- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (January 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0688148360
- ISBN-13: 978-0688148362
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,993,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Predatory Marketing: What Everyone in Business Needs to Know to Win Today's American Consumer Hardcover – January 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
Beemer used his knowledge as a campaign manager reading and interpreting polls to become founder and CEO of America's Research Group, which conducts surveys on consumer and corporate behavior. In this work, he intends "to inform you of ways to find out more about your customer, your competition's customers, and trends in the marketplace." He offers numerous practical examples of how to plan a marketing strategy, contending that a predatory approach is needed to increase market share. By attacking a competitor's strengths, it is possible to take customers away. Beemer also details how to implement a market strategy and how to be a "niche player." Although many books have been written about company marketing (e.g., Jill Griffin's Customer Loyalty, LJ 1/95), this one emphasizes using customer information to make decisions. For business collections.?Kathy Shimpock-Vieweg, Muchmore & Wallwork Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Both Beemer's choice of adjective for his title and his smooth transition from managing political campaigns to marketing will confirm the worst suspicions of those who hold the practices of politics and of marketing in low regard. But Beemer's "marketing" is not so much ferocious or savage as it is proactive and preemptive. Beemer claims there is no such thing as a perfect marketing campaign; every marketing strategy is doomed to fail as competitors copy and improve it. The solution is to update and revise tactics constantly. By knowing how to spot and analyze trends, the marketer can do this successfully. Beemer heads America's Research Group, which conducts surveys of consumer and corporate behavior, and throughout his book he uses examples of his company's findings to bolster his points. David Rouse
About the Author
In 1979, after a successful career in managing political campaigns, Britt Beemer founded America's Research Group, a full-service consumer behavior research firm. Recognized as a premier marketing strategist, Beemer has gained national acclaim for his work on how, when and why consumers select their products and services. His client list encompasses many industries, including home furnishing, appliances and electronic, financial services, mass retailing, manufacturers and others. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, Barron's Magazine, CNN Business Morning, Reuters Television, CBS Morning News, US News and World Report, and many others.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From Chapter One, What the Numbers Tell
Some businesspeople think the most important numbers to a business are those that appear in its financial statement. Often the bean counters think these are the only numbers that matter. So it's no wonder that when I meet with new clients, the first thing many of them do is hand me their financial reports. While I don't want to minimize the significance of a P&L, I believe a weak financial statement is a symptom, not the cause, of a company in trouble. It bothers me to see investment analysts forecasting a company's future based simply on what's reported in its financial statements. Those numbers are a faint reflection in the mirror but don't adequately project a company's image. Some other important numbers that financial wizards frequently overlook aren't found in a financial statement and don't even get mentioned in the annual report. These include the number of people who shop your competitor's store before they shop your store, how frequently consumers shop, how much time they expect to spend making their buying decisions -- the list goes on and on. Very few businesspeople are aware that these numbers exist; those who are often make the mistake of ignoring them. On the surface, these numbers appear insignificant, but in my opinion, are the heart and soul of a company. I place a high value on them because when you carefully analyze them, they reveal a company's past, its present, and most important, its future.
Certain numbers in particular have a lot to do with customers. America's Research Group, my company, conducts extensive surveys, which reveal valuable information about consumers. Instead of focusing on individuals, we develop a profile of a customer. It is only in this sense -- for analytical purposes -- that we think of people in terms of numbers. However, we do not condone treating anybody like a number. Never!
For the record, it is imperative that every business manager and entrepreneur understand what the numbers tell about the consumer. Our clients who use this information as instructed enjoy a 95 percent probability of making the most profitable decisions.
In my field, for the numbers to get these results, the following conditions are required: (1) A survey must be conducted of the right people. (2) The right questions must be asked. And (3) The responses must be accurately analyzed. For the past eighteen years, I have conducted market research for a living. Over the years, through trial and error, I've ironed out all the kinks. More than three million people have been interviewed by my firm, and with this much experience, I've now got it down pat. By conducting a seventeen-to-thirty-minute interview with the right number of interviewees and encouraging more than just yes-or-no answers, we determine what motivates consumers to behave the way they do. It's not an exact science. Still, our high rate of accuracy makes it foolish for anyone not to follow our recommendations. What the numbers tell us, or more specifically, what the answers reveal about my clients' customers as well as their competitors' customers, is vital information in today's highly competitive marketplace. Without this essential knowledge, the future of a business is in jeopardy.
Early in my career, I had the good fortune to meet George Gallup, Sr., undoubtedly one of the world's most renowned pollsters. His advice has since significantly influenced my career. During one meeting, Gallup stressed: "Be sure your research reveals answers that are actionable." He emphasized, "If you can't tell your client what to do with your research, Britt, you've failed." So you see, numbers alone don't amount to a hill of beans. It's knowing how to follow up on what they tell you that counts.
As Gallup instructed me, my job is to make people aware of what their customers really think and have them act on that knowledge quickly. To react scientifically, a client must adopt a plan that is uncontaminated by personal opinion. When a client understands that research is not an enemy but, instead, a framework on which successful daily decisions can be based, then I know I'm doing my job properly.
