Once in a while, you read a book that forces you to question your existence.

Well, for anyone who has struggled marketing or advertising a company/product/service, the overflowing bounty of brilliant, evidence-based marketing essays in “Eat Your Greens” by APG London, edited by Wiemer Snijders, is such a book.

First, let’s talk about the problems marketing & advertising are facing….

Marketing and advertising are trapped in a paradox. Wanting to outpace competitors while growing a brand, but needing to keep the lights on, companies typically divert marketing resources away from long-term strategies, in favor of short-term results.

Also, from tactics to communication channels to tech-laden dashboards, there seems to be a million ways to employ, and seemingly measure, marketing & advertising for companies these days.

So, unattached to any actual strategy, complication, quick-hits, and ceaseless action are the guiding forces in advertising & marketing today.

“Eat Your Greens” explains that the quest for short-term gains through tactics, knee-caps any potential to grow and establish a brand. While smaller advertising campaigns create spikes in revenue, indeed they appear successful at the moment, brand building marketing activities, which can ensure the long term sales growth of the company, are completely ignored.

This ‘short-termism,’ which happens to be rampant across all industries, has been studied at length by the foremost minds in marketing. In their book “The Long & Short of It,” Binet & Field illustrate this concept, very simply, in the graph below…

So what’s the answer?

How do we get back to building brands through marketing? How do we get off our addiction to sugary short-termism? The answer is; EAT YOUR GREENS!

With the caveat that all essays in the book needed to be supported by evidence, editor Wiemer Snijders has cobbled together an amazing and inspirational chorus of voices, all dedicated to bringing healthful, brand-growing marketing advice to an industry that’s made itself sick from chasing clicks.

I’ll briefly share a few of my favorite moments from the book below, but suffice it to say, if you’ve been feeling like your marketing and advertising need to make a change, go on a diet, work out, get stronger – you owe it to yourself to “Eat Your Greens”

Ultra-Light Buyers

This concept blew my wig off, right at the beginning of the book.

According to research from Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, of the thousands of variables that might affect buyer behavior, the two most importantfactors are 1) market penetration, and 2) average purchase frequency.

You might think that the key to owning a market on behalf of a brand is to focus on the heavy users, the loyalists, the fanatics. That must be the way to penetrate the market; get folks to buy in bulk, walk out with carts FULL of your stuff.

But, the real relationship between market penetration and heavy/light buyers, paints a far more interesting picture.

The above graphic depicts the purchase frequency of Dove Soap over a period of 1-5 years. The shaded “0” on the far-left states the number of people who buy soap, knew about the brand, but did not purchase Dove.

Next to that, we see that 87% of all Dove buyers only bought 1 bar of soap within that 1-5 year period.

That 20+ on the right, the “brand loyalist,” accounts for an extremely small percentage of overall buyers of Dove brand soap.

So, Dove continues to grow it’s brand through advertising, not to secure the fanatics, but to nudge as many category buyers into an Ultra-Light purchase relationship as possible.

People don’t trust a brand because a few people buy a bunch of their stuff – it’s because a steady stream of people buy it once in a while.

This finding is interesting to me, because it’s directly at odds with the “sticky” marketing mentality of apps and attention brokerages online, where creating addicts and fanatics is the main goal. That should raise a few flags….

Want to discover more?

I could tell you about Mark Ritson’s chapter laying into marketing conferences, Tess Alps advice on marketing in a “post-truth” world, or Faris Yakov’s inspirational side-by-side comparison of advertising and art.

I could walk you through Kate Richardson’s masterful destruction of “brand purpose.”

We could both laugh until the tears came, at my witty retelling of Ryan Wallman’s dress-down of the latest marketing fads and trends.

But really – if you are in marketing or advertising or run a business — you absolutely have to read this book. It’s the inspiring, healthful, beneficial, no bullshit marketing & advertising advice you’ve been looking for.

I’ll end with a quote from Wiemer Snijders that to me, best sums up the mission for marketers walking away from this book….

“If you’re a great brand, attracting the majority of buyers into your customer base requires a creative, single-minded approach to the task of maintaining your rightful place in their minds and on the shelf.”

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