If you are running your own company or if you have been charged with running the digital assets of your employer, you have probably, in desperation, sought knowledge in “social media books.” Inevitably, you ran into the story of “United Breaks Guitars” and Comcast. The problem, though, is that your company probably is not as big as United or Comcast. You probably do not attract the same levels of viral negativity if something goes wrong, and you probably do not attract the same levels of viral praise (hey, Ellen DeGeneres, did you hear that…) if something goes right. These social media books may have offered some interesting tidbits, but you may have felt they didn’t really apply to you. How can you have silos between sales and marketing if YOU are sales and marketing in one single package?
Seek no further. I have the Holy Grail of marketing and business development for you. It’s The Ultimate Field Guide to Digital Program Management (not an affiliate link), authored by Daniel Newman and Olivier Blanchard.
This is not a “sit on your butt and read” book
Much like John Jantsch’s Referral Engine (not an affiliate link), this book is not a book you want to sit down and read in front of the fire on a cold winter’s day. In fact, reading this book should not be a solitary affair. Here is my recommendation.
Form a book club at work, even if it’s just you and your one partner. Read a few pages the night before, make notes, and get together the next day to discuss and work towards some actionable goals. That’s the kind of book this is. You will want to start thinking about what the authors talk about as it relates specifically to your company right from the star. For example, what are your business objectives? The authors ask you to consider this question, and if you realize with a start that you don’t have a good answer, you will want to stop reading and start brainstorming right away.
The book takes you from the stages of defining your business objectives to building tactics to help reach those objectives. Per the name, many of the proposed tactics reside in the digital world – Facebook, Twitter, video development, etc. However, and this is where the major difference is between this book and “social media books,” this is not just a “how to get Chris Brogan to follow you” study (nothing against Chris Brogan, of course). This is a “How to use as many different tactics and channels as possible to acquire customers, retain customers, and grow your business.
B2B Marketers, Take Heart
Another thing you may have noticed in pursuing “social media books” is that most of them are geared towards the consumer world. The ones that claim to incorporate B2B examples may have used companies like IBM or Citrix. These aren’t exactly “mom and pop” shops, and if you are, say, a medical device manufacturer, these examples are not going to guide you much. The Field Guide, however, covers the spectrum from oncology departments to Starbucks (really!). The information and guidance presented is fairly universal, but I applaud the authors in giving a nod to the types of companies that many other social media experts have sort of overlooked in the past.
Just one criticism
I unequivocally suggest you invest in this book. My only criticism is one which unfortunately must be commonly voiced in the industry. There are more proofreading errors than I usually like to see in a published book. I am a stickler for proofreading and content perfection in professionally published works. These errors do not get in the way of the content, but they are noticeable.
Full disclosure: The authors sent me this book to review. However, that did not sway me from offering an honest review. In my opinion, this book is a must for anyone striving to develop business and a strong customer base today.