After I quoted "speak human"last week you are probably not surprised when I say: I love this book! SmashLab Founder Eric Karjaluoto explains in depth why classic marketing is useless for small and mid-size companies and what works instead: "Outmarket the Big Guys by Getting Personal" (as the subtitles states). But it is not a book for everyone...
While most Social Media books focus on big companies and how to adapt their classic marketing strategies to this "new" social media thing Eric Karjaluoto heads into the opposite direction. Based on his 10 years marketing experience in a changing market his book focusses on real communication. It allboils down to one basic rule: "Get Personal". He calls this way of communication "speaking human" in contrary to the top-bottom communication most big companies normally do.
The books is divided into five parts each one having between four and six chapters. Each part - on his homepage they are called "sections" - has a headline and each chapter in there represents one argument for this parts headline. Although you could understand them as main rules to follow they build upon each other. It is a step-by-step plan constructing the concept of "Getting Personal". His writing style is clear and structured. He knows when he is repeating things and makes clear why he is doing so. It is easily readable even if you are not a native speaker.
Karjaluoto breaks with a lot of common dreams and rules in business. And it is necessary to do it. So i f you are still dreaming about "growth" for your company this book is worth every penny. It will shutter this dream but you won't be disappointed: shattering this dream is crucial for real success and Karjaluoto will explain you why. This takes up most of the time: the first three parts are focussed about breaking the classic rules of business and going to a different direction. Only the fourth chapter is looking on how to transfer what you learnt into Social Media.
While the whole book takes place in reality with a lot of nice examples of actual companies this fourth chapter is short and theoretical: it ends with the chapter "Ten (Digital) Marketing Stories". Ten stories he made up. Totally fictive. No Real-Case-Studies. Sad. It leaves the reader on his own. And this is only one example, the same is valid for the many tools out there and the different ways to use them. He keeps it theoretical and without any real life connection or examples. Only "Could be" and "Might work". This leaves a bad after taste; you get the feeling it might not be true at all. It might have been better to not include this chapter at all.
This might also be the reason why I rushed through the fifth part. Although I just finished reading it last week I can't remember much of it - actually I had to look into it again for this article. The only thing I remember is I wanted to get through it as fast as possible. While reading you get the feeling the author wanted the same. It is very theoretical and rushes through a lot of not-yet-finished ideas; some of them belong into this book (like "Forget Viral" or "Starting a Fire") others don't (the theory of "The Inverted Pyramid" could be a book itself...). In any case this last part reads itself like an unsorted idea pool, it is missing the clear structure the first three chapters have.
And that is twice as sad because some of these ideas are really smart with great arguments but they get lost on the pool of unclear theoretical thoughts and secondly because this book deserves a better ending.
But that does not mean, you shouldn't read it. As I said at the beginning: I love this book. And if you are not yet sure about the marketing for your small company you should spend the $ 22.95 for this book or read chapters he publishes online every couple of weeks. If you are looking for a book about how to adapt these techniques into Social Media on the other hand this book is not enough: This is the missing part and makes the theories feel a bit more "unproven" than they have to be.
If you know a good book containing this missing part or just want me review a certain book drop me a line.