on December 16, 2002
I'm ambivalent about this book. On the one hand, Sergio Zyman was the architect of New Coke, one of the biggest marketing failures of all time. On the other, he has great spin on this by describing the debacle as how Coke "increased the attachment of the American public to Coca-Cola and sold lots more as a result." You be the judge.
Coca-cola's market share has stagnated in recent years, culminating in vast and well publicized layoffs. Additionally, one has to be leery of any business book published in the late 90's in the midst of an economic bubble when business types were treated like some sort of cross between rock stars and popular jocks. I was also skeptical of some of the advice he gives in the book, especially when he describes some of the other failures of the Coca-Cola company, including building massive production and distribution facilities in the old Eastern bloc following the fall of Communism, and then realizing that most of the people didn't have any money to buy cokes - duh.
Finally, I put aside as much of my distaste as I could for large, morally bankrupt corporations like Coca-Cola and read the book to learn something. There are great insights about the function of ad agencies in strategy, marketing and even some nuggets of interesting management ideas. However, the real gems of the information could have been condensed to a pamphlet you could read in 20 minutes. Good editors would have hacked through all the anecdotes about how to play major ad agencies against each other. I suspect that the people who need that kind of information could buy Sergio himself.
By the way, don't agree Coca-Cola is morally bankrupt?
on November 22, 2002
THE END OF MARKETING AS WE KNOW IT. It's a great business book to add to your collection. Firstly - what is it about? Why is Marketing going to die? Well - Sergio Zyman explains (and convinces) that the majority of people in marketing these days believe that the only thing they have to do in order to be successful is to simply be creative. What a joke. That is no business, definetely no part of Sergio's business. Rather, Sergio states that the NEW WAY OF MARKETING will be based 100% on results, and getting people to buy more of your product. Winning an advertising award in your company, or merely, knowing that people in your workplace are saying how creative you are - means nothing. If you don't have a strategy, which is aimed at producing better results than you are currently recording - you really need to pull up your socks and realize; that because of people like you - the end of marketing is approaching... rapidly.
When business' are losing market share, and need to cut back on something - a vast array of business first cut money from their marketing department. THis is completely ludicrous, as the only way to increase market share, is to implement a new, or work on the current, marketing strategy. This book goes beyond what a textbook will teach you about marketing. Throw away those Kotler books, because watch out, this Mexican, who is the former CMO of the Coca-Cola company - convinces that results are the only thing business is about - especially marketing.
I really liked the book. It's not too heavy - thats probably why I liked it. However, one thing I would love to ask Sergio is his views on Marketing being a Science. This is the only thing that should have been expained more in depth. Maybe that can be your next book! He backs this up with nothing much at all other than the fact that you must test, test and test again. And that you have to experiment, measure, analyze, refine, and implement. How does this differ to an art?
But, other than that - I really liked it. Enjoy the read, he is quite a character!! I'm off to read the end of Advertising!
on October 13, 2002
The point of any marketing campaign is to sell more stuff to more people. It's not about winning awards for creativity, it may or may not make people "feel good", it is not a magic box, and it is not something that can be completely outsourced. That, in a nutshell is the gist of "The End of Marketing as We Know It".
This book is really nothing more than common sense (NOT necessarily common practice!), however, if you have been in the advertising/marketing word very long, chances are this book will be a breath of fresh air. In order to sell more stuff to more people, marketing has to focus on positioning and delivering messages that connect with real people, not the CEO or the folks that hand out advertising awards. It's got to show people what's in it for them, why they should buy your stuff, and why they should buy your stuff again, and again.
If you work in an environment that already thinks and work like this, this book may be a waste of your time. If you work in an environment that is developing campaigns for any purpose other than selling more stuff directly or supporting the sales function and making it effortless, this a book you need to read. If you are looking to hire a marketing consultant or an agency and don't know much about marketing, you need to view marketing as an investment in future sales revenue. This book will help you understand and crystallize that for you.
on January 28, 2002
An open letter to my clients and those who should be.
I'm guilty and I'll bet you are too.
As a matter of fact, almost every business is guilty of not demanding results from advertising. We've been lulled into believing that marginal results are not only expected-they're acceptable. It's time to change all that.
I've been producing advertising for a little over 25 years now, and I've come to the conclusion that we've gotten soft. I constantly get requests from clients for advertising, knowing that it's not going to do much to sell anything. And until now, I've frequently been guilty of going along with their request and collecting the checks. (To be perfectly honest, it's pretty easy.)
