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Your Marketing Sucks

Atlanta is a Big City. It is the headquarters of some huge companies: The Home Depot, CNN, and Coca-Cola. These big companies give showplace tours to the public as a means of marketing what they do and how good they are at doing. We went to the World of Coca-Cola last weekend as a part of a short trip to Atlanta.

Coca-Cola, Inc. is supposedly the master of marketing. I think that the only thing they do is market. Some people may argue Coke is better than Pepsi or Safeway Select. Few could argue that if they do not focus 99% of their efforts on marketing, they would not be in business today.

Your Marketing Sucks is a book by Mark Stevens which I read while I was working on TruAd. I knew little about marketing then, and probably even less now. TruAd taught me that I did not want to be in the advertising business. And, frankly, bivio has taught me that marketing does not have a great affect on my revenues. The one thing that I have learned is the less time I spend on marketing, the better.

Stevens's book is cute, and the title is catchy. He also wrote Your Management Sucks, which I prefer of the two. The title is clearly written on three lines Your / marketing / sucks. There is a cute subtitle "(see details inside)". Very nice.

Details are the issue, I believe in just about any business. Get them wrong, and I believe Your Business Sucks. The World of Coca-Cola missed an important detail, I believe.

The World of Coca-Cola is quite a show. It reminded Joanne and me of Willy Wonka's factory. They prepare you for the "happiest place on Earth" in an auditorium and then set you free to explore. Wunnerful.

One of the Happy Places is the tasting room. You are treated to a vast array of sugary drinks from oodles of fountains. There is a special section for the Coke-type products. The majority of the room is full of drinks from all over the world.

There are no videos rolling or taste tests. Coke would not want to advertise the faces of people tasting the intense quinine drinks, for example. The floor is being cleaned constantly, and it is still quite sticky. Not something you want on video either.

The tasting room is the exit of the World of Coca-Cola. The "world's slowest" bottling plant's assembly line also ends in this room so you get little glass bottles of Coke as souvenirs. Happy people direct you to the only way out: The Gift Shop. So far so good.

You cannot re-enter the World of Coca-Cola once you enter the gift shop. And, once you leave the gift shop, you can't go back into it, either. It's one an assembly line to get you to buy an amazing array of Coca-Cola products before you go out to the (dry) fountains between the World of Coca-Cola and theAquarium .

The missing detail is that there are no bathrooms inside the gift shop. Imagine a thirteen year-old boy who has just tasted 48 different flavors of Coca-Cola products. Also imagine the dizzying array of choices he has in the bathroomless gift shop. At some point nature will be calling on this boy, and he will have nowhere to go, literally.

In order to satisfy his urgent need, he will have to walk across the fountains through a large field to the public restrooms far, far away from the World of Coca-Cola gift shop.

Will he want to return? Of course, but after trudging back across the tundra he will end up at a door he cannot enter. Once you exit the gift shop, you are done. With a coaxing from his father, the saddened boy was allowed to re-enter.

Details missing inside.

Via Rob 5/19/2008