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Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution

Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution

by Richard Laermer, Mark Simmons

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The marketing revolution is here, so get on the right side of the barricade and become a part of it! Let's thank Mr. and Mrs. Consumer and their little Consumerlings who have seized power from the corporations and are now firmly in control.

In Punk Marketing, Laermer and Simmons take an irreverent, penetrating look at the seismic change in the


The marketing revolution is here, so get on the right side of the barricade and become a part of it! Let's thank Mr. and Mrs. Consumer and their little Consumerlings who have seized power from the corporations and are now firmly in control.

In Punk Marketing, Laermer and Simmons take an irreverent, penetrating look at the seismic change in the relationship between the people who sell stuff—products, services, entertainment—and those who purchase it. They demonstrate that to survive in business, a revolutionary approach is needed—one they have branded "Punk Marketing"—and it's one we all need to understand, for the traditional divisions among commerce, content, and consumers are continuing to blur ever more rapidly.

Never dull, sometimes controversial, but always a helluva lot of fun, Punk Marketing presents a manifesto for any businessperson needing to engage consumers—or any consumer seeking to understand and employ their newfound power. And here's the good news: It's based on principles that have existed forever. In an age of digital video recorders, "branded" entertainment, cell-phone TV, multiplayer online games, and never-ending social networking, a coherent approach to marketing has never been more vital. With Punk Marketing, there's a built-in plan to equip you with tools to make all this change work out just fine, thanks.

Punk Marketing is the first shot—soon to be heard 'round the world—of a long-awaited and breathless uprising that businesses want, deserve, and desperately need.

Editorial Reviews

Business Week
Taken together, their anecdotes show that truly original, engaging, and-most important-surprising ads will always prevail, whether they're labeled "punk" or not.

Business 2.0
It's about taking risks, yet giving the consumer control of the brand.

Advertising Age
"Punk" reads like the insider wisdom your tattooed brother gave during your first nose-piercing session: "Don't show Mom, but the girls at school will dig it.

Sales & Marketing Management
A mix of in-your-face punk flair and practical techniques, Punk Marketing is a manifesto for anyone looking to break away from the old methods and dropkick their sales campaign into the new millennium.

History in the Making
“Cutting edge marketing strategies.... Outrageous book format.”
Manage Smarter Magazine
“A manifesto for anyone looking to break away from old methods and dropkick their sales campaign into the new millennium.”
“This should be required reading for all marketing and advertising people who still think that the world hasn’t changed much”
Website Magazine
Expertly explains why, in today’s day and age, “marketing must be both brave and intelligent to succeed.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Punk Marketing

Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution
By Richard Laermer

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Richard Laermer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061151101

Chapter One

The Punk Marketing Manifesto

You Read—We Make Your Life Better

Karl Marx had one. As did Simón Bolívar. Now you do too. Congratulations.

Be proud. Copy it onto vellum, and read it out loud from the wreckage of your overturned desk.

What's a revolt without something to hold in your hands?

We feel marketers need a manifesto to change the thinking from a set of outdated ideas to another, more relevant set. There's nothing better to establish the guiding principles by which like-minded revolutionaries can live.

The Punk Marketing Manifesto* consists of fifteen articles, each of which should be followed without fail for the revolution to carry you along with it and not leave you trampled underfoot. So with no further ado:

The Articles of the Revolution

Article One: Avoid Risk and Die

In times of change the greatest risk is to take none at all.

Risk is one of those words that to some sound bad and to others good. It's easy to ask others to take a risk but not so easy to take one yourself. (What's that Joe Jackson line about giving advice but never taking any yourself?) But in this revolution—no,actually, in all revolutions—risk is a necessity for anyone who wishes to come out from behind the barricades as the winner.

The trick is to take calculated jumps and share them among all stakeholders with your own blend of saucy verve and gusto.

So what's a calculated risk in these days of careful conglomeration? Not necessarily one checked out with consumers (if research were a prerequisite, would Sony ever have launched the Walkman or Ted Turner started CNN?—conventional wisdom says nah*) but one that has properly been thought through and discussed with those people involved with actually creating the thing. This is where sharing among the risk-taking stakeholders group is most needed.

