Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview with Mark Stevens, Marketing Guru

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview with Mark Stevens, Marketing Guru

Article excerpt

Mark Stevens, CEO, leads MSCO, the marketing firm specializing in strategy and integrated marketing solutions. Specialties include digital marketing, social media, business consulting, branding, website design, advertising and product launches. Stevens has advised many of the world's leading companies including Nike, Siemens, IBM, GE and AIG, having served senior management of a wide range of marketing related issues. A bestselling author and popular media commentator (CNBC and Fox Business), Mark shook the marketing establishment with his Business Week bestseller, "Your Marketing Sucks." and more than twenty additional business books including "Your Company Sucks." which identifies the four major reasons why companies fail, and King Icahn, the only biography of the legendary financier. Stevens is also a popular and compelling speaker. Among his major presentations, he has served as a featured presenter at The Wharton School of Business, Siemens Global CEO Conference and The Heritage Foundation.

Your Marketing Sucks, the Businessweek bestseller by author and MSCO CEO Mark Stevens, has been updated and is being re-released in honor of the book's tenth anniversary. In the new edition, Stevens addresses changes in business and marketing over the past decade, updating his marketing blueprint with fresh new content focused on state of the art guidance for building a "wired brand" designed to thrive in the viral era.

"Marketing is always the primary force-the catalyst, driver, tsunami-for propelling the growth of a business," says Stevens. "The problem is, the art and science of marketing is often poorly designed and terribly executed to the point that it just plain sucks. It fails to achieve the only legitimate goal for marketing: to drive a company's growth."

In the latest edition, Stevens guides the reader through the principles of successful, business-building marketing. He exposes one of the great illusions in the business world: spending camouflaged as marketing. In this bold, contrarian's guide, Stevens declares that most marketing is the equivalent of throwing $1,000 bills out the window. It is a wake-up call for managers, executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners in all industries, from insurance to retail, to the harsh realities of how most marketing is done.

Within the book's pages, bedrock principles of extreme marketing are fused with the power of the Internet/social media to deliver exponential results. Stevens presents real-life examples, compelling case studies illustrating the marketing successes and failures of companies such as Ford Motors, Neiman Marcus, CVS, and more.

"Your Marketing Sucks" forces CEOs, boards, directors and managers to take a good look at how the marketing of their companies directly relates to the greatest measure of the business' success: the bottom line.

Faktorovich: You have published a series of books with the word "Sucks" at the end: Your Marketing Sucks (first edition released with Crown Business 2003, and re-released in its 10th edition with CreateSpace in 2014), Your Company Sucks, and Your Management Sucks. You are not alone in this name-calling as some of the top bestsellers in the business category have "Dummies" and "Idiot's" in their titles. Do these denigrating words help sell Self-Help products by criticizing the assumed flaws of the purchaser, making them feel inadequate and in need of the help? Why did you insert "sucks" into the title to begin with? Have you seen any negatives from the use of the word, such as book reviews that say, "No, Your Marketing Book Sucks!" or "No, Your Marketing Business Sucks"? Is this the reason a blurb for the book reads, "Your marketing may suck, but this book doesn't" (Seth Godin)?

Stevens: These are not denigrating words per se but I view them instead as catalysts for action. Let's take the "Your Marketing Sucks." Millions of business people waste billions of dollars on marketing that is thoughtless, lacks strategy and fails to deliver a return on investment. …

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