engaging in new forms of communication such as blogs and social networking communities. Still, this is one of those books you're better off reading sooner rather than later. As more and more companies start tuning in, those that don't are going to start looking worse and worse in the marketplace.