"This gem of a book is brimming with anecdotal evidence of advertising strategies gone awry, and full of examples of better plans." —Publishers Weekly



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We are in the muck of a recession. Business is slow. The stock market keeps draining away billions in wealth. Companies are acting from fear. Advisers suggest they increase their marketing, to build share and exploit opportunities in the vacuum created by their competitors' inaction, but they look at you as if you just landed from Pluto. Why? Because they don't really place much value in marketing. Why? Because most of the marketing they have done in the past has failed to meet the acid test˘the only test that counts—to generate more profits than it costs. ROI!ROI!ROI!

Which begs the question: why does most marketing suck? No cold fusion here. Because it falls victim to a series of myths:

Doing any marketing at all, is better than doing nothing
That's crazy. Marketing costs money. Unless the marketing is smart, on point and creates a substantial ROI, marketing is just a way to camouflage the act of throwing thousand dollar bills out the window.

Advertising and marketing are the same.
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. We told one of our retail clients to stop advertising and sales went up (that's unlikely to happen very often, sales rising when you stop advertising, but point made˘sales didn't decline.) Instead of throwing $250,000 out the window, the owner put the money in his pocket.

The best marketing presents a company and/or its products as beautiful or creative or sexy.
Who says? I'll tell you: the ego driven creators of beautiful/creative/sexy marketing. What they won't tell you is that they don't care a whit about ROI. They just want to be told what creative geniuses they are. Some of the best marketing uses (as one aspect of an integrated approach), infomercials with fat, ugly people telling you how they lost 850 pounds taking placebo pills filled with polyester packing material. Art? No. ROI.Yes. Yeah!

Great marketing is dreamed up by highly paid executives who make ads and brochures and websites and then let them loose in the marketplace.
Crazy. That's the way it is often done and that's another reason most marketing sucks. To achieve effective marketing, you must reverse engineer the process so that decisions about what the company needs to market successfully and how it should be created, are made at the point of sale and then traced back to the "geniuses" at HQ. Only a sales person can really tell you what he/she needs to make a sale. Start there!

Salespeople aren't really part of the marketing process.
Nonsense. They are the centerpieces—the big enchiladas. Yes, there is a difference between selling and marketing, but if the marketing process leads to a sales team empowered to close, and the salespeople are schmoozers not closers, sales will be few and far between. Thousand dollar bills out the window! Thousand dollar bills out the window!

With the right training, you can turn non-closers into closers.
Forgetaboutit! You can't train non-salespeople to sell and you can't stop salespeople from selling. Find the latter and pay them well.

Great marketing agencies are the ones who win lots of awards. So choose them.
Okay, if you want to borrow awards to place on your mantel. But if you want sales to grow, go for the award-less agencies that live by the credo: the best marketing is the product of the least expense that results in the highest ROI. (My marketing firm, MSCO (www.msco.com), has won a few awards, I am embarrassed to say. The only one I am proud of, we received from Forbes for creating an ad that motivated more readers to act than any other ad. (Now we don't enter any award contests.)

Good marketing is based on rules.
You should spend x percent of your revenues on marketing. Great direct mail generates an x percent response rate. Hogwash to it all. Every company, every time in history, every product/service/every goal is different: so how can there be universal rules. And if you are told that the best return you can get on direct mail is 1 percent, don't use direct mail. Or seek to generate 10 percent! Rules are for schools. Results are for businesspeople! Great marketing, inspired marketing, can be the most powerful force in growing companies large and small. The great marketers - Bill Gates, Mary Kaye, Tom Watson, Ray Krock, Sam Walton - avoided the myths, avoided marketing that sucks and drove their companies to the mount. You can do the same.