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Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieving Great Results Using Uncommon Sense, Kevin J Clancy & Peter C Krieg - Book Review

Updated on March 22, 2014
A corporate headquarters building
A corporate headquarters building | Source

An in-depth look at the difference between a good marketing plan, and one that just seems good but could kill your business

4 stars for Counterintuitive Marketing, by Kevin J Clancy and Krieg

The founders of Copernicus Marketing, Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. Krieg, tell us that the obvious next steps in the never-ending search for the perfect marketing mix are seldom right. In fact, they are almost always dead wrong. In Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieving Great Results by Using Uncommon Sense, they delve into the most popular marketing strategies of some of the most prominent companies in the world -- and how so many of them turned into multi-million-dollar f*** ups.

What will you find in this book?

Krieg and Clancy dedicate the first half of the book to detailing the kind of testosterone-driven, death-wish marketing that the vast majority of corporations use. They then use acquisitions, mergers, and stock sales to cover up their mistakes, and move on to the next misguided conquest. The second half of the book goes into detail on what you, as a marketer, can do to avoid these same costly mistakes, complete with checks that help determine whether you're going about your market research, product tests, profit projections, and other such activities in a way that will accurately reflect real-world results.

A quick clip from one of the authors on the importance of GOOD marketing

Who will benefit from the information in Counterintuitive Marketing?

While this book is certainly aimed at corporate marketers specifically -- the type of marketers that Copernicus Marketing serves in their day-to-day consultations -- I was curious what the book might offer to me as an internet marketer. The book was originally released in 2000, so a lot of their statements about "the current state of online marketing" are extremely dated now. That said, all of their predictions about prominent companies, except one, were quite accurate. The exception was Amazon, whose startup model boggled the minds of pretty much every professional marketer and business manager, but the timely system (that probably couldn't be successfully replicated) was able to pull off "the impossible." However, this also means that there is little in this book specifically geared toward the internet.

Although there was little in my particular medium of choice, and although Counterintuitive Marketing was geared at large corporations instead of small businesses, the basic marketing concepts and psychology remain the same. Small businesses don't have to worry about so many middle-men and various departments for their marketing campaigns and they are, by necessity, on a much smaller scale. The information presented in this book is still sound regardless of the type of business, and most of it is easily adapted to these smaller scales.

Internet users doubled from 2000-2007, and have increased even more since

The internet has become much more of a marketing powerhouse in the last decade than any previous marketers could anticipate
The internet has become much more of a marketing powerhouse in the last decade than any previous marketers could anticipate | Source

Why pick Counterintuitive Marketing?

Counterintuitive Marketing strives to be a little bit more than just the plain old drab marketing book that you have to slog through for a few useful nuggets. It is easy to tell that the authors really know and love their subject, and they are able to successfully convey that enjoyment to their readers. The smatterings of humor and easy reading style actually made it an enjoyable and entertaining read.

Part of what helped keep the text from getting bogged down is the liberal use of charts and diagrams throughout the book. These are great visual representations of the concepts touched on in the text on the corresponding page. This allows for easy reference and prevents wordy descriptions of each concept. Such a stream-lined, visual approach make this a good book to keep around for future reference as well.

At the end of the book, the authors have included 100 questions that every marketing manager should be able to answer, which basically sum up all of the checks and research throughout the book. These questions alone are worth buying the book, and it's certainly worth sitting down and finding the answers as they apply to your business. Since reading this book, I have tweaked a number of my own marketing tests and implemented some new strategies based on this type of thinking, and have enjoyed excellent initial results. One thing to bear in mind -- do NOT answer these questions based on intuition. As the authors point out, this is exactly what gets most businesses into trouble.

Does this review describe a book that might be useful to you? Here it is.

Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieving Great Results Using Common Sense
Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieving Great Results Using Common Sense

The reviewed book, which is a great resource for learning the mindset for effective marketing. Learn why "gut feelings" and "knee-jerk reactions" are business killers, and how to figure out what will work regardless of intuition.


To sum it up my thoughts on Counterintuitive Marketing...

Overall, this book is an excellent choice for marketers of any size, though freelancers and marketers for smaller businesses may find that they have to slightly alter some of the strategies to fit the scale of their business. Just in case you only want to know about particular companies, concepts, or just want to be able to find a passage again easily, a very detailed index is included. I initially checked this book out from the library, but it is certainly worth purchasing to add to the permanent collection for periodic review.

Counterintuitive Marketing is probably best suited for a new marketer, or for an experienced marketer who can't figure out why their methods aren't working. It presents a methodical approach that works well for trouble-shooting existing campaigns or approaches. No matter how many pieces of the marketing puzzle you already have, there's a good chance you can pick up at least one or two more from these pages.


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      Rebecca Mikulin 6 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Thanks :D, and I'm glad you liked the review. Their book has certainly been very helpful for me in being able to look at WHY different tactics don't work, when before I could only look at them and intuitively (*gasp* not that word!) tell that they would not do well.

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      Ami Bowen 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comments on Kevin and Peter's book--I'll be sure to pass them on to them.