Youtility – Book Review

By: Jay Baer

The Evolution of Marketing:

Acknowledging the significant changes in marketing over the past few years, Jay Baer emphasizes the shift from traditional top-of-mind awareness strategies to the current challenge of reaching scattered audiences who are harder to engage. Baer proposes two choices for businesses: being disproportionately amazing, interesting, human, wacky, or timely (though difficult), or adopting a more practical approach—stop trying to be amazing and start being useful.

Youtility Strategy #1: Self-Serve Information: 

Baer introduces the concept of Youtility, focusing on being genuinely helpful to customers. He shares the story of River Pools and Spa, a business that thrived during the recession by answering customer questions through blog posts, significantly increasing website traffic and lead generation. The strategy involves identifying customer needs, utilizing tools like Google Trends, autocomplete searches, and social media monitoring, and, importantly, engaging with customers directly to understand their concerns.

Implementation Step #1: Identify Customer Needs:

Baer provides tools and techniques to identify customer needs, such as using Google Trends, autocomplete searches, analyzing paid search advertising terms, and monitoring social media. He emphasizes the importance of getting out of the office and directly asking customers how businesses can be helpful. An example from CoachSmart illustrates how understanding customer needs led to app features addressing specific concerns raised by coaches.

Implementation Step #2: Market Your Marketing: 

Baer challenges the assumption that creating useful content is enough and stresses the need to actively market Youtility. Suggestions include featuring Youtility prominently on the main website, sharing it with employees for network dissemination, incorporating it into email marketing, and reaching out to influential individuals in the industry for sharing. The key is to recognize that Youtility marketing requires promotion to effectively reach and benefit the target audience.


Jay Baer’s insights highlight the transformation in marketing strategies, advocating for a shift from being simply amazing to being genuinely useful. The Youtility strategy emphasizes self-serve information, identifying customer needs, and actively marketing the utility provided. The case study of River Pools and Spa exemplifies the success achievable by prioritizing customer concerns. Overall, Baer’s approach offers a pragmatic framework for businesses navigating the evolving landscape of customer engagement in the modern era. Onwards and upwards.

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