The End of Marketing as We Know It

The End of Marketing as We Know It

by Sergio Zyman


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Marketing today doesn't work. Or so says the "Aya Cola," Sergio Zyman, former marketing czar of Coca-Cola and quite possibly the most famous marketing gadfly in the world. Brilliant, irascible, unconventional, Zyman is best known for reinventing the Coca-Cola Company's marketing approach by spearheading the global launches of Diet Coke, New Coke, Classic Coke, Fruitopia, and Sprite. Now, in this brisk and revolutionary book, Zyman shows why old approaches to marketing have lost their fizz--and how to get a jump on the strateies that will work in the twenty-first century.

Zyman explores such topics as:

  • Why feel-good marketing is pointless unless it results in sales
  • Why marketing is a science not an art
  • How a well-honed strategy is more important to success than what ads say
  • And much more

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887309830
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/07/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 811,612
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Sergio Zyman was formerly the chief marketing officer at The Coca-Cola Company. As principal of Z, a new consulting company, he has worked with such companies as Microsoft, 7-Eleven, Miller Brewing Company, and Campbells. A highly sought-after speaker, he frequently travels the world to speak to large audiences and has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Fortune. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read an Excerpt

Why Have Marketing?
To Make Money

The sole purpose of marketing is to get more people to buy more of your product, more often, for more money. That's the only reason to spend a single nickel, pfennig, or peso. If your marketing is not delivering consumers to the cash register with their wallets in their hands to buy your product, don't do it.
A lot of marketers laugh when I say that. "Who are you kidding?" they ask. "Marketing isn't meant to sell. That's what sales is for."
Maybe in the old days, marketers could get away with simply bonding with their customers. You know the drill--shoot a commercial, add some soft music, and blow your budget on expensive airtime just to create an image in the consumer's mind. But today that isn't enough. Yes, you need to advertise and create images that you hope customers will like and remember in the store or at the register, but the only reason to spend money on them is if they help you sell more stuff.
A lot of people just don't get it. They are always going into rhapsodies about how a new distribution system, more efficient manufacturing, or an expanded sales force are really going to help the business grow or boost profits. But those aren't the things that produce growth and profits. You don't make any money until you sell the stuff, and you can't sell the stuff until you've gotten people to want it. And that's what marketing does.

Focus on Results, Not Activities
First of all, you have to understand what marketing is. Marketing is not advertising. Marketing isn't shooting commercials in Bali, or having a corner office with two potted palms and an ad agency bowing and scraping at your every whim. Those things may have passed for marketing yesterday. Many people still believe that that is marketing today. These folks may have fooled themselves and their bosses into thinking that spending a lot of money on creative advertising and running it on every television channel and in every newspaper and magazine in the world is marketing. But it's not.
Marketing is not even a combination of advertising and a whole bunch of other stuff added in, such as packaging, and promotions, and market research, and new-product development. Marketers do all those things. Those are marketing tools. But the tools are not marketing. Marketing is using the tools; marketing is deciding what to do and then using the right tools in the best way to get it done.
It's as if you have a hammer, a saw, a box of nails, and some lumber. You still need the carpenter to come in with the thinking and the skills to build you a table, and you need to decide if what you want to build is a table, or a chair. Marketing is a strategic activity and a discipline focused on the endgame of getting more consumers to buy your product more often so that your company makes more money. It is not just a collection of tasks that somebody has got to get done.
It is important to recognize this, because once you understand that the strategy is a key element in what you are supposed to be doing, it is going to change how you go about performing the tasks. When you think that your job is just about doing the tasks, then that is all you are going to do. If you are only task oriented, you'll think, "I've got to run five promotions, do six series of focus groups, and develop two ad campaigns this year" and you'll think you're doing your job--when you have really only done a few tasks.
The job of marketing is to sell lots of stuff and to make lots of money. It is to get more people to buy more of your products, more often, at higher prices. You're going to continue to hear that little mantra a lot in this book not because my editor was asleep at the wheel but because, as simple as it sounds, it seems hard for some people to get it into their heads. But that's what it's all about, what it has always been about, and what it will always be about. In fact, although some marketers will tell you it's impossible, the real job of a marketer is to sell everything that a company can profitably make, to be the ultimate stewards of return on investment and assets employed.
Sure, it's possible to sell more stuff if you think your job is just to run promotions. But, when you understand that the goal is selling and not just running the promotions, you end up selling a lot more stuff and making a lot more money because you do a lot more things, and are smarter about how you do them.

