There are lots of management/marketing books but none quite like this one.
I’m talking about “All of the Other Marketing Books are Crap,” cleverly written by a marketing guru from Milwaukee, Wis. named Denise Kohnke.
“You’ve bought books before,” she writes in the front of the book, “and they were crap.”
I hesitate to repeat that because Humble City Council Member Norman Funderburk critiqued my Tall Tales only once. I used the word “crap” in one of my now-forgotten columns.
“My English-teaching mother would never approve the use of that word,” he told me.
Because Norman had such a fit when I used that word, well, when I saw it in the title of a book, I just had to read it!
Frankly, Denise writes the way lots of people speak. It’s “X-rated,” but what she says, in her own way, is oh, so true.
“Nobody does case studies of failure. In marketing, failure is rampant,” she told me by phone a few weeks ago.
Wow! Studying failure? What a concept.
I originally called Kohnke because her publicist said she’d be terrific to chat with about the company that now calls itself “Dunkin’.”
You remember the headlines, “Dunkin’ Drops the Donuts.” I thought that was weird and probably a mistake, but Kohnke knows better.
“Their marketing team did the right thing,” she told me. “They’ve been planning this for a while because their tagline is ‘America runs on Dunkin’.’ Coffee is 60 percent of their sales. Donuts have a bad rap. People just don’t do refined sugar anymore.”
Kohnke’s bottom line? Evolve or die.
She’s convinced you learn from your mistakes. That’s really what her “Crap” book is about.
How about Coke in 1985? They were losing market shares to Pepsi, so they created New Coke. Guess what? It was a public relations disaster. Did Coke dig in their heels? Nope. Within two weeks they came up with a new campaign telling America they were sorry they took old Coke away. They rebottled it as Coke Classic – and proceeded to dominate Pepsi for the next 20 years.
Talk about taking victory out of the jaws of defeat.
“My book tries to describe to business owners what they don’t know,” Kohnke said. “I give the formula for rising above failure because, frankly, most companies die of inaction. They think they can remain the same, but evolution is all around. Evolve or die. Look at the future and create it. That’s what good marketers do.”
Kohnke’s case study of the now defunct Bon-ton Department Store is classic.
“Bon-ton was part of an evolving retail economy,” she said. “They were looking back, not forward. They wouldn’t listen to my agency. My mantra is ‘evolve or die.’”
Be prepared to read some indelicate language. Here’s an idea. Get somebody earthier than you to “redact” all the bad words, then you read it and, I swear, you’ll love what Denise teaches you.
I need to have Denise write a letter of apology to Norman Funderburk. I didn’t say “crap.” She did!