How brands grow: what marketers don’t know, by Byron Sharp

Based on analysis of twenty years of rigorous purchasing data from many categories and markets, this book debunks some of the myths about how marketing builds business success.  An Aussie academic who worked with the great Andrew Ehrenberg of London South Bank University, Sharp shows how a lot of marketers focus on the wrong things, and tells you what you should focus on. Perhaps the most fundamental, and counter-intuitive, finding is that consumer loyalty and market penetration go hand in hand. That’s to say, big brands have more users, who use the brand more of the time, while small brands have fewer users, who tend to use them less. He calls this Double Jeopardy: there’s no such thing as a small brand whose sales come from a small band of intensely loyal users. To grow, a brand needs more users as well as more usage – both penetration and loyalty. This one finding alone would embarrass many a marketing plan I’ve seen – and some I’ve presented.

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Books | July 2012