In the year since The End of Marketing as We Know It was published, I have grown more convinced than ever that all of the principles it contains are true and continue to be true.
It's been a year of incredible changes—in economies, companies, management, and earnings. The stock market has been up and down a couple of times, with a huge debacle in the NASDAQ, and the traditional companies have taken a beating, too.
A lot of companies have gotten into trouble over the last year—among them Procter & Gamble, Xerox, and my alma mater, Coca-Cola. Smith Corona went out of business, Singer sewing machines are no longer being made, and every single day we read in the papers about another company that is going to save its way into success by downsizing or reducing expenses.
People ask me what really happened in these companies. What happened is that the CEO or COO, or whoever is running the place, forgot that the only way you make money is by selling more stuff to more people. They forgot about the consumer—the people who are supposed to buy the stuff, or use the stuff, or drive the stuff, or fly the stuff, or type with the stuff. They thought that all they needed to do was assume that demand was going to remain.
Since my book was published in May 1999, I have gotten thousands of e-mails and phone calls from people who say, "Yeah, that's exactly what I've been thinking about. That's exactly what I do." Others thank me for demystifying what some people try endlessly to mystify.
Yet it's remarkable to see, again and again, how little other oeonle reallv understand the principles of marketing and how little they want to apply them. The book has already helped a lot of people—it's been printed eight times and published in nineteen languages. I hope this paperback edition reaches more people. The incredible thing is how much there still is to do. My hope is that the paperback serves to disseminate further principles that have been there forever. They're not mine, these ideas, and I don't believe that you have to reinvent marketing. But you do have to adapt it, and if you do, you will end up a great success.
The End of Marketing as We Know It continues to be my attempt to preach to as many people as possible and to evangelize them about some principles of business practice. You wonder what sound business practices have to do with marketing? You have to remember, as you read through this book, that the role of marketing is to define the strategy that is at the heart of everything an organization does. Marketing defines who you are, what you do, why you do it, and to whom you do it. That means that the real responsibility for marketing belongs to everybody in your organization, not just the marketing folks or the director of marketing.
It's not sufficient just to go and hire somebody and name him chief marketing officer. I actually invented that term when I went back to work for Coke because I wanted to send a message about the importance of marketing. So for me to say that marketing is too important to be left to the marketing guys is almost crazy. But the reality is that everybody has to be part of it and everybody has to understand the job of selling stuff, positioning stuff, and making sure that people buy stuff.
It's everybody's responsibility because marketing is a lot of things:
How the brand is positioned and how its identity is forged.
How the product is designed and produced.
How the product is sold and delivered.
How consumers are serviced.
And all the way down the line to how employees are recruited and compensated.
People continue to argue about whether marketing is all this or whether it is nothing more than a pretty commercial that you put on during the Super Bowl. People ask me whether marketing is supposed to create an image. Of course it has to create an image. There was never any doubt in anyone's mind about that. The question is once you have the image, what are you supposed to do with it? Do you just kind of have it, or do you activate it in order to convince people to buy more stuff for more money so you can make more money and be very successful?
There's no entitlement granted for past performance or for the fact that someone actually bought the stuff in the past. Putting a commercial on during the Super Bowl is not the answer. You've got to sell it all over again. Fundamentally, what you need to do is connect with consumers.
In speeches over the last year, I have said many times that the only reason that brands and products exist is because consumers let them exist. As that year has gone by, I have seen a need to reengage the consumer. We are in an era that is getting ever more complicated. More and more we are in a free market, a free market that provides access to many options for consumers, that transfers responsibility to the consumer, that has the consumer clamoring for guidance. They ask, "please let me know how I should judge whatever it is I need to judge."
The success of companies is, has been, and always will be in the hands of consumers. Reengaging the consumer means that you must go to them and explain why they should do whatever you want them to do, why they should buy the products they're going to buy.
All this applies to every brand in every market in every segment in every language. Brands are like relationships. Marketing is establishing those relationships, making sure that consumers understand how the product or service is going to make their life significantly better. It's not about developing marketing campaigns for one consumer at a time, but about understanding consumer segmentation. It's understanding that unless you segment your consumers and understand which consumers do what and what turns them on, you won't be able to send the messages you need to send. This only works, however, if you practice real marketing, which means that you figure out what consumers want and then you produce a product that meets their desires.
The End of Marketing as We Know It has now become viral. It has actually started affecting other industries. We see this in the end of sponsorships as we knew them, when you went and got the star and assumed that consumers were going to understand why you did it. It's the end of merchandising as we knew it, because merchandising has to do something more than putting the product on the supermarket floor wrapped in pretty paper. It's the end of media as we knew it, because it's not about buying GRPs and frequency, it's about buying media that approaches different consumers in different ways. And finally, it's the end of one-size-fits-all marketing, because all consumers are not created equal.
If you are a business person and picked up this book, if you are a marketing professional and picked up this book, or if you just picked it up because the cover attracted you, remember that you have the responsibility and the obligation to bring marketing to where it belongs as a science, to a place that helps everybody sell more stuff to more people, more often, so they can make more money.
Enjoy the book.
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Remember the New Coke? A disaster, right? Or how about the commercial where "Mean" Joe Greene meets a little kid holding a bottle of Coke? A masterpiece, right? Wrong, on both counts. Sergio Zyman, who was the chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola, will tell you that while the New Coke nose-dived, it--and the subsequent reintroduction of Coke Classic--helped to reconnect people to the soft drink and revitalize a brand that was losing market share to Pepsi. And as for "Mean" Joe Greene, while people loved the ad, it wasn't doing what good marketing should do: sell product, which is what Zyman's book, The End of Marketing As We Know It, is all about.
For Zyman, marketing is not an art, it's a business. "Marketing is a strategic activity and discipline focused on the endgame of getting more consumers to buy your product more often so that your company makes more money." He sees too many marketers who don't understand this point, who are too concerned about projecting image when they should really be focused on producing sales. Zyman peppers the book with stories about various campaigns at Coke as well as assessments of companies that get it, such as Starbucks and Southwest Airlines, to companies that don't, for example, Nissan and Levi's. He believes that the old-style marketing of Madison Avenue is dead, that it no longer has the "ability to move the masses," that in today's "consumer democracy" there are simply too many choices. Instead, marketers will have to focus on sales, conversion rates, targeting customers, and creating value for shareholders. The End of Marketing As We Know It is not a primer on how to do better marketing; rather, it's a reordering of priorities so that good marketing will be done in the first place. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.