Sunday, March 11, 2007

Book Review: Your Marketing Sucks

Your Marketing Sucks, by Mark Stevens

Billed as "Extreme Marketing," this books is based on one main rule: Every marketing dollar you spend will bring in more than $1 in return.

It's a sound principal, but it may seem simplistic to some, or completely opposed to what they're currently doing and so likely to meet resistance. (It's clear from the amount of time the author spends trying to convince us of this rule, that he thinks it will be.)

Ideas include:

* Don't use your competitors' marketing as a benchmark (you limit yourself to 'improving' their ideas rather than creating your own ideas)

* Cross-sell to consumers (easier and cheaper to keep a customer and add on products or services rather than find new ones)

* Marketing and advertising are not the same thing ("To hell, they are. Advertising means buying space or time to relay a message. It can be important to marketing or irrelevant, depending on the company and its goals.")

* Don't mock infomertials (stop dismissing them as tacky and note how they work)

My favorite tip from Stevens is this:
"If you have an advertising agency that applies for any kind of an award (Clios, whatever), fire them immediately. They shouldn't be in the business to win ego awards for beautiful ads. They should be creating ads that sell. Period! If they talk about building "mind share," fire them immediately as well. That's just another way of saying they'll camouflage their failure to generate sales behind an intellectual smoke screen."
Simplistic ideas, perhaps. But many will find great difficulty not in accepting the reasoning but rather in the implementation of these ideas. It is very easy to say you agree to, stop all marketing if you can't prove it works, use market testing and tracking, create synergy etc., but harder to go into the office and make it all happen. (He does spend one entire chapter on making the commitment to the changes.)

Overall though, Stevens spends more time 'selling' the ideas and the commitment to them than actually helping you take action. Other than evaluating your return on investment (a simple equation which asks, "For every dollar spent, did I make more than a dollar?"), the 'how to' is left to you.

So now you've accepted that you should stop all marketing until it "justifies itself in dollars and cents," and use new approaches created by "thinking outside the box" to "create synergy" ~ now what? It's my opinion that this is an excellent primer, but it leaves you wanting more... more application than lessons; more substance.

The book began with a charming dedication which had made me really eager to read what the author would have to say:
"To the creators of all the cheesy commercials I watched as a kid, which made me bug my mother to buy cereals I detested so that I could win a horse (which I would have hat to be housed on a one-bedroom apartment in Queens). That was marketing!"
But while Mr. Stevens made me grab the book with all the glee of a giddy girl wanting a free pony, by the end I too was unhappy eating the cereal ~ and still without a pony.

I can't say this book isn't worth the read; it is. It's a great source of ideas. But it just didn't deliver all it could have. Your Marketing Sucks is a quick read, which, like its attention grabbing title, is full of catchy lines & neat bullet points. It's a foundation for marketers, which will likely lead to more questions; questions which other books can likely help you answer. My rating: Check Out

Title: Your Marketing Sucks. (Hardcover)
Author: Mark Stevens
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Crown Business; 1ST edition (July 8, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0609609831
ISBN-13: 978-0609609835
The Whore's Book Review Rating System:

Buy It: A must have for your shelf.

Buy It Now: Not only a 'must have,' but so good, you should rush order it.

Check Out: Go to your library and read it. (If it means more than that to you, then you can buy it or put it on your wish list.)

Pass: Not worth your time or money.

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Anonymous Greg said...

Gracie your wisdom never flags. I've not read this book, but from the title and excerpts, I'll go along with your call. Marketing and advertising are too wide a canvas - like sex - to be forced into one small didactic book. One man's meat is another man's poisson, as they say.

March 13, 2007 5:37 AM  

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