Understand That Marketing Is an Investment
When I first returned to The Coca-Cola Company in 1993 and developed the first round of television advertising, as a matter of protocol, I took it into Roberto Goizueta's office and played it for him.
"I don't like those ads," he said.
"Look, Roberto," I replied. "If you're willing to buy a hundred percent of the volume out there worldwide, then I'm happy to do advertising that you like. Otherwise, I've got to keep doing it for those damn consumers."
Of course, he got the point immediately. Moreover, from that point on, he told me, "Just show me the results, not the ads."
It's all about results. Just as Roberto wasn't the target audience of the ads I was showing him, seldom are you the target audience for yours. The marketer who insists that marketing is an art and says things like "you don't understand, I am the genius, I and only I (and my advertising agency, of course) understand my art. And, by the way, you can't measure it either" is done for. Marketing has to be tested and measured just like any other investment.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Smashing the Black Box
Chapter 1: Why Have Marketing? To Make Money
Chapter 2: Without Strategies, You Aren't Going Anywhere
Chapter 3: Marketing Is Science
Chapter 4: Positioning Is a Two-Way Street
Chapter 5: What Do Bill Clinton, Princess Di, and Ramadan Have to Do with Selling Stuff?
Chapter 6: What Jerry Seinfeld Can Teach You About Marketing
Chapter 7: Fish Where the Fish Are
Chapter 8: Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow
Chapter 9: Don't Count People - Count Results
Chapter 10: I Like Ad Agencies - And Some of Them Even Like Me
Conclusion: Traditional Marketing is Not Dying It's Dead
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

Dan Wieden

Nothing moves forward as long as people are comfortable. Sergio Zyman has single-handedly driven whole legions of professionals to the brink, forced them to rethink strategy, tactics, relationships ...the fundamental underpinning of 20th century marketing. God love the hellraiser. -- (Dan Wieden, CEO, CCO, Wieden & Kennedy)

Dick Ebersol

Here’s a great marketing tip...Buy this book, written by the ultimate master. No marketer can live without it. -- (Dick Ebersol, President, NBC Sports)

Warren Bennis

What can I say about Sergio Zyman? He’s a genius; that’s all. And this book will tell you why. -- (Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader, University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, USC Marshall School of Business)

Jay Chiat

This is a book that’s sometimes arrogant, occasionally profane, usually profound and always entertaining . . . just like Sergio. If you read it and learn its lessons, you’ll become a high voltage, successful marketer . . . just like Sergio. --(Jay Chiat, founder, Chiat/Day Advertising)

Charles R. Schwab

A wizard at marketing discloses his magic. No matter what your industry, you will benefit greatly from Sergio Zyman's out-of-the-box thinking and contemporary concepts. -- (Charles R. Schwab, Chairman, The Charles Schwab Corporation)

Shelly Lazarus

No one is more provocative or passionate on the subject of marketing than Sergio Zyman. I’ve seen him literally mesmerize audiences. Somehow he’s managed to capture all this in The End of Marketing As We Know It. It teaches as much as any textbook ever could, but does so in a remarkably entertaining way. You don’t realize, until you’re finished, that you are now much smarter about marketing. It’s vintage Sergio. -- (Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide)

John F. Cooke

This book is not simply about marketing; it is about how to choose the right objectives and achieve them and how to successfully build a business. No matter what industry you’re in, Zyman’s book is a must read! -- (John F. Cooke, Executive Vice President, the Walt Disney Company)

David J. Stern

The End of Marketing As We Know It is typical Zyman--brash, compelling, and eminently practical. I found myself using several of its conclusions and insights at staff meetings and presentations--of course, without crediting Sergio. -- (David J. Stern, Commissioner, National Basketball Association)

Bob Garfield

Always insightful, always provocative and (almost) always right, the irrepressible Sergio Zyman mined his experience at a certain coca-colossus to write a marketing book, a management how-to, and a cola-war memoir all in one. -- (Bob Garfield, columnist, Advertising Age)

Patrick R. Fallon

Sergio Zyman’s voice is powerful. So are his insights. He never fails to challenge, inspire, or teach. The End of Marketing as We Know It is like being in a conversation with Sergio-without the fear of being assaulted. It is a must read for anyone who values achieving results in a highly competitive marketplace. -- (Patrick R. Fallon, Chairman, Fallon McElligott)


An Interview with Sergio Zyman

Why have marketing? For no other reason than to make money, says former Coca-Cola marketing chief Sergio Zyman in his new book The End Of Marketing As We Know It. Zyman recently took some time to talk to business editor Amy Lambo about why the craft of marketing is as mysterious and artistic as finance, and why marketing, as most of us know it, is dead.

barnesandnoble.comAdvertising Age recently published a list of the greatest advertising campaigns of the century. If you were compiling such a list, what would your criteria for it be, and what campaigns would top your list?

