Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter than Your Head: How Disciplined, Fact‐based Marketing Can Drive Extraordinary Growth and Profits

Suzanne Bade (Upromise Investments, Inc., Stoughton, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 2 May 2008




Bade, S. (2008), "Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter than Your Head: How Disciplined, Fact‐based Marketing Can Drive Extraordinary Growth and Profits", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 193-193.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter than Your Head serves as a great refresher for marketing professionals. Although Kevin Clancy and Peter Krieg do not present anything that professors are not already teaching in business schools, they do provide plenty of insight on how actual marketing fiascos could have been prevented. Their entertaining recounts of misguided marketing decisions force readers to wonder, “What were they thinking?” and make a clear case for the authors' argument: that some marketers are not thinking at all.

In the first section, “Why you should be unhappy with your marketing even if you're not,” the authors reinforce the fact that marketing is the very heart of business, and they clearly define marketing as a way to make a profit through solving people's problems with products and services. The problem is that in many cases, marketing initiatives do not have a positive return on investment, that is, if return is measured at all. The book then elaborates on the idea that practitioners are neglecting marketing research, conducting bad research, ignoring reason, and making decisions using their instincts.

As business people often do not know how marketing decision are made in their own organizations, Clancy and Krieg dedicate an entire chapter to explaining how to give your marketing a “performance review.” Here they provide all the pieces necessary to conduct a thorough review, ranging from what makes customers buy, to the ability of the marketing staff.

The performance review lays the foundation for making sound decisions. Section two, “Six easy steps (and one hard one) to better marketing,” builds from this foundation. Here the authors focus on targeting, positioning, new product choice, media placement, advertising content, sports sponsorships, and sales force relations. Much of this section seems discouraging because the authors detail many approaches that are ineffective. Many of the approaches do not work because they involve decisions made from the gut. However, this section does provide some hope. Readers now know what not to do and can more clearly focus on the proper research, testing, and analysis suggested by Clancy and Krieg.

The third and final section, “How to finally make it all work together,” is the authors' opportunity to contribute a new decision‐making model for readers. Instead, Clancy and Krieg reinforce the role of the written marketing plan, the importance of the relationship between marketing inputs and outputs, and variable modeling. They also tease readers with what they call a “Marketing Instrument Panel.” They liken the panel to the instrumentation in an airplane, where relationships between variables are clearly established, and the tool could essentially remove any and all guesswork.

The authors then reveal a common flaw of even the best marketing plan: faulty implementation. Without an implementation team to manage the plan, the initiative is sure to fail. Additionally, the effort should be supported by what the authors call the seven principles of implementation, ranging from enthusiastic commitment from senior management to defined metrics for program evaluation. The authors are quick to point out that implementation of the strategy is not the final key to success. The implemented strategy must be sustained. Often, an initiative will quickly succeed, only to fizzle after initial enthusiasm drops off.

Finally, Clancy and Krieg introduce readers to the relatively new idea of customer equity. Customer equity is the monetary value of a customer to a business over a period of time. This new equity is quickly becoming a commonly used measure of marketing performance, and is actually driven by three of the industry's old favorites: brand equity, product equity, and relationship equity. The authors are then forced to address that other measure of marketing performance – return on investment, a measure greatly helped by the recent attention on customer equity.

Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter than Your Head covers a lot of ground in just under 300 pages. While full of insights to the actual world of marketing, it is nicely written at a level that any business professional will understand, regardless of their discipline. To help readers navigate material, at the close of each chapter the authors provide a short checklist of questions readers should be asking when making marketing decisions. These lists transform the book from a one time read to a long lasting reference piece. It is an ideal reference not only for new marketers who may still be learning the proper approaches to decision making, but also for seasoned professionals who may be missing a step.

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