Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Review: 'Contagious' by Jonah Berger

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance." -- 1 Timothy 4:9 (NKJV)

Some nonfiction books state important ideas for the first time. Others restate what is known in terms of new information. Still other texts capture the essence of what's known in more powerful ways. Contagious falls into the last category. If you haven't studied marketing before, it's a solid place to start with understanding what attracts attention and draws more people ... especially through face-to-face or telephone-to-telephone conversations. In other words, this book is about word of mouth, a profoundly important way to market anything.

In today's world, many people are convinced that only social media drive trends. While that may happen someday, the trends start elsewhere and are echoed later in social media. Unique experiences and word-of-mouth testimonials are at the core of how such things start and spread.

If you just want a recipe for marketing, go to page 209 in the Epilogue, which succinctly summarizes the book's elements: social currency, environmental reminders, generating emotion, visibility, practical benefits, and effective stories. I found the list a little overly summarized to be completely helpful. Professor Berger's strength as a business author is explaining what the labels mean. I advise you to dig in and study his examples.

While I've been involved with business marketing as a professional for many decades (you don't want to know how many), I found his examples to be more compelling than those I recall from other fine books on the subject.

I intend to recommend this book to all my entrepreneurial students who need a stronger marketing program.

Bravo, Professor Berger!

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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