Building Brandwidth: Closing the Sale Online

Building Brandwidth: Closing the Sale Online

by Sergio Zyman, Scott Miller

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Now the world's most famous marketer, Sergio Zyman, has teamed up with Scott Miller to present a brilliant and irascible take on e-marketing as it really is and how it's supposed to be.
just as Zyman's best-selling The End of Marketing as We Know It signaled the end of traditional marketing-marketing as corporate ornamentation, somehow existing apart from the

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Now the world's most famous marketer, Sergio Zyman, has teamed up with Scott Miller to present a brilliant and irascible take on e-marketing as it really is and how it's supposed to be.
just as Zyman's best-selling The End of Marketing as We Know It signaled the end of traditional marketing-marketing as corporate ornamentation, somehow existing apart from the serious business practice of selling more people more stuff more often-Building Brandwidth takes on the myth that this cool, hip new technology needs cool, hip new marketing to make the sale. Marketing is marketing-building a brand online takes discipline and sweat, just as it does offline.
Too many Internet start-ups are betting on irreverent advertising and in-jokes to do magic-to create instant brand awareness, build traffic, develop commerce, create buzz, and enable the brand to rise to the top. But "irreverent" too often means "irrelevant." Meanwhile, sales stagnate-or nosedive. Ever since the Internet bubble burst, Web companies live by the law-of-the-jungle rules of all companies.

In this illuminating book you'll learn why:

• Building brandwidth isn't about being trendy. It's about closing the sale online and using some of the back-to-the principles of e-merchanting to do that.

• Everything you knew about mass marketing is over. Today, customization rules, and that means customer-ization rules.

• Customers don't care if your Web site has the coolest technology-they want to know how it can do something for them that they need or want and how it can do it differently than any other site.

• Creativity isn't about being obscure. Creativity means doing the hard work of communicating what your business can do that the competition can't.

• What applies to e-companies now applies to all companies. The new and old economies have fused into one hypercompetitive transformed economy.

Building Brandwidth is the user's manual for anyone doing business on the Internet. This indispensable guide to making money and coming out on top will help you close the sale online in these fast-moving, make-or-break times when every e-commerce venture is desperately fighting to stay afloat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The purpose of marketing is to sell product--"'selling stuff is what sells stuff'"--and that doesn't change if you are in a traditional company or a dot-com, reminds Zyman (The End of Marketing As We Know It), a former chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola who now runs a consulting company he founded with Miller. What Zyman preaches--with gusto and solid advice based on long experience--is going back to the basics of building a brand. Readers should not dismiss his revved-up, disarmingly hip tone (aimed at dot-com entrepreneurs under 35); his book is solid gold. The five key elements of building "brandwidth" (and, therefore, intrinsic value, which will attract investors) are, he says, brand presence (which rests on activating a brand in the marketplace); relevance ("Fixate on the customer, not on the product or the competition"); "owning the position of relevant differentiation in your marketplace"; credibility ("you can't deliver on customer satisfaction unless you clearly define the customer benefit in advance") and imagery ("Your brand is defined in your customer's perceptions"). Zyman is confident that "gazillions" of dollars are still to be made on the Web but that the "easy money" days are long over. For companies willing to do the critical work of marketing, he maintains, the sky's the limit. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.89(d)

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Chapter One

Now What?

We're sitting in this abandoned Pizza Hut in the middle of a fairly seedy shopping center south of San Francisco, trying to get our bearings. The walls are cheap sheetrock, just recently nailed up and now filled with unintelligible graffiti. Coffee-stained gray cubicle walls salvaged from a failed savings and loan divide the small space into a rabbit warren. The glow of a couple dozen PC screens plays over the cubicle field like the Aurora borealis. The CEO is sitting there in running shorts. The CFO, Starbucks Rich Colombian coursing through his veins, is emitting an audible buzz...he hasn't slept in thirty-some hours. Talking to them, we feel like faculty advisors in a student council meeting.

That was the beginning. The CEO in the shorts was worth something like $200 million at the time. A couple years later, at the end of April 2000, he was worth about a hundredth of that. Not that he really cared. This is revolution, not "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"

They were typical of the little startups we'd meet in those days, the first phase of Internet development. In those meetings, we'd be introduced to four or five software developers and engineers-one of them would be the designated "marketing guy."

