Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review for "Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World"

Why this book?

One thing that we can be sure about in today’s market place is that the advertising landscape is changing. The Internet has become an important medium when it comes to reaching out to potential consumers directly. As consumers have allocated an increasing amount of their time to online activities, advertisers have followed them. It is said that advertising online can accomplish all of the objectives commonly tasked to advertising in any media. Brand-building objectives like increasing brand equity, developing brand awareness, improving attitudes towards a brand, increasing brand likeability, differentiating the brand form competitors, minimizing brand self-image incongruence and sales-related objectives like generating trial, improving repeat buying rates, providing pre-purchase information, building customer databases, driving retail site traffic, and providing a path to an online sales function. All that can possibly be accomplished through advertising online. The question simply is if a specific instrument of communicating with consumers online exists that is effective and efficient enough to actually reach the consumer and result in a positive effect or action (increase in brand image, consumer buys the product).

Arguably the most-talked-about trend in the realm of online advertising and branding is the growth and popularity of social communities and the potential to leverage these communities with social-media marketing techniques. So why exactly use social-media marketing? It is due to this question I decided to use Tracy L. Tuten’s book Advertising 2.0 for this book review. Basically, I believed I was able to gain a deeper insight in the idea of social media marketing. How can marketers effectively use the cultural context of social communities, including social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, virtual worlds, social news sites, and social opinion sharing sites, to meet branding and communication objectives?

What is this book about?

Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World is a comprehensive look into thnew models of advertising for business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations. The book highlights specific companies and how through their use of the various modules, they were able to create online relationships with current and prospective customers. The way products/services even brands have been advertised has changed. Tuten introduces the readers to the shifts from one-way directed marketing towards new forms of two-way directed communication efforts. Through the emergence of social networking, virtual worlds, blogs, and online games, marketers and advertisers have been forced to employ new advertising models. She clearly explains that companies must change tactics if they want to compete in 21st century advertising. Tuten urges the thought shift away from advertising being viewed as one-way communication and towards what she calls Brand Engagement. Brand Engagement can occur on many different levels and in many different ways. With Advertising 2.0, Tuten demonstrates best practices from the most popular social media websites while exploring methods that can take a company to the next level. While the book covers what might be considered obvious social media companies such as MySpace, Facebook, Second Life, and YouTube it also has companies consider other means of building online relationships e.g. through the appliance of consumer reviews, brand sponsored alternative reality games, or by considering social news communities, the marketing of a company can create an online word-of-mouth process that becomes viral and is able to grow on its own and promote a product/brand/company. Advertising 2.0 goes way beyond explaining how to run banner ads on Web sites and explore the rapidly burgeoning world of social media marketing. Among other things, Tuten covers viral marketing, doing online research, advertising within online games, and leveraging online opinions to increase sales or grow a brand. She also describes—way out on the leading edge and sure to turn conventional advertising on its head—how smart marketers let consumers generate ad content for products and brands. Nevertheless, the potholes for advertisers using the Web 2.0 are many and deep, and missteps by companies that don’t understand the new rules of advertising in this rather undiscovered platform could lead to loosing time and misspending money. The book Advertising 2.0 ensures that readers understand the many possible advertising options in the Web 2.0 environment.

About the Author

Tracy L. Tuten is Associate Professor of Marketing at Longwood University. The author of over one hundred journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations, her research interests include Web-based survey methods, branding and identity, and online advertising. She serves on the editorial review board for Psychology and Marketing. As a marketing professor and advertising pro Tracy L. Tuten shows old-line marketers how to take advantage of the newfangled concepts and tools enabled by the Web 2.0. Her expertise and ability to understand the connection between advertising and the Internet make her book in intriguing “teacher” of how to understand the value of social media tools for marketing purposes.