Sergio ZymanDid it sell product? Did it elect a candidate? Did it make people actually want to go out and buy stuff? Everything else is irrelevant. Which campaigns? "Are you better off now than four years ago?" from Reagan. Volkswagen then and Volkswagen now. The introduction of New Coke. Broiling vs. frying from Burger King. The Pepsi challenge. In your new book, you discuss many products that were seemingly failures and then argue that they really were a means to greater successes. Tab Clear, OK Soda, and of course, New Coke. Explain how these product failures were really marketing winners.

Sergio ZymanWhat happened with New Coke...everyone thought we ended up with a major failure, but not really. We had two launches. We introduced New Coke, then introduced Coca-Cola Classic -- we didn't reintroduce the old Coca-Cola because it wasn't working to grow the business. We found out in 77 days that this New Coke wasn't going to cut it. Then we went out and created this whole new brand called Coca-Cola Classic and introduced that. Instead of restaging and reformulation and re- re- re-, we used the iconography that made the brand successful in the beginning but actually launched an entirely new brand.

With Tab Clear, I was asked as a consultant, "What do you think of this Crystal Pepsi thing?" I said, "You know, this just doesn't make sense to me." One of the critical determinants of cola is darkness. One of the criteria of Crystal Pepsi was it was associated more with lightness and low-calorie brands, so I came up with the idea to launch Tab Clear. We managed the P&L really well because we knew it was going to die and had no future. We forced Pepsi to take Van Halen to launch Crystal Pepsi and spend a ton of money. Before they knew it, both of us had dead brands. How can marketers learn from the basic business practices of the entrepreneur who owns the corner deli?

Sergio ZymanI think that in every business that exists today, people have built these black boxes to justify their existence. People don't have a contribution to make to speak of, so they build a fence around themselves and say, "I'm the only guy who can do this, and I have this special recipe for something or other." People lose sight of the fact that in any business, you're supposed to invest money and assets and put those assets to work to make more money. You have to get income from wages and income from capital. The guy that opens up a vegetable stand or sells pretzels on the corner in New York, he gets it. He gets up in the morning and goes out with the objective of making more money out of what he's investing that morning. He will never have in that little cart anything that is not going to sell. In business we have gotten so sophisticated with these long cycles, and we just allow failure on top of failure to occur. We haven't figured out that anybody has to be measured by their ability to increase value out of shareholders' money. You can get so into the idea of the product, but who cares? It doesn't make any sense, and it's never going to make any money. I try to ground my thinking and my arguments on the realities. Making sure people identify with my principles in very basic terms. If I start talking with models with arrows and with circles, I'm going to lose a lot of people. You also advise business people to watch the world, not just the market. Explain why that's important.

Sergio ZymanIf I observe you as a consumer and how you are behaving in general terms, I have to know what is affecting your lifestyle. You can use the example of what's going on now for us. How come people are not involved at all in the Kosovo deal? When I hear that people in America are not interested in what's going on over there, I come to the conclusion that there is something more going on there. It deals with prosperity, and how people don't want to hear anything that's not positive in a time when the economy is in great shape. That is something that is affecting the psyche of people. Also, I recently read that George W. Bush had raised in one week more campaign funds than any other politician has raised in three months without a single fund-raiser or dinner. That says to me that people are very interested in having a Republican president. You have to ask, "How will these things affect how I tell people about my product?" In this multimedia age, how do you as a marketer deal with the fact that consumer attention is being dispersed among so many new forms of media?

Sergio ZymanIt brings up even more the point of The End Of Marketing As We Know It. You have to think anew every day about what you need to do to go talk to your consumers. There are 500 channels, but how many do you watch? I probably watch five. I remember many years ago in the beer business I found out that people in Middle America frequent five outlets -- two supermarkets, one store, and two restaurants. It makes even clearer the point that what you need to do is be clear about what your product is and recognize that the consumer is confused and needs a more targeted message. How are you going to market your own book?

Sergio ZymanI'm going to go on a ten-city tour. And I'm going to launch "" What's teomawki? It's not a magical herb. It's an acronym for The End Of Marketing As We Know It.

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3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many marketing books and Sergio Zyman is by far, second-to-none, the most insightful and well thought out marketing strategist I've yet come across. Sergio presents his logic and reasoning behind his beliefs which gives the reader a better understanding of why. The book is fascinating. Sergio's humor in the book is outstanding and had me laughing out loud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does not offer any new Marketing insights. And there are some situations which are grossly oversimplifications of the reality. For example the direct link that is being made between advertising copy and salesresults.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Zyman challenges and demystifies Madison Avenue. Small company owners will feel empowered to TAKE ACTION and overcome traditional marketing techniques or lack thereof due to typical excuses: 'We're not Coke', 'We don't have the budget', 'that's only for Fortune 500 companies'. I look forward to Zyman's future writings; a chat on Marketing with him wouldn't be bad either! Why 4 stars, not 5? According to Zyman's there's always room for improvement.