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Prove It before You Promote It: How to Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing Hardcover – November 10, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0470381182 ISBN-10: 0470381183 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470381183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470381182
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,544,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

We humans find it difficult to admit mistakes. Even worse, the more time, effort, or money we have invested in a mistake, the more difficult it becomes for us to acknowledge the mistake and change course for the better. This is just as true for marketers as it is for everyone else. Whether we're hanging on to stocks that are tanking or pumping money into marketing campaigns that don't work, we have a hard time giving up on our bad ideas.

In Prove It Before You Promote It, branding and marketing expert Steve Cuno combines hard science and marketing best practices to help marketers avoid bad ideas and losing campaigns in the first place. Cuno questions the long-lived marketing belief in the power of gut intuition and shows marketers how to make better, evidence-based decisions—even when making emotional appeals to customers. Drawing on actual case studies and real science, Cuno challenges the conventional wisdom and offers rational, workable solutions for marketing problems.

Every marketer knows that consumers base many, if not most, of their purchasing decisions on emotion rather than rational thought—but marketers needn't fall into that trap themselves. Prove It Before You Promote It draws upon neurology, biology, psychology, cognitive science, probability, and evolutionary psychology to protect marketers from hidden, costly cognitive traps that beset the marketing industry. And it reveals how marketers can apply the scientific method to their own campaigns in order to accurately and reliably predict outcomes—before investing big dollars in them.

Creativity is vital in marketing, but it takes solid science to put that creativity to best use. Marketing can and should be brought into the realm of measurable science. Marketing is a measurable science, and this book proves it. It shows you how to spot and avoid cognitive mistakes and apply scientific criteria to your marketing plans in order to chart a smarter, more effective course.

Even for marketers who truly believe in the power of pure creativity and gut intuition, this book is a must-read. Prove It Before You Promote It shows anyone how to apply science to marketing in order to enhance creativity and trade intuition for sound judgment. Want proof? Look inside.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Prove It Before You Promote It

"Prove It Before You Promote It shows how to spot and avoid thinking traps, take a critical look at the evidence, and apply scientific criteria to the charting of an intelligent course. The more marketers—or, for that matter, people in general—learn to do that, the better off we'll all be. Your challenge awaits. Read this book if you dare."
—Dr. Michael Shermer, Executive Director, Skeptics Society; Contributing Editor and monthly columnist, Scientific American; bestselling author of The Mind of the Market, The Science of Good and Evil, and Science Friction

"Prove It Before You Promote It will inform you, entertain you, challenge your assumptions, even infuriate you. Read this book, and I guarantee you will never approach research and marketing in quite the same way again."
— Brian Rasmussen, Managing Director, R&R Partners, creators of the famous Las Vegas campaign "What happens here stays here"

"At last—a practical way to know, once and for all, what your advertising dollar buys. It's about time someone wrote this book. Ignore it at your peril."
—Adrian Gostick, author of the New York Times bestseller The Carrot Principle

"Cuno challenges the conventions of the advertising business with every turn of the page. In fact, this book passes the same test as a great ad; you either like it or dislike it, but you certainly won't feel neutral about it."
—Tim Williams, President, Ignition Consulting Group, bestselling author of Take a Stand for Your Brand


More About the Author

Steve Cuno is the as-told-to author of Joanne Hanks' new book "It's Not About the Sex My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife." He is the founder of the RESPONSE Agency, a marketing and advertising firm in Salt Lake City. His articles have been published internationally. Steve is also the author of the book "Prove It Before You Promote It: How to Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing." He is a popular speaker at conventions and seminars. In his spare time, Steve enjoys reading, writing, critical thinking, cycling, forcing people to look at photos of his grandchildren, and spending quality time with his grand piano.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Ackerman on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's about time someone told it like it is and Steve Cuno does in this book. Cuno is right on in his charge that too many marketers rely on their guts and spend too little time worrying about their customers' guts. That's what really counts. His case for marketing research and testing and tracking the results of your advertising would save the country. That is no exaggeration. Stupid marketing and advertising costs this nation billions, if not trillions a year. Stupid marketing and advertising is at least partially to blame for the downfall of the big automakers, for just one example.

