Book Review: Your Marketing Sucks

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Your Marketing Sucks

by Mark Stevens

Crown Business ©2003

235 pages

How to Profit From Extreme Marketing

In his effort to turn lazy marketers into Extreme Marketers, marketing guru Mark Stevens has created a game plan that focuses on helping them make the most of a marketing budget and getting more than a dismally low return on investment. His recipe for Extreme Marketing includes tips for effective branding, creating a unique selling proposition, and creating memorable marketing that drives sales. Stevens writes that playing it safe doesn’t make people fall in love with a product or service, and those who think it does will be left by the wayside as Extreme Marketers use shock value, sex appeal, pathos and humor to lure people to their own offerings.

Why Marketers Fail

Stevens presents numerous examples of how different companies have failed to capture the attention of customers even though they have great products or services. After he explains what each of his examples failed to do, he describes the marketing efforts that would have helped them reach potential customers.

One example is his personal experience with Salomon Smith Barney, a financial services company. Stevens points out the many resources on which the organization should have more effectively capitalized. By failing to connect with its customers through the mail and telephone, he writes that it was missing numerous opportunities that would have brought it millions of dollars in additional revenues. Stevens describes how he called a vice president at the company one day to tell him that his marketing sucks, and how the company took his advice and hired Stevens’ company to help it strengthen its glaring weaknesses.

Lazy Marketers’ Mistakes

According to Stevens, three common mistakes that lazy marketers make are:

Mistake #1: Create a budget first, goals second. (If at all.) The problem with this idea, Stevens explains, is that companies should first figure out how they will use marketing to grow, who will be the target of its marketing campaign, what its message will be, what goals it seeks to achieve, how the campaign will be measured, and how its results will be tested, executed and monitored. Putting a budget before the goals, he writes, is a great way to create a money-wasting marketing plan.

Mistake #2: Be a one-day wonder. Great marketing takes great leadership, so senior management’s involvement, support and commitment is essential. The everyman personality of Dave Thomas was essential in creating the fusion of leader, marketing and company that helped Wendy’s become a fast-food leader in a tough market.

Mistake #3: Delegate. Stevens explains that chief executives should not be hands-off. When they delegate marketing to functionaries who only go through the motions of creating brochures, Web sites, and the like, they can end up losing the alchemy it takes to turn these elements into a powerful sales-building force.

Mistake #4: The gullibility factor. Stevens writes that if a marketing agency tells you marketing is all about image making, fire them. Great marketing generates customer relationships and sales. Anything else is nonsense.

Remain Committed

Marketing leadership, according to Stevens, requires:

• The ability to paint a picture of what the marketing will accomplish.

• The determination to monitor the logistics and measure the results.

• The staying power to remain committed throughout the course of the campaign.

• The willingness to create a tight alignment between the president’s office and the marketing campaign.

Stevens writes that effective marketing is all about being sure that a business is perceived in a compelling manner that provides a powerful competitive advantage and an overwhelming motivation to purchase its products and services. To round out his advice and help companies improve their marketing strategies, he provides a blueprint of a public-relations campaign his firm developed for a company that includes and describes the many facets of a successful action plan. ~

Why We Like ThIs Book

Using plain English and a no-holds-barred approach, Your Marketing Sucks describes what ineffective marketing looks like and offers solutions that can win customers and save money. Mark Stevens minces no words as he delivers a real-world guide to marketing success to those who might have forgotten that ads must sell, and that leaders must firmly grip the reigns of their marketing and fire all lazy marketers. ~

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