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Make them all the prey to your predator of marketing!
The title of Predatory Marketing is somewhat misleading. it really does not suggest strategies to "win today's customers" which require what the word "predator" denotes or even suggests. On the contrary, the advice offered is highly ethical as well as immensely practical. Many of the suggestions have previously been offered by others. Nonetheless, reminders of key points can often have substantial value.
One of the book's greatest benefits consists of a series of ten "Consumer Mind Reader" analyses of trends as well as tendencies which reveal consumer preferences are as well as the reasons for them. Another substantial benefit is derived from a series of check-lists and multi-step sequences which suggest how to implement the information provided.
Marketing either creates or increases demand for whatever one offers. For those whose organizations compete in a flat or declining marketplace, only increasing share will enable them to achieve sybstantial growth. Leaders of these organizations will probably derive the greatest benefit from Predatory Marketing.
As Jeffrey Gitomer correctly suggests, "customer satisfaction" occurs on a transaction basis. One bad experience and the customer is gone...perhaps forever. "Customer loyalty" must be earned over time so that, when a customer has a bad experience, the relationship with that customer is not necessarily destroyed.
Predatory Marketing places great emphasis on a thorough understanding of both current and prospective customers. Such understanding is even more important, obviously, when attempting to "capture" customers from competitors. Reading Predatory Marketing will assist such initiatives.
This book clearly defines how customers evaluate retail establishments and how businesses evaluate suppliers. This, along with surveys will help you keep your customers.
The meat of this book is on how to get your competitor's customers and increase your market share. The attack is non-intuitive. It has to do with attacking the competition's strengths, not their weaknesses. The subject matter of this book is covered well and flows nicely.
The basic premise of the book is that to gain market share, marketers must steal customers from their competitors. Beemer backs up this premise with some compelling research showing trends such as:
- In 1980, the average consumer expected to visit 3.5 stores before purchasing an appliance or electronics item. In 1990, the number was down to 2.8, and in 1995, it was down to 2.1.
- He asked consumers if any store came to mind first in a series of different categories. In 1983 38% or respondents said no. In 1996, that number was down to 6%, indicating that the number of consumers without a preference, or 'up for grabs' was ¼ of what it was in 1983.
As you can tell from the statistics cited, Beemer's main experience and area of expertise is retail marketing. He offers dozens of anecdotes from his work with retailers all across the country. He mentions other kinds of marketing here and there, but it is clear that he doesn't have the same depth of data or experience. For example, in discussing a survey about the importance of a knowledgeable sales person, he says 'While our study was limited to retailing, I believe this thinking applies also to non retailing industries'.
However, the biggest disappointment in the book is from the lack of depth in the examples and case studies. Never is a case study or example more than a single page, and often they are only a paragraph or two. Countless times I was left wanting more detail or more information. In a number of cases, the examples he cites aren't even on target for the topic he was discussing. The worst offender in this realm was an example in his chapter on niche marketing.. Through the chapter, he offers some good advice for niche players, then at the end he says 'There is still another problem that a niche player faces: He may be so focused that he can't see the forest for the trees.' Then he launches into a story about a long standing retailer that was having a very difficult time attracting new clients. Ultimately they found that the reason was that in the 10 years he had been in business, a tree grew over and covered the store sign. After the tree was removed, business picked up dramatically. Very amusing, but what does this have to do with niche marketing? It was as if he had an anecdote, and decided he needed to use it somewhere.
I found three chapters in this book to be of particular interest. In chapter 1, he lays out the importance of research, and some guidelines for doing research right. He cites several examples of business executives who were convinced that they knew their businesses, only to be proved wrong by the consumer. He makes a compelling case that asking your customers isn't enough, since people tend to avoid confrontation, they won't tell you what's wrong. However, a skilled researcher can get to a customer's true concerns and opinions.
In chapter 7, he lays out the 'Predatory Marketing' strategy. This strategy comes from his basic premise that in order to get new customers, you must take them away from your competitors. The methods he suggests for doing this tend to be superior value, service, and selection. He goes into a fair level of detail about what he means by each of these.
Finally, in chapter 10 he wraps up with the prevailing theme of the book, that 'Every marketing plan will ultimately fail.' Even successful marketing plans fail because conditions change. Competitors change their strategies, new competitors emerge, customers' tastes change, and new technologies make products or strategies obsolete. Indeed, as Beemer points out, 'The only constant is change.' I found this statement sobering to say the least. Even so, he points out that if you are armed with this knowledge, you can anticipate change and respond to it. Your strategies and tactics will have to change as conditions change in order for you to stay successful.
Should you buy this book? If you are a retailer, or closely connected with retail trade, you will get some valuable information and insight. If you are doing other kinds of marketing, you can still get some interesting perspectives from this book, but you should probably treat it more as a 'skim' focusing on chapters 1, 7, and 10, then as a 'read', and put this one on your "optional" list.