Book Review: Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?

by Meryl K Evans | Category: Books, Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Reviews No comments

catbark Book Review: <em>Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?</em>Customers drive marketing, not the other way around. No longer do customers accept products as designed. They expect and demand products to be molded to their needs. Just like you can’t turn a cat into a dog; marketers can’t turn a customer into a buyer by convincing them that they need product or service ‘as is.’

“Waiting for Your Cat to Bark” is a fitting title for this book. Cats tend to see the world revolve around them while dogs are eager to please their masters by doing whatever they want. Today’s customers are in charge–much like cats.

“As is” might work in the bargain bin, but not in the majority of today’s markets. The authors guide the reader in reaching the audience, persuading them to take the right action and feeling confident about that action, and giving the audience results that match their demanding expectations.

Those growing expectations come from the Web reaching new levels. You may have heard a lot of talk about Web 2.0. No matter how anyone feels about the term, one thing it is clear — the Web has reached a new stage: interactivity. Users do something, and the Web page immediately reacts to the user’s commands. It’s also about creating online experiences, which often represent site’s brand. All of this together adds to users’ increasing expectations when they’re online.

Marketers can lend a hand to their sites’ visitors with persuasion architecture, a concept the Eisenbergs developed. Fancy words, perhaps, but the only words that will do. Before starting any marketing effort, the authors recommend asking three questions:

  • who is it you want to persuade?
  • what action do we want them to take?
  • what information is needed to motivate them to take that action?

Building effective persuasion architecture requires more than knowing who your audience is –- but who they represent. The authors show how to create audience personas and weave the persuasion architecture to satisfy the different personas’ needs.

The first chapters dig into the changes in the marketing world; how and why marketing has changed. The middle chapters uncover the minds of customers and why they’ve changed as they respond to products and services. The latter part the book enlightens the reader on persuasion architecture and how to use it to influence customers. The book closes with a chapter on getting started with persuasion architecture, which, in practice, shrinks the gap between customer and marketer.

What differentiates the authors and the book from others is their treatment of marketing and the Web as one. Too often, marketing and Web design teams don’t work as a unified group and end up banging their heads. Organizations that plan to use the Web to market products or services stand to reap rewards in terms of user actions and higher profits with the advice from the book.

The book comes with a CD containing 80 minutes of the authors in a question and answer session (here’s a clip), the full-text of the book in PDF format, online sales and marketing reports from Shop.org and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), and a $50 credit on Yahoo! Sponsored Search (for new users only). You can read an excerpt from the book.

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? is the right length (240 pages) and avoids heavy-duty or textbook language, which makes for a smooth and easy read. The authors have hit their stride with this one. Those who haven’t read any of the Eisenbergs’ books should start with this one and if there’s room for another, check out Call to Action.

Title: Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing
Author: Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg with Lisa T. Davis
Publisher: Nelson Business
ISBN: 0785218971
Date: June 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Cover Price: USD: $19.99 Amazon: $12.99

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