While the "smart people" talk about focus groups and surveys, Cuno talks about testing and tracking actual consumer behavior to determine what they DO, not what they say they might do.

As a marketer myself, a direct response marketer, who lives and dies by the numbers, I believe in the case for smart, proven marketing that Cuno lays out in this book.

The book is well written, entertaining, provocative, and well researched.

If you have anything to do with the marketing, advertising and sales processes of your company, product or service, I strongly suggest you get this book and read it more than once. And if you have a boss, get him a copy too.
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Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. Although it's not a particularly long book, it was pretty well written and easy to read. I enjoyed the fact that each chapter had a summary at the end that clearly identified what was covered. They were bulleted, too.

The message of the book is that marketing efforts should not be used on a trial and error basis when it comes to generating sales. There are proven tools and techniques available to the marketing professional (or small business owner) that will generate sales and not be a waste of time and money. And there are also ways to strategize, test, and implement unproven marketing tools and techniques so that waste of time and money is minimized.

The author seems to think that marketing professionals generally speaking work by the seat of their pants. He points out that too many use old methods that no longer produce good sales results. And when these old timers are asked if there is any proof that such tools and techniques actually work their response is: "It has worked in the past, so it must still work now." What the author proposes is that marketing professionals start applying the scientific method of research to their marketing efforts. And I think this advice is right on point. Don't just do as the Romans do.

However, I would have liked the book better if Chapter 7 were to be rewritten. I found it to be beating around the bush, and a little wordy. I wish the author had just said that experts can be very helpful, but that they should not be depended on. They should be used as an advisor from whom you can decide to accept or reject their advice. The burden of determining the veracity of what they speak rests fully on you as the marketing professional or small business owner. Your critical analysis is key!
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By Shawn Arora on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The premise of the book it a good one -- marketing should be subjected to the rigour of scientific testing, and those strategies / tactics that prove results should be used and taken forward. But the problem is that the author spends VERY little time talking about this. He spends about 95% of the book talking about why gut intuition shouldn't be followed, why you shouldn't confuse correlation and causation, the role of creativity, the role of experts, the pitfalls of research, how to craft a brand strategy, and other peripheral topics.

If you're clueless about these things, it might be a worthwhile read. If you want to get down to business and find out how to apply the scientific methodology to marketing and hear about how the author has done it in the past, along with what decisions and results came out of it, you won't find it. If that's what you're looking for, this book isn't worth the time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great summary of key principles to the science of marketing. In addition, you'll become a more critical consumer of business books in general.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Franz on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Don't miss the special invitation at the end...

"Though marketers readily admit that their target market doesn't purchase rationally, the trick for marketers is to avoid irrational decision making them when it's their turn to be the customer as they weigh buying into a marketing program." Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer PhD, bestselling author of The Mind of the Marketing, wrote this in the Forward to Steve Cuno's new marketing book, Prove It Before You Promote It: How to Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing by Steve Cuno.

Honestly, I've never heard of Michael Shermer...and I keep my ear to the floor in this arena. As I usually do when something like this happens, I went on the Internet to research who he was. On Wikipedia (hyperlinked), I found Michael -- a 54-year-old man who lives in California. He's an American science writer, historian of science and founder of the Skeptics Society. He is also the editor of Skeptic magazine...devoted to investigating and debunking pseudoscientific and supernatural claims.

Whoa, where have I been? There's a magazine for skeptics? I need to get out more often -- chuckle.

In Michael's Forward, he talks about the sunk-cost fallacy. This fallacy, is about how we make a lot of decisions based on how much we've invested -- its perceived value -- rather than what it's actually worth today or the future. This means we have a tendency to hold onto failing businesses or unsuccessful relationships, even poor marketing campaigns, that aren't working because of what we've already investing in it -- time, money, ego - and don't want to let go of it under any condition because of this investment.

And it's so true.
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