At last week’s 1-up, Andy Nairn recommended during his talk that everyone should read How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp. So I got hold of a copy and have been ploughing through it since then.
It might as well be titled ‘Nearly Everything You Think You Know About Marketing Is Wrong’. It certainly doesn’t hold back from asserting that when it comes to marketing theory, we’ve all got the wrong end of the stick. To be fair, there’s some great sense-checks in there about target audience, reminding us that a small proportion of your brand’s customers will be proper brand loyalists, or will fit your carefully constructed demographic and attitudinal profile, the rest might well be buying shampoo/cola/crisps with very little consideration and even less loyalty.
But that’s my problem with the book – it works best for FMCG brands operating in a hypothetical, academic, textbook marketplace. Quite how the ‘laws’ in the book would work with my recruiting-volunteers-for-clinical-trials client from last year I’m not sure…
So I’d prefer to go with a title like ‘Some Of The Stuff You Assume About Marketing Certain Products In Particular Markets Should Maybe Be Re-evaluated’. But it’s still worth a read, especially if you have to write an effectiveness paper in the near future.