Marketing Genius

The left and right-brain of marketing for business success 

Marketing injects the customer insight and creative thinking that gives business its edge. However it must combine this with the analytical and commercial rigour that drives strategy, innovation and profitable growth.

The genius of marketing lies in the ability to connect outside and inside, markets and business, customers and shareholders, creativity and analysis, promises and reality, today and tomorrow. From Apple to Agent Provocateur, Jet Blue and Jones Soda, marketing is a living, evolving practice.

Genius marketers, like Einstein and Picasso, apply intelligence in more imaginative ways. They use their left and right brains to seize the best opportunities, to stand out from the crowd and to lead the business.

  • Be original. Spreadsheets help you focus and optimise, but you need creativity to stand out and move forwards.
  • Redefine markets. Think in terms of customer solutions rather than being blinkered by traditional boundaries.
  • Value not volume. Don’t be a slave to market share, there is often more value in niches than mass markets.
  • Be different. Advantage starts with your value discipline – do you offer best products, best relationships or best price.
  • About you not us. Redefine brands in terms of what you do for customers, reflecting their aspirations, rather than what you do.
  • Propositions not products. Sell propositions based around customer benefits rather than products and their features.
  • Stories not slogans. Engage people in more relevant narratives that establish context and meaning, engage them in stories.
  • Networks not channels. Connect with physical and virtual communities, collaborating and enabling them to do more.
  • Value-based marketing focuses on markets, segments and products that create the most economic value long-term
  • New marketers work across the business as customer champions, business innovators and growth drivers

Marketing Genius is one of the bestselling marketing books of the last decade, and has been translated into 35 languages. It includes 30 practical tools ranging from market strategy to brand building, value propositions and social networks, plus 30 case studies including

Crocs … Three friends decide to go sailing. They take off from the r stressful jobs, and head for a week in the Caribbean. Unpacking their bags, one shows off his new foam clogs he had bought in Canada. As the days, waves and beers go by, they imagine setting up their own business – how about making those shoes, comfortable, lightweight, non-slip and very strong. Crocs were an instant hit – the ultimate boat shoe, but also for nurses, chefs and kids too. Brad Pitt and Britney Speers adopted them, and they were suddenly fashionable as well as functional. Sales were phenomenal, selling 20 million pairs worldwide in the first three years. Loved by many, hated by others, a billion dollar IPO in 2006 also gave the guys more time to go sailing again too.

Diesel … “Diesel is not my company – it is my life” proclaims Renzo Rosso, founder of the hippest jeans brand on the planet. Up in Italy’s Marostica Hills, at Diesel Farm, he sips his espresso whilst considering the latest designs for “successful living”, be it in the form of clothing or footwear, jewellery or fragrances. There is even Diesel wines and olive oils, from Rosso’s own vineyard. Diesel makes cool look easy, but its a constant process of evolution, spotting and setting the trends. The brand has evolved from “greasy rockability” in the eighties to “conscious hedonism”, shifting audiences and adjusting its proposition over time. With 320 stores in 80 countries delivering over Euro 1.5 billion sales, then the Italian entrepreneur is really enjoying his life.

Jones Soda … If you want to take on market leaders like Coca-Cola then imitation is unlikely to work. “Run with the little guy” says the tagline, yet Jones Soda has become a big story for much more than its drinks. “Nobody needs my s**t, nobody even wants it, but they love my s**t” says maverick founder Peter van Stolk. He emotionally connects with customers my letting them choose the flavours – “turkey and gravy” being a favourite – by making every single label an uploaded customer photo, and by targeting distribution channels that are anything but ordinary – music stores, surf shacks and tattoo parlours. Jones is shaking up the American soda market on a shoestring, and customers love it.