Primary Deliverables of the Book

The book gives its reader a basic yet deep understanding of how and why the advertising world is changing. These changes have forced advertisers, ready or not, to employ new advertising models. In the book Tuten outlines the user generated, web 2.0 environments and makes it easy to understand. She describes the advertising, branding, and marketing opportunities available so that advertisers and content publishers understand what is available in the advertising world. She makes the reader clear of the benefits of using social media marketing: It can encourage interaction between consumers and brands. It can enhance perceptions of the brand as a person, therefore giving the opportunity to strengthen a brand’s personality, differentiating a brand from its competitors, and setting the stage for a perceived relationship. It can extend the exposure time for a brand’s message by encouraging interactions that may last longer than the regular spot on television and repeat visits to a company’s/brand’s website. And it is able to enhance opportunities for word-of-mouth communication to other friends and influential people about the brand.

Weaknesses of the book

Although the book is a remarkable milestone for all marketers, educators and communicators who still ask the fundamental question how one can find new ways to connect with consumers today, the book has some issues when it comes to structure. Being defined as a teaching book for the usage of the Web 2.0 as a new marketing tool, the structure of the book sometimes is rather unclear. The outlined chapters in the table of contents do not necessarily enable the reader to find specific information. There are no clear outlines or subchapters, which makes searching for a specific area of interest (within the social media marketing topics of the book) quite challenging.

Although the book is well written and provide it reader with a helpful insight in the possibilities of advertising online, there are a vast numbers of books that cover that area of interest. Books such as Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans, or The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott, or Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business! by Paul Gillin are comparably good and insightful to the issue of marketing towards customers online.

My Recommendation

As the world of advertising/marketing is constantly changing, new books on the issue are also constantly changing and in need of adaptation. Nevertheless, Tracy L. Tuten does present a smart, clear and essential guide to the changing habits and digital needs of contemporary audiences. The book provides its reader with an invaluable overview of the complex social inner workings of the virtual world environment. She offers an array of case studies from leading edge marketers in the space that give the reader key insights into how to navigate these worlds as a thoughtful, inclusive marketing participant. The only problem I see with this book is that it will probably be obsolete within the next couple of years if not months simply due to the fast changing world of the Web and its continuous influence on the changing (or adapting) world of marketing.

A book worth reading though! A must read for all all marketers, educators, students and communicators who still ask that one fundamental question: how can we connect with consumers today?


  1. Although it sounds like you will want to devote the time to read the book thoroghly to gain the information, It sounds like Tuten provides insights on how a business can adapt to the new environment of marketing on the internet. I think that the challenge of current relevence will be a common theme in the books that are selected. Since technology is advancing so quickly I believe it is more important than ever for businesses to have a means to evaluate new technology and a process by which they can change their business to include the technology as quickly as possible.

  2. Referring to the book Advertising 2.0, I believe that in twenty first century anyone working in a business environment must keep themselves up-to-date with new innovating marking, advertising, and technological techniques in order to keep up with our time. Reading through the book description, as Andre commented on how companies can use social media marketing in order to allow their consumers to interact with a brand, reminds me a similar example I encountered in my reading. Toyota has created a virtual car on SL (second life) that is exactly like the Scion that you can buy in real life. They allow the residents on SL to test drive and view the product from the inside, to promote and create a "buzz" about their product. If residence’s like the car, they can go to their nearest dealer and buy the Toyota Scion in their "first life". I believe that marketing in new and unique ways is essential for companies to prosper in the future.

  3. Facebook is amazing!!!

    However, I wish they would quit changing the format of it. The original format was the best. Now even though they are beating the hell out of MySpace they are trying way to hard to be like them.

    Facebook is great! It keeps people connected although... College Students only was the best! Now, your parents can join and stalk you. YIKES!

  4. The thing that I liked about the book is that she didn't just use facebook as an example of a valuable social media marketing tool but exemplified other platforms as well. The importance to adapt to new circumstances these days is inevitable and she really clarifies that.

    I'm just sorry that I couldn't be there to give the presentation for this book in person.