Approach is everything

Building Brandwidth: Closing the Sale Online, by Sergio Zyman and Scott Miller, published in October, 2000, by Harper Business; hardcover, 239 pages, $41.50 ...

Building Brandwidth: Closing the Sale Online, by Sergio Zyman and Scott Miller, published in October, 2000, by Harper Business; hardcover, 239 pages, $41.50

Sergio Zyman has a gift of making the fundamental sound revolutionary. Brandwidth, co-written with Scott Miller and Zyman’s follow-up to The End of Marketing as We Know It, is written with all the swagger, bravado, and tough talk that made Zyman famous as CMO of Coca-Cola. It’s also among the first of the inevitable where-the-dot-coms-screwed-up-and-what-they-need-to-do-now books. Its impact reaches beyond the online environment, however, because the distinction between dot-com and traditional marketing is increasingly artificial.

Zyman starts off by shooting a few dot-com fish in the marketing barrel, charging them with practising ‘marketing without a licence.’ His underlying philosophy is immediately apparent: Marketing is the science of getting more people to buy more stuff, more often, for more money. And that process takes discipline, a focus on customer relevance and an uncompromising demand for results. For the remainder of the book, Zyman lays out a practical blueprint for applying this philosophy. ‘Everything markets,’ he tells us. ‘Every detail is either adding value or subtracting it, selling or unselling.’

Few of his checklists are groundbreaking, and little of what he says is new. Many of his insights are reminders of existing marketing and branding strategy. Zyman’s contribution lies in the persuasive and credible way he explains how to move the marketing function from corporate window dressing to corporate strategy driving. As he once told Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, ‘You guys don’t have to invent marketing…just adopt it.’

Should you buy a copy of this book? No. You should buy two. One for you to skim, and one to give the executive in your life who just doesn’t quite get it. If the former CMO of the greatest brand in the world can’t bring them around, nobody can.

BookMark Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Mark Szabo is an Account Director with Parallel Strategies in Calgary. He can be reached at mark.szabo@parallel.ca.