Rogue marketer Sergio Zyman, former Chief Marketing Officer for Coca Cola, reveals for the first time his philosophy of ‘neo-marketing’.
Sergio Zyman – aka Aya-cola – has just stepped down from being chief marketing officer for Coca Cola. Ten years ago he had the dubious distinction of launching New Coke – one of the best documented and most spectacular marketing failures of all time. But just 79 days later the return of Classic Coke produced the biggest one-year rise ever in the brand’s sales. Zyman learnt – and taught others – important lessons about the emotional bond of consumers to the product. The late Coke CEO, Robert Goizueta said ‘If I could have a New Coke situation every day I would. Absolutely’.
Zyman is flamboyant and controversial, with an appropriately fizzy personality. Last year he received a record salary of $412,000 plus a bonus of $305,000. In The End of Marketing As We Know It he will reveal for the first time his philosophy of marketing, which, he says, is not what everyone thinks it is about. He will offer up his own brand of ‘neo-marketing’ based on the notion that ‘advertising and promotion are supposed to sell more stuff’.
Coke is one of the world’s most powerful and symbolic brands; this account of events there by its chief marketing officer promises to be educational, instructive, controversial and entertaining – a must read for anyone involved in the marketing business.
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Remember the New Coke? A disaster, right? Wrong. 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 revitalise a brand that was losing market share to Pepsi.
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. It is recommended reading. --Harry C. Edwards, Amazon.comReview:
‘A wizard at marketing discloses his magic’
Charles R. Schwab, Chairman, The Charles Swab Corporation
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