Two books explore current marketing themes and strategies.
If you're struggling to make sense of current marketing themes such as "a market of one," perhaps it's time to revisit these classics on how the game has changed:
The Great Marketing Turnaround, by Stan Rapp and Tom Collins (Plume, 1990, $12), is the book for entrepreneurs who dream of launching or growing a national brand but don't have millions to spend. The book chronicles the demise of mass marketing and the rise of a "dialogue with the consumer." It offers lots of tips, checklists, and real-world examples to help managers get close to the customer. The book has more of a consumer-goods angle, but many of the ideas explored -- such as measuring customers' lifetime value -- also apply to business-to-business settings.
The Marketing Imagination, by Theodore Levitt (Free Press