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Simplicity Marketing: End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion Hardcover – October 17, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an age when Crest toothpaste comes in 45 varieties, consumers long for companies that make life easier by reducing choices, claim Cristol, a marketing consultant, and Sealey, a former global marketing director at Coca-Cola. Playing off the four "P"s (product, price, promotion and placement) that many marketers use to hone their strategic thinking, Cristol and Sealey have come up with four "R"s. "Replace" is shorthand for designing a single product to replace two separate ones (e.g., a shampoo that contains a conditioner). "Repackage" means offering products together that were previously available only in separate locations (e.g., a brokerage firm may choose to sell mutual funds provided by its competitors). "Reposition" entails promoting one's product or brand as standing for simplicity itself (e.g., Honda's old slogan, "We make it simple"). "Replenish" is an odd term for "providing a readily available, continuous supply of zero-defect products or services to the existing customer base... [so] the customer only [has] to make the purchase decision once" (e.g., a McDonald's hamburger in Maui tastes exactly like one sold in Maine). While Cristol and Sealey's focus on simplicity is solid, and their four "R"s make for a useful checklist, their anecdotal examples don't always measure up. Proctor & Gamble, which they cite as an example, has been underperforming, and while McDonald's may stand for consistency, as the authors note, the number of choices it now offers is a far cry from the days of plain old hamburgers, fries and a drink. In the end, more detailed case studies of companies that exemplify each of the "R"s would have helped this effort make the grade. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

For years, makers and marketers of consumer goods and services have been offering more and more product varieties as they attempt to target more and more discreet groups of consumers. As Cristol and Sealey report, however, we may have reached a tipping point. Someone wanting to buy Crest toothpaste must now choose among 45 options (tube or pump, gel or paste, etc.); the purchaser of orange juice has 70 choices to make among six different brands. This proliferation of product choices has resulted in "customer overload," and the authors warn "the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress." Cristol is a brand strategy consultant, and Sealey is Coca-Cola's former global marketing director and now a marketing professor. Using dozens of examples from companies that have already successfully begun to simplify, they demonstrate their "4 R's" strategy: replace (substitution and consolidation), repackage (aggregation and integration), reposition (simplifying the customer "brandscape"), and replenish (continuous supply, zero defects, and competitive price). David Rouse
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684859181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684859187
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,569,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lynn B. Upshaw on October 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Simplicity Marketing is a book that should have a mandatory place on every brand marketer's bookshelf. But it won't stay on the shelf long. . .it's too valuable as a guide on how to sell in the 21st century.
Steven Cristol and Peter Sealey have blended insightful brand concepts with street-smart practicality and devised a brilliantly straightforward methodology that is likely to become the weapon of choice for all brand marketers, regardless of the industry in which they compete. The Four R's is literally a formula for success, and an antidote at last for the confusion (among both buyers and sellers) brought about by overchoice and clutter in the marketplace. Just as valuable as the specific cases are the questions raised that should give pause to every marketer who may be shepherding an unnecessarily complex set of brand offerings.
Above all, Simplicity Marketing provides a lens through which smart marketers will view the world in order to rebuild broken brands, or provide accelerated momentum for those on the rise.
-- Lynn Upshaw, brand strategist. Author of Building Brand Identity, and lead author of The Masterbrand Mandate
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lara Gale on October 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There have been a lot of bad books written about marketing especially for technologists. This is the one shinning light in the category.
It is as much a thesis for life as it is for the way you run your marketing and sales worlds. Having read the book twice, once for practical and once for pleasure the book is an excellent combination of examples, ripe for metaphor and theory.
As a head of strategy for a leading e services company this book was well worth my time and the time of all our senior managers. The four "R's" are the best way to simplify a horribly complicated world.
If I could give six stars I would
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Hull on January 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent resource for anyone deeply interested in marketing, considering a new business model, or developing a new product.
Finally, marketing professionals who will intelligently embrace and (with ease) outline "repackaging" and "replenishing" strategies. These sections made the book worth the price for me.
The only drawback(s) with the book (though I gave it a full 5 stars), are the case studies. Too many of the online grocers are performing poorly in the marketplace to rely on them as standards, whether or not their marketing strategies are exciting and workable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lara Gale on October 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There have been a lot of bad books written about marketing especially for technologists. This is the one shinning light in the category.
It is as much a thesis for life as it is for the way you run your marketing and sales worlds. Having read the book twice, once for practical and once for pleasure the book is an excellent combination of examples, ripe for metaphor and theory.
As a head of strategy for a leading e services company this book was well worth my time and the time of all our senior managers. The four "R's" are the best way to simplify a horribly complicated world.
If I could give six stars I would
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