How Marketing is Like Well-Structured Theatre in the Round

By Daria Steigman, founder of Steigman Communications, LLC and author of the Independent Thinking Blog.

A few years ago, my local Shakespeare company started experimenting with theatre in the round. The stage and seating were reconfigured, and the first production launched with great fanfare. Then I spent three hours watching the actors from the side.

The director had forgotten about his audience. Companies—Shakespearean or otherwise—do this at their peril.

I was reminded of this the other day when talking with a colleague about Marketing in the Round.*

Authors Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston are on a mission to help businesses refocus on how to connect with their audiences. In the introduction to Marketing in the Round, they write:

Customers—whether they are consumers or B2B—don’t consume singular media types. Most people don’t go home and visit Facebook for three hours. Nor do they singularly listen to the radio during their commute for information. Reality TV is not their only source of entertainment. Instead, customers consume a wide variety of media, fun and professional alike. This jambalaya of information presents the real challenge for marketers.

The book is about reintegrating marketing communications, a concept which a lot of marketers got away from in the last decade as agencies opened up standalone digital shops and companies put their PR, Web, advertising, and other functions into separate departments. The authors provide terrific hands-on information about tools and tactics as well as strategies for bringing everything together in a comprehensive and coordinated approach.

The authors also make the point that while “during a down economy, marketing and the disciplines underneath it are typically the first to go… marketing in the round allows you to become an investment, rather than an expense.”

You may think Marketing in the Round is just another book about marketing. But you would be wrong.

There’s no question that a lot of marketers will learn something reading Marketing in the Round. But Dietrich and Livingston’s book is an equally valuable resources for entrepreneurs and other business owners. The book is about the perils of silos and the need to think first about your business goals and your audience—and to create marketing communications approaches that resonate with the latter in order to achieve the former. And, like the best business books, Marketing in the Round gives the reader actionable steps to make your business better.

*Hat tip to my colleague, Elizabeth Corley, for raising the “theatre in the round” concept during a conversation about the book.

Disclosure: I consider both Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich friends, and Livingston gave me a copy of his book to read. But I only review books I think are worth reading and not because of friendship or free sway.



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