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Goldman, A. (2010).
Everything I know about marketing I learned from Google. McGraw Hill

The first thing I should say in this review is that I played a very small role in the development of Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google. While researching content for the book, Mr Goldman decided to hold a series of interviews to find out what the leading practitioners of, and commentators on, e-marketing thought of Google, Google's marketing and online marketing in general.

And here is what I think one of the few errors in the book - I am included as one of the 65 people he reached out to. I am extremely flattered - but if you take a quick look down that list, you will see some real gurus.

So, to the book - which is excellent and should be an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone earning a living - or looking to - from digital or contemporary marketing.

A caveat, however, is that I feel it is for the marketer with experience of marketing and an understanding of online marketing. A beginner might find themselves over-whelmed by the names, concepts, practices and theories that are routinely included within the content. This is not a criticism however, it is good to see a book that will appeal to its target market. I'm guessing that somewhere along the line its author must have made the conscious decision not to 'dumb down' the content in order to satisfy a wider market - that would have been a big mistake. This is not an introduction to online marketing [or, if you're in the USA, marketing 101]. It is a book that will help the contemporary marketer be better at their job.

Another thing about the book that appeals to me is that it is written from experience [something that is apparent in Goldman's use of terms such as 'upper-funnel marketing tactics'], not pure research from an 'outsider' [or worse still, an academic who has never practiced this stuff] - though, naturally, much research has gone into the content. Despite the book's title, Mr Goldman obviously knew plenty about marketing before Google even existed.

A result of the 'experience' approach can be an over-load of name dropping. However, the names dropped are the key players in online marketing, and so they serve to add to the validity of the content and the arguments being put forward.

For me, the biggest impact comes in chapters 8, 9 and 10 where the use of data in advertising is covered. That Google is driven by decisions based on data might be comforting to some [like Google's engineers] but to others [like me] effective marketing is as much art as it is science. And what about decisions when there is no data?

And finally, another criticism. Mr Goldman certainly knows his marketing. He also knows marketing in the USA - and this is problematic for non-US readers. For example, in chapter 12 [[on USPs], branding is covered - with illustrations offered. Sadly I could not fully appreciate the points being made as I had not heard of the brands mentioned. Similarly, an exercise using the 'four boxes of branding' was explained using three example brands to make clear the concept - but as I did not know of the brands, the clarity of the concept passed me by somewhat [note: I teach marketing and I struggled with the concept - how would my students fare?].

Once again, however, this should not put anyone off from buying the book - it's just a little niggle for us non-American readers.

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