"Well, Spencer, here, is our marketing department," the CEO says, indicating a guy with a buzz cut and goatee. "'He"s a code developer, but he used to be on a product marketing team at Sun. And he hired our ad agency. And they did the ad with the monkeys. Maybe you saw it."

We saw it, all right. We saw that they burned all of their first year's revenues on an ad campaign that never moved the needle.That explains what we were doing there in that strange place and a lot of other strange places. We were sitting there in that born-again Pizza Hut doing e-marketing.

The NASDAQ Rocket Thumbs Its Nose

Yes, some Internet companies achieved breathtaking valuations without selling anything. Back in the fall and winter of 1999 and 2000, EVERYBODY was rich, it seemed. Thirty-year-old Internet geniuses were picking out the carpeting for their Gulfstream Vs. And we all got a chance to see what our net worth would look like on steroids. It was an impressive sight: BIG...ENORMOUS...HUMONGOUS!

Valuations were still up there in the stratosphere. And it seemed you could IPO a can of tuna with a business model that could be written in very big letters on a very small bumper sticker. But somewhere in the pit of your stomach and seeping into the back of your mind was the poisonous thought: This can't really be; it wasn't really meant to be this easy. And a distant voice was warning that building valuation is a lot different from building real value. It's the difference between sand castles and brick outhouses. But at the time that voice seemed so distant, and it was drowned out by so many other voices, closer and so much more pleasant and so confident

that the skyrocketing NASDAQ would just continue to rise against gravity, thumbing its rocket red nose at the laws of nature and finance and history.

Marketing advice was often pretty hard to sell in those heady days. "Do market research? Pound out a brand positioning strategy? What a downer! Let's just do some commercials!"

The marketing people of the time weren't focused on closing the sale online. They didn't even think about building brandwidth. Heck, they didn't have to sell stuff to get rich -- all they had to do was IPO!

So hefty ad budgets bankrolled television commercials and fullpage ads in the New York Times aimed at a market of a few hundred market analysts, not a few million consumers.

It seemed like everybody in and around the Internet was taking Tarzan pills, beating their chests and feeling invincible. And it was the end of business etiquette and business discipline as we'd known it. You couldn't get a phone call returned. Even e-mail wasn't returned. Due diligence? That's for nut companies buying bolt companies, not Net companies flying high in the ether. ""We're different.

We don't live by P&Ls, for gosh sakes. We've got funding. "' And discipline? Discipline is for dopes-marketing strategy is okay, but it takes too long. Hire an agency, do an ad for the Super Bowl. How hard is THAT?!

Our marketing advice for discipline, strategy, and process (after all, that's our business) seemed like a very long, uphill run for a lot of these people. Way too hard. No thanks.

Freefall Bites

The reality of a 40% NASDAQ freefall hit us all on April 24, 2000.The law of marketing gravity always applies eventually: If you can't sell stuff, you crash to earth. A lot of Internet companies did just that in the spring and summer of 2000, and now, like it or not, the little companies among them had to answer those nagging questions we'd kept asking them: "What is it you actually DO? And how are you going to make MONEY?"

They couldn't avoid it any longer.

The carnage was everywhere. And the higher flying the ego, it seemed, the farther and scarier the freefall. As the Wall Street Journal commented aptly, "Reality bites hard."

Sites had traffic, but no revenues. suddenly became After all, the convention of pricing in B2C (business to commerce) on the Internet was ... FREE! Free services and free information. COME AND GET IT! In several of the "Little Rascals" films of the 1930s and 1940s, Spanky and Alfalfa decided to put on a show with Alfalfa crooning and Darla playing the ukulele, but the kids in the neighborhood balked at the penny admission price. Alfalfa invariably came up with the same plan: "I've got it! It'll be 'Pay As You Leave.'"

Well, the little rascals on the Web tried the same thing with the same results. Making people pay would discourage traffic. And traffic is what the funding angels and venture capitalists were looking at in those days. It would be like retailers at the mall getting credit for window shoppers. Ridiculous. But those were pretty ridiculous days...

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Meet the Author

Sergio Zyman was formerly the chief marketing officer at The Coca-Cola Company. As principal of Z, a new consulting company, he has worked with such companies as Microsoft, 7-Eleven, Miller Brewing Company, and Campbells. A highly sought-after speaker, he frequently travels the world to speak to large audiences and has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Fortune. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Scott Miller is founder of the Sawyer-Miller Group, the largest and most successful political consultancy worldwide.

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