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
Zyman has twice served as head of marketing for Coca-Cola. His message here is as deceptively simple as a Coke jingle. Marketing, Zyman argues, is not about making commercials or creating an image; it is about selling "stuff." Zyman is credited with creating memorable marketing campaigns that helped Coca-Cola double its sales and stock price. He also played a primary role in the "New Coke" debacle, which he can now claim was actually a success because it "revitalized the brand and reattached the public to Coke." At the time, though, he left the company in--in the eyes of many--disgrace. Nonetheless, the company asked him back in 1993. He left again last year because, industry observers suggested, he coveted the position of company president and did not get it. He says he wanted to write a textbook on marketing. This is it, but this is not a textbook in any traditional sense. Neither, though, is it a showcase for Coca-Cola nor a reputation-saving attempt to get his version of events aired. David Rouse
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