A business book looks at marketing as a tool to expedite company growth.
In this work, Patterson (Marketing Metrics in Action, 2008, etc.) centers her argument on the metaphor of marketing as a wheel driving a business, with key elements (customer insights, segmentation, operations) serving as the spokes. The volume covers each element in its own chapter, explaining why the component matters, offering examples of successful implementation, and demonstrating how it can have a noticeable effect on sales. The author makes an effective case for marketing’s importance within the corporate structure (“Marketing’s primary responsibility is to help the company accelerate growth, create value, and improve performance for the sole purpose of acquiring and retaining profitable customers”) and presents specific examples that give readers concrete ideas for their own implementation. The chapter on customer insights, for instance, includes nearly two dozen questions marketers should be able to answer (“Are there protected niches we can exploit and unique ways we can counter threats?”) while the one on innovation presents the cautionary tale of a videophone that failed in the 1990s, in contrast to the success of similar products in the 2010s. Each chapter concludes with a bulleted list of key takeaways and commentary to guide readers’ application of the material to their own circumstances. The book, while well written, does contain a fair amount of business jargon. The decision to treat “marketing” as a proper noun in these pages (which Patterson makes a lengthy case for) gives the text a quirkiness that may not appeal to all readers, and the wheel metaphor, while strong, is sometimes overdone (“Your axle will be well lubricated and ready to drive you forward”). But on the whole, the industry argot does not obscure the work’s many solid insights, which are based on Patterson’s professional experience and academic research. (A full list of citations appears at the end.) Both novice and veteran marketers should find the volume of use in developing corporate strategy.
A longtime advocate for marketing makes a thoughtful case for its importance in all businesses.