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Thursday, September 19, 2019

The End of Marketing As We Know It
by Sergio Zyman, former Chief Marketing Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. New York: HarperCollins, Inc., 1999.

"There's no entitlement granted for past performance or for the fact that someone actually bought the stuff in the past. Putting a commercial on during the Super Bowl is not the answer. You've got to sell it all over again. Fundamentally, what you need to do is connect with consumers." (page xiii)

"In speeches over the last year, I have said many times that the only reason that brands and products exist is because consumers let them exist. As that year has gone by, I have seen a need to reengage the consumer. We are in an era that is getting ever more complicated. More and more we are in a free market, a free market that provides access to many options for consumers, that transfers responsibility to the consumer, that has the consumer clamoring for guidance. They ask, 'please let me know how I should judge whatever it is I need to judge.'"

"The success of companies is, has been, and always will be in the hands of consumers. Reengaging the consumer means that you must go to them and explain why they should do whatever you want them to do, why they should buy the products they're going to buy."

"All this applies to every brand in every market in every segment in every language. Brands are like relationships. Marketing is establishing those relationships, making sure that consumers understand how the product or service is going to make their life significantly better. It's not about developing marketing campaigns for one consumer at a time, but about understanding consumer segmentation. It's understanding that unless you segment your consumers and understand which consumers do what and what turns them on, you won't be able to send the messages you need to send."


"…the era of marketing as we have know it is over, dead, kaput - and most marketers don't realize it." (page xv)


"The way I see marketing in the future - the marketing that has already made me successful and is going to keep making me successful - is a back-to-basics marketing. It is grounded in the old principles of commerce. You spend money to make money." (page xvii)


"Some people found my intensity irritating. They mistook it for aggression. But what the heck? My theory was that when somebody comes in with a good idea, you should challenge him or her, because there's a real good chance they haven't challenged themselves enough, that they aren't yet at the height of their thinking. If you ask them questions and you push them, they will make the idea even better. I also bugged people by paying relentless attention to details. I learned some of this from a former consulting client, Bill Gates. At Microsoft, I named the process, 'push-back,' any idea that was brought to Bill, he'd push back against it…and hard. But it was only to unlock the minds and maximize the ideas of the people who brought them to him." (page xxi)


"There has been a seismic change in consumer markets in the past two decades that I think many people have missed. This is the rise of what I call 'consumer democracy.' What I mean by this is suddenly, thanks to a variety of factors, most notably technology and the development of global markets, consumers have more choices than ever before." (page 101)


"As one company comes up with a unique product, all of its competitors have the ability to very quickly imitate it. So consumers end up with a huge array of basically identical products, or interchangeable commodities. Also, with the proliferation of cable TV channels, the growth of the Internet, and a seemingly endless supply of products and activities available in all shapes and sizes at all hours of the day and nights, people in industrial societies have come to expect and demand an endless variety of consumer products - and more information about these products than was ever before available." (page 102)

"Consumers understand that they have a choice. They understand that there are many things out there that they can choose from in each category, but they have no idea how to decide."


"In the old days, you didn't need to explain this much because there weren't that many choices. Today, and in the future, you need to tell consumer why they should buy, and you need to tell them why they should buy your stuff - every day." (page 104)



"And maybe you are also thinking that you'll just stick with your old ways because they are working for you. If so, I strongly suggest that you think again."

"Old-style marketing is dead. It is as dead as Elvis. Perhaps it handlers have propped it up in a chair. Maybe those who depend on old-style marketing the most - the big advertising agencies and the major television networks - have wired up the cadaver to massive marketing budgets, so they get a flinch or kick out of it every once in a while. But there is no more singing and dancing. The music has died. Marketing as we have known it is over."

"If your retirement party is already on the calendar, there may still be time to cash in your stock options and profit sharing and get out while old-style marketing still has some semblance of life. But it's moldering fast. So if you're planning a career horizon that goes out more than a couple of years, you'd better come up with something new, and do it fast."

"Look around you. The tried and true tactics of the old marketing simply aren't working the way they used to. Like a battery that is dying, they may still generate some juice, but the power is getting weaker and weaker. The same dollar spent on the old tactics doesn't give the return it did five or ten years ago."

"There's lots of evidence."

"Mass advertising has lost its ability to move the masses. Technology has given people many more options than they had in the past and created a consumer democracy. Everybody has a thousand choices for any product they might want to buy, and there are a million different products competing for their wallets. So marketers increasingly need to find ways to speak to customers individually, or in smaller and smaller groups. With so many choices, each customer has many factors that weight in his or her decisions, so marketers have to find the reasons that speak to particular customers' concerns. Old-style, one-size-fits-all mass marketing can't do this."

"In reality, one size has never fit all, but when customers didn't have so many choices, they had to put up with it. Now they don't. No longer can marketers rely on retailing strategies designed to make money by forcing consumers to buy what the marketers want them to buy, when and where the marketers want them to buy it."

"Because old marketing isn't working, every year, earlier and earlier in the marketing year, people are admitting defeat and falling back on 'Plan B,' which is, of course, price promotion. Price promotion is definitely on the rise, and the cost of it is going up. That's because when everyone is cutting prices, you have to cut yours even more. The sale that cost you a dime to get three years ago, now costs a quarter, and still, all you are getting is rented volume that is going away as soon as you stop paying for it."

"Every day you can turn to the newspaper's business pages and learn that another company has succeeded to death. It has sold a lot of stuff and gone broke in the process."