It's time to change all that.
Sergio Zyman said it best: Advertising and marketing should "sell more stuff to more people more often for higher prices."
I've read all the "big books" on marketing, branding and postioning and while they all have something to say, few of them grab you by the collar and tell you that advertising and marketing have to sell something. Zyman nails it.
While you won't find a lot of fuzzy theory here and it may not lead you to your next consulting gig, this book will cut through the stuff with which we've all grown far too comfortable.
After reading "The End of Marketing as We Know It" I took a major step by refusing to produce advertising that doesn't specifically and intentionally lead to a sale. If you'll be honest with yourself, you'll probably see that you're guilty of getting soft.
Thanks to Zyman, I'm looking for a few clients that will challenge me and allow me to challenge them. Our goal is to produce outstanding advertising that returns measurable results. It's going to be very hard work and require a dogged commitment on each of our parts. Our goal won't be to produce clever, creative, moving, flashy or cute for the sake of "the art." (Although we'll employ any combination of those things to make sure we're attracting the right response from the right people.) We'll focus on results. In the end, we're all going to wonder why we hadn't done it sooner.
Can we do it? I know we can. I've done it over and over on those occasions when businesses and organizations were in trouble and had an urgent need to increase sales, contributions or support.
If you're looking for a flashy agency and someone that will always agree with you, we're not interested. If you're looking for some people that will sweat with you and challenge you as you challenge us-we just might be able to get some things done.
on October 24, 1999
When a colleague handed me a copy of The End of Marketing As We Know It by Sergio Zyman, former chief marketing officer of The Coca-Cola Company, I had two reactions.
One was enthusiasm. I'd learn some things from a real pro and become better at what I do. The second was a wary feeling. Because Zyman is a pro, I was afraid the book would be full of "expert jargon" - over my head, dry, and reading like a textbook.
After reading the book, I'm wholly enthusiastic about it. The End of Marketing As We Know It is a good read - Zyman teaches with plenty of good examples, encourages one to think about one's own experiences and methods, and has an entertaining, conversational tone that keeps the book from becoming dry or "heavy." It's the first book in a very long time that I've wanted to re-read right after finishing it. As someone who writes features for a business magazine and also does PR and advertising, I found Zyman's words relevant and invaluable.
Everyone in business should read this book - and not just the folks in the marketing/advertising department, and not just the big companies. Its content is pertinent to overall business strategy, because it focuses on marketing as a business, or a science - producing measurable results in the form of increased sales rather than merely running some ads that may be appealing and even award-winning but aren't doing anything for the company's bottom line.
Readers will learn why it's important to form a marketing strategy and make regular measurements to test its success. They'll learn ways to position a product - their own and their competitor's - in the minds of consumers. And that continually presenting a brand in fresh and different ways - and in different markets - is essential to keeping sales up. And much more. Whether or not you agree with all of Zyman's methods, this book will definitely make you think and may even rescue you from stale, dead-in-the-water viewpoints about marketing.
on August 20, 1999
If you like tame, feel-good books on marketing, stay away from Sergio. This self-proclaimed myth slayer has adequate credentials (Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, McCann Erickson, and even Pepsi) to vindicate his taunting, irreverent take on conventional marketing. Marketing, he preaches, ought to have just one goal in mind: to push the needle on the consumption meter. The world didn't need one more book to tell us that. Yet in spite of the unmistakable traces of a private agenda -to take a swipe at the Ad industry-- it makes a valuable contribution to marketing and advertising literature that is often too dry, too timid, or devoid of passion. Almost erring on the side of intimidation, his arguments are born of frustration with all things shrink-wrapped and spiral-bound: Marketing is not about shooting expensive commercials in Bali but about selling. Not about imperious PowerPoint presentations and award-winning commercials, but about real consumption. Now who can quarrel with that? Ad Agency people, of course! At least the ones who crossed his path.
He takes to task the Madison Avenue types who perpetrate the notion that image is everything, though his mission is to smash the 'black-box' of marketing magic. He peppers his argument with charming analogies: To illustrate a strategy that he calls 'destination planning', he compares marketing to arriving at an airport to catch a flight. To base one's marketing goals on last year's sales, or the size of some predetermined budget is "like telling the ticket agent that you want to go a hundred miles farther than your last trip, or you want any ticket that costs $122."
