TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK
In a business world ruled by common sense, we wouldn’t need Mark Stevens’ blunt-titled, blunt-spoken book, Your Marketing Sucks (Crown Business). That’s because we wouldn’t need to be reminded of Stevens’ rule number one: “Every marketing dollar you spend should bring in more than $1 in return.” Uh, yeah.

Stevens, a veteran marketer, calls his approach “Extreme Marketing,” because “Extreme Common Sense” would sound dull. As subtle as a pink slip, he makes a persuasive case that marketing departments often orbit a sun of their own, and rarely are held accountable. Most marketing efforts, he says, amount to “throwing thousand-dollar bills out the window.”

Your Marketing Sucks teems with examples of thrown-away bucks — for one, beautiful TV ads that get marketing mavens buzzing but don’t reach customers. (When an ad agency starts bragging about its Clio Awards, Stevens writes, fire them.) He also blasts those tried-and-true focus groups in which nobody ever says anything the marketers don’t already know.

Stevens’ cure starts with stopping. If you don’t know what you’re getting with your marketing dollars, declare a moratorium until someone can tell you. Then read this book.