Magnetic: A book review by Bob Morris

MagneticMagnetic: The Art of Attracting Business
Joe Calloway
John Wiley & Sons (November 2015)

How to create customer experiences that drive new business while sustaining repeat business

Marketing can be traced back at least to the bazaars in ancient Athens and Rome and yet its primary purpose remains the same today: To create or increase demand for whatever the offering may be. That said, attracting attention must precede all other initiatives. Then credibility must be earned by treating respondents with respect. A world-class marketing plan is essentially worthless – and usually counter-productive — if the given product or service is of inferior quality. Joe Calloway wrote this book to explain the art and science of attracting and retaining buiness.

o Use of percentages to suggest relative importance and correlative relationships
o Boxed clusters of question to facilitate interaction with key issues
o Reality checks
o Organizational- and self-assessments
o What to do and when to do it
o Prioritization of tasks

As I worked my way through Calloway’s narrative, I was again reminded of Bernd Schmitt’s pioneering work, Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate (2000). He develops in much greater depth insight introduced in an earlier work, Marketing Aesthetics (1998). For example, the assertion that “most of marketing is limited because of its focus on features and benefits.” He presents what he characterizes as “a framework” for managing those experiences. In Experiential Marketing, Schmitt provides a much more detailed exposition of the limitations of the traditional features-and-benefits marketing. Moreover, he moves beyond the sensory “framework” into several new dimensions, introducing what he calls “a new model” that will enable marketers to manage “all types of experiences, integrating them into holistic experiences” while “addressing key structural, strategic, and organizational challenges.” The key word is “holistic”; the key process involves creating to a wholly enjoyable customer experience.

More than fifteen year later, this is precisely what Calloway has in mind: “This book focuses on the one thing above all others: creating the experiences that park the positive word of mouth that will drive new business to you. It is about the attitude, strategies, and tactic that make that happen…This book is about what customers say about you…This book is about what matters most — the stories that your customers tell about you, not the stories that you tell about yourself.”

I cannot recall a prior time when buyers were better informed and with more control over the purchase decision process than they are today. Moreover, the emergence of social media a well as open access to reviews such as this one offer a “bully pulpit” beyond anything that Theodore Roosevelt could possibly have imagined. According to Calloway, mastering the art and science of attracting business is essential to creating what Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell characterize as “customer evangelists.”

Joe Calloway is to be commended for the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that he provides. It would be a fool’s errand, however, to try to apply everything that he recommends. Each reader must decide which of the material is most relevant to the needs, interests, values, concerns, resources, and strategic objectives of their organization.

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