Diageo … “Every adult adores at least one of our brands” is the single-minded goals of the world’s leading drinks business. As well as Guinness, Diageo ‘s portfolio includes Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, Baileys and Jose Cervo. However Diageo seeks more than market leadership, publicly ranking itself against a cross-sector peer group in terms of its total shareholder returns (it lies just ahead of Unilever, but still well behind P&G and Yum!) “100% marketing” is the brand teams way of achieving this, recognising that Lord Leverhulme’s “half of marketing is wasted” is no longer acceptable. It takes a disciplined, value-based approach to managing its portfolio, focusing its proposition, and integrating its media mix, making marketing the value engine of the whole business.

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Preface: Why did I write this book?

I want to inspire you to think differently, and to do great marketing.

In recent years I have experienced some great marketing, alongside much mediocrity. I have met many stimulating and ambitious marketers, but also many others who lack the confidence to challenge the status quo, to make their great ideas happen, to seize the opportunity to lead their organizations.

I want marketing to succeed, to be the driving force of business, and to have the influence and respect as a profession that it deserves.

Marketing creates more economic value for business than any other activity, yet it is too often seen as a marginal activity, a support function and a tactical cost line. Marketing has an unmatchable power base from which to drive the business – understanding the market, championing the customer, leading innovation, building the brand, driving profitable growth. This requires an approach that is more strategic and commercial, innovative and engaging.

Marketers must embrace the analytical rigour to connect passions with profits, but they must not lose their creative spark to reach out for what is new and different. Too many businesses, and their marketers, have become blinkered servants to process and numbers, which alone are
increasingly commoditized and outsourced capabilities.

In today’s incredibly complicated world, every business faces enormous change, uncertainty and opportunity. The best ideas will make companies great. Customers, rather than capital, are increasingly the scarcest resources. Concept rather than knowledge management will matter more in the future.

I believe marketers are best positioned to address these challenges and others like them:

• People are more different – kids, for example, can typically do 5.4 things at once, while adults struggle to do 1.7 (and men even less).
• Traditional marketing approaches are under fire – 54% of US consumers have ‘banned’ telemarketing.
• Purchase decisions are made in an instant – the average decision about which brand to buy is made in 2.6 seconds.
• Markets are much more competitive than ever before – intensity has on average tripled in the last 10 years.
• Products are quickly imitated and outdated – life cycles have on average reduced by 70% in the same time.
• Customers face a confusing barrage of noise – the average person comes across approximately 300 messages every day.
• Technology has become central to our buying behaviours – the Internet is used by 42% of consumers before buying a new car.
• Yet people rely on people more than ever – 75% of consumers say they trust personal recommendation most.
• Proving the value of marketing has focused our minds on metrics – yet 60% of brand investments impact on future years, not this year.
• Businesses are still incredibly short term – yet major investors look at the potential of the business beyond the next 4 years.
• The majority of a business’ value is now based on intangible assets – accounting for 78% of Fortune 500’s market value.
• Marketing talent is essential to business leadership – 21% of FTSE CEOs are marketers, and deliver 5.9% greater TSR than others.

Marketers have the unique talents to address today’s intelligent and demanding customer, to bring direction and focus to their organization, and to drive the future profits that sustain business success.

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Book details

Publisher: Wiley Capstone
Publication date: February 24, 2006
ISBN: 978-1841126814


Marketers who want to recharge their left and right brains can do no better than read Marketing Genius. It’s all there: concepts, tools, companies and stories of inspired marketers.

Professor Philip Kotler, Kellogg Graduate School of Management

A fantastic book, full of relevant learning. The mass market is dead. The consumer is boss. Imagination, intuition and inspiration reign. Geniuses wanted.

Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO Saatchi & Saatchi

A truly inspiring book … a good roundup of important marketing theory with some great case studies.

Brand Strategy Magazine

“A fantastic book, full of relevant learning. The mass market is dead. The consumer is boss. Imagination, intuition and inspiration reign. Geniuses wanted.” Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO Saatchi & Saatchi, and author of  Lovemarks

Kevin Roberts

review 472