Independent Thinking Blog

How Marketing Is Like Well-Structured Theatre in the Round

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 when talking with a colleague about Marketing in the Round. In the introduction, authors Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston 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 authors are on a mission to help businesses refocus on how to connect with their audiences. 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.

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 resource 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.

You can read my complete book review here.

Photo by Praktyczny Przewodnik (Flickr).

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 swag.

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