Very funny, unless you happen to be one of those 'image consultants' masquerading as ad agencies-precisely whom Zyman says shouldn't be strategizing anyway. Which begs the question: Shouldn't the title have been 'The end of Advertising as we know it'? Aha! But that wouldn't have had the same impact would it? Having said that, it's still a great (as in 'disturbing') book for people who resist radical change. In advertising, that is. Having worked in those trenches before, I highly recommend this book. Even if you're not a Sergio-watcher.
on August 9, 1999
Better Title: "Marketing As It's Always Been and Always Will Be"
All books have one big idea. The rest of the book wraps itself around that idea to provide factual support, anecdotal imagery and meaningful context.
Zyman's big idea is right there in bold text on page 5: "The Marketing Business is Supposed to Make Money." "The End of Marketing As We Know It" from the title is Zyman's plea that marketing no longer be conducted as if it were a black art, one that cannot be measured or scientifically planned.
Marketing as a black art is a hard metaphor to shake. (Sam Wanamaker is attributed with saying something like: "I know that 50% of my advertising is wasting money. I just don't know which 50%." over 50 years ago.)
I don't share Zyman's experience with super-sized corporations such as Coca Cola or Microsoft. But as president of a marketing agency for several years and as an independent marketing consultant for many more, I know that when working with small businesses (and that's businesses from $0 in revenue to $100+ Million), return on investment is always the first thing off the CEO's lips. "How is this going to make us money?"
Marketing is about making money. It always has been.
Every now and then a business will succumb to the siren song of the ad agency that, without much research or experience, asks the CEO or marketing director to "just trust us." Those kind of marketing people make it hard on the rest of us.
You see it's not hard to convince a CEO that marketing is working. At least not when it is.
What is hard is convincing a CEO that an up-front investment must be made before the results occur. And that the investment must be continued until the results arrive.
"The End of Marketing As We Know It?" I don't think so. More like "Marketing As It's Always Been and Always Will Be."
on June 20, 1999
Normally there is a great conflict between business and spirituality, but Sergio Zyman the marketing czar of Coca Cola, solves that conflict by deanthropomorphizing marketing, by demostrating that marketing is a science...Changing your mind is evidence that you are approaching your marketing scientifically...Experimenting, measuring, and revising are what scientists do to find the best solution...In marketing, as in science, understanding the why is the crucial step...People...have to learn to be marketers...because marketers are professionals...and...If you provide the environment in which they can test out their dreams, they are going to be eager, energetic, happy and productive...by defining and redefining yourself, you can constantly move away from your competitors...and then we find again that the new technologies are demostrating in marketing too that we are entering in the area of the individual...So marketers increasingly need to find ways to speak to custumers individually, or in smaller and smaller groups...This is one of those books that can change a whole individual life.
on June 7, 1999
I feel this book does a good job in explaining the concepts of sound marketing but does not go into enough detail on how they should be used. I do agree with the author about the need to develop a sound strategy when selling or marketing a product. The topic then is often not discussed after that point leaving the reader with more questions than answers. This was the case in the following examples.
The book focuses exclusively on consumer products and does not addresss business to business marketing issues. Business to business marketing requires more focus on developing solutions that this book does not address.
The book addresses topics such as the importance of developing sound strategy, the impact of the Internet, and dimensions but then does not into the detail on how a marketing person should use these tools or develop strategies that will increase sales.
The book uses several examples from Coca Cola that talk about the decisions that were made but little about the needs of the marketplace at that time. This gave the book the feel of an autobiography.
I do think that the author has several good ideas but could have benefited from more depth that would provide more explicit answers on these issues.
on May 22, 1999
For about three years in the 1980's I worked very closely with Sergio Zyman when my firm created the packaging graphics for the launch of Diet Coke, New Coke and then Classic Coke. From that day to this, I've always said he was the smartest marketing mind I'd ever encountered. His stunning book The End of Marketing as We Know It, confirms that assessment. Zyman has a radical underlying premise: marketing's goal is to sell products. It's not about image, awareness, share of mind but about getting, to paraphrase what he used to say, "the dogs to eat the dog food." And significantly, continuing to give them more reasons to eat an ever growing amount. Profits are the objective and setting a cohesive scientific strategy is the marketer's responsibility and key to success. The book is vintage Zyman - his personality comes through, a man who refreshingly isn't into hiding who he is. Some will focus on that. Get over it. This is a must read for anyone serious about marketing. If it doesn't get you thinking and, more importantly, acting, it may be time to look for another line of work.