Tags: breakthrough thinking, business breakthrough, Tuned In book
I was lucky enough to be given a preview copy of a great new book by Craig Stull, Phil Myers, and David Meerman Scott called Tuned In. I got the preview, but it is being published today. It was a very interesting experience to read this book, because I feel as though I understand the authors’ perspectives so well already. But even though I know where the authors are coming from, I was still riveted by this book. They tell so many great stories that illustrate their big point, which is that you need to be willing to listen to what’s going on around you to really produce a business breakthrough. I found myself sorry when the book ended, because the stories are so helpful in driving the philosophy home, and each story is interesting on its own merits.
I am a big fan of David’s, and if you read his last book, you would be too. So, I recognized David’s voice in places throughout the book, especially when it explains how to detect the difference between tuned-in and tuned-out marketing.
But I also recognize the voices of Craig and Phil, because I am a certified product manager from their company, Pragmatic Marketing. So when the book differentiates between listening to your customers and listening to your overall market, I hear them. When they tell you that you need to get out and talk to people to identify the ideas that will resonate, I remember hearing in class: “Nothing good ever happens in the office.”
So, nothing this book said really surprised me. And that’s the real genius of the book. So often, a really great book says something that seems completely obvious—right after you hear it. This book is one of those.
Well of course you need to talk to your whole market and not just your existing customers. Well sure you’d rather have real information on which to base your decisions than “gut feel.” Certainly innovation for innovation’s sake is doomed to failure.
There are these kind of “Well, duh!” ideas on every page. But they are obvious only in retrospect. Most companies don’t act as if these ideas are obvious—just the opposite.
In my last book, I tried to help people take these approaches in Internet marketing. This book has a bigger agenda, where the authors help you see how to succeed in all the parts of an offering, from product development to marketing. And they succeed, both because of these blowhard-skewering truths and because they have a rich set of stories that put these ideas in action.
I was fascinated by the case study for Zipcar, I business I was aware of but had never tried. The way they first identified the needs of city dwellers who occasionally need a car, but don’t need the hassles of owning one, was an eye-opener for me. But I was even more surpsied to hear about how they’ve targeted other groups to help them, ranging from politicians interested in telling a green story to landlords looking to add Zipcars as a differentiator against other rental properties.
Zipcar is just one of dozens of stories that bring the Tuned In principles to life. If you’ve ever wondered why your company is stultified in its strategy, and why it strangles every successful product idea before it ever sees the light of day, read this book. It will challenge you to transform your company or leave it.