Article Two: Why Not Ask "Why Not?"

Assumptions are just that. They are in no way true. Anything you assume is usually a half-truth or a generalization that once served a useful purpose but now hinders truly creative solutions.

One of the most innovative pieces of thinking in marketing in recent years was for Dove and its strangely titled Campaign for Real Beauty. Dove's dad, Unilever, took the fundamental rule of the beauty-products category—that women featured in marketing must be stick-model perfect to be effective role models—and asked why not try something made for controversy: use models that are unconventionally good-looking, even curvy? The result was a campaign that made women everywhere feel special about not conforming to conventional views of perfection.

Article Three: Take a Strong Stand

Trying to be all things to everyone inevitably results in meaning little to anybody.

Why did John Kerry lose that election? Many reasons, but more than anything we'll call it the way his rival strategists at the GOP played on the fear of the voters to keep a firm course of don't-screw-with-us action. But many observers said a significant reason for his death at the polls was Kerry's desire to be liked by everyone and his habit of flopping from one viewpoint to another with each situation that popped up in his hyperactive sight line. One minute he's talking about green issues until he's blue in the face, the next he's defending his family's ownership of gas-eating SUVs ("Gee whiz, it's my wife's").*

Deciding what you want your brand to stand for must come from a firm set of well-thought-out beliefs you are prepared to defend on any battleground. So what if not everyone likes you? Most people don't like you anyway—they certainly don't dig us. Make those who do your loyal friends forever, and if you still need to be loved by newcomers, go out and start a new brand with equally strong but different positioning for those other wannabe lovers. Procter and Gamble lives by that credo and it works for them.

Article Four: Don't Pander

Customers are important but they are not necessarily right.

The really good news about being resolute is that people respect you for it even if they don't admit it. Respect from those who buy things is tough to get. Let us tell you a little secret: consumers like to be told what to do. They're actually slightly submissive and want a brand to take charge, push them into a corner, stand proud, thump its chest and say, "This is me and this is what I've got to offer."

What they don't like is being asked what they want—because they don't know! Henry Ford said it many years ago and it still holds true: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have told me, 'a faster horse.'" (One of us owned that horse in the form of a Fiesta.)

Of course people like to be given choices, but that's different from coming off as being desperate to please everyone. Like, what's with these incessant price promotions, incentives, and cash-back offers that are all the rage with U.S. automakers? Distress marketing makes consumers think there's something wrong, pure and simple. Avoid it and folks will respect you again.

Article Five: Give Up Control

Consumers now control brands—end of debate. Smart marketers recognize this and embrace it rather than fight the powerful truth.

A long time ago (the nineties), there was a one-way process by which marketers and those providing content delivered their product to consumers. Consumers sat in front of their TVs or radios and were entertained. The marketing messages were a necessary evil, to fund what they enjoyed.

Then when the faceless TiVo machine and its offspring came along, viewers had a way to opt out of commercials altogether. At the same time the rise of alternative forms of content and ways of getting it let consumers become participants rather than recipients, forcing more of a two-way conversation with the marketers and media moguls.

The once unspoken contract between providers and consumers has expired, and a new version has been written by the latter. No more cheap entertainment in exchange for their attention to what we sell! Thus any marketer needs to make its message as enjoyable as the content it funds and consumers will choose rather than just endure it—or click off.


Excerpted from Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer Copyright © 2007 by Richard Laermer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Nick Digilio
"The best book on marketing. I devoured every single word here - and I don't even CARE about marketing!"--(Nick Digilio, WGN Radio)

Meet the Author

Richard Laermer is CEO of RLM PR (RLMpr.com). A renowned speaker, he is author of seven books such as the bestseller Full Frontal PR and 2011: Trendspotting. He hosts Taking Care of Business on TLC and is a commentator on CNNMoney.com. He lives in New York—and on tons of airplanes.

Mark Simmons has twenty years of marketing experience and has worked at the groundbreaking agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. He is now a full-time consultant and lives in Santa Monica, California.

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