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What’s New, What Sticks —Sherburne

April 2007
I JUST finished reading a terrific book, “What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds,” by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart. The authors did in-depth research with 30 Fortune 200 companies, measuring more than $1 billion in advertising spend. They concluded that of the $300 billion annual advertising spend in the United States, $112 billion, or 47 percent, is wasted. Not surprisingly, they concluded that marketing is broken and that, as we pointed out last month, just because something worked in the 1980s, it is not necessarily going to work today—although a lot of companies still operate that way.

Their research is fascinating, and although it applies primarily to the B-to-C (Business-to-Consumer) world, there are lessons to be learned for printers who are, of course, primarily B-to-B (Business-to-Business), as they examine their marketing strategies.

In the book, Briggs and Stuart define the 4Ms of marketing and, as printers, we can translate these largely B-to-C 4Ms into our own B-to-B 4Ms, and make sure our marketing dollars are spent as effectively as possible.

What are the 4Ms the authors define?

Motivations: Why do your customers buy? If you don’t know why they buy from you, how can you identify the best way to speak to them? The authors say, “If you miss here, you’re guaranteed to miss the next M.”

Message: How do you communicate with your customers based on their motivations in a way that they hear what you are saying?

Media: What does each type of media you use contribute to the overall success of your marketing campaign and your brand awareness?

Maximization: How do you build and leverage a knowledge storehouse that can deliver continuing improvement in your campaigns over time? The authors say, “Maximization is about continuous improvement in marketing ROI through ongoing innovation and research, paired with information storehouse to ensure the learning doesn’t rot in the field.”

While there is a lot more to the book than we can cover here, let me spend a little time on what I found to be one of their most interesting strategies. They called it the 70/20/10 Solution.

They actually got the idea for the 70/20/10 Solution from a talk delivered by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. In the speech, he shared the classic Silicon Valley mix of spending 70 percent of their time supporting existing products, 20 percent of their time extending their existing products with “sustaining innovations,” and 10 percent of their time working on “wild skunk-works ideas” for new products.


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