Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #9 Youtility

Jay Baer’s Youtility is arguably the greatest contribution to the field of social media marketing since 2012. As an experienced marketer, he demonstrates how friend-of-mine marketing is reshaping our approach to traditional top-of-mind (AFLAC!!) and frame-of-mind marketing (lead nurturing) mindsets where readers can now understand the power of real-time marketing and apps. He also puts some real meat around the bones of topics like content relevancy and usefulness. 

What keeps this book from being number one on the list is the scope of its contribution to an entire MBA curriculum. The book was likely aimed at practitioners needing interpretations of how consumers work in the world of SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) context marketing. 

Youtility ranks as top social media book

Jay Baer as author of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for undergraduate and MBA level courses. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. As one of the most knowledgeable and current experts in the field of social content marketing, Jay builds a convincing argument that success in a social era is more about being “useful” than being “amazing.” 
  2. His friend-of-mine approach to marketing is backed by numerous large and small brand examples of apps that help us in real-time decision making. The spread of examples applied to his concept of “Youtility” build a case for “sideways marketing” (widening the funnel by solving related problems without being opportunistic) that challenges typical sales funnel approaches to content marketing.
  3. This fresh approach to real-time problem solving is now being widely adopted but not well understood or convincing prior to Jay’s book release. Youtility demonstrates very well how branded content used in decision making apps offer the best hope for audience connection while widening the funnel in the process.
  4. Jay uses real life experiences in his travel life to explain many points. The apps used to demonstrate his “Youtility” concept (e.g., Charmin’s Sit or Squat, Clorox’s My Stain, Hilton Suggest, etc.) are well known but previously underestimated as a powerful marketing tool.
  5. Jay’s fun loving personality and fascinating life stories keep your interest cover to cover. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. The book is arguably ahead of its time. When sharing his ideas with other professors, I often get blank stares. We are just now getting accustomed to what Jay refers to as frame-of-mind marketing and concepts like inbound marketing. To build an entire curriculum or course around friend of-mine marketing would, therefore, be a challenge. Instead, I use the book as a framework for approximately 4 hours of class discussion near the start of our MKT 5585 Social Media Marketing  course as a prelude to “social marketing in the modern age.”
  2. Some of the foundational subjects in social content marketing like influence marketing, brand storytelling, native advertising, social business development and community management  would have to be covered in another text. 

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Highly recommended supplementary reading for an undergraduate and MBA course in content marketing or social media marketing. 

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Youtility as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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3 thoughts on “Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #9 Youtility

  1. Thanks so very much for your kind words about Youtility. FYI, I am just starting work on my next full-length book and would love to talk with you about how to make the next one even better (and perhaps more fully suited to MBA classes). Maybe we could grab some Skype time early next year? Shoot me an email at your convenience. Thanks!

  2. Thanks so much Jim. Very kind review, and spot-on in my estimation. I’ve thought a lot about revising the text to create an academic-focused edition. What would you think about that? Would love to chat about it at your convenience.

    1. Jay:
      I would love to chat about it. Your topic is well covered in my classes. Your concepts are very insightful – something missing in many books. To take it to the top may not be difficult. It has the substance but needs help in critical thinking exercises, curriculum fit and topic organization for traditional marketing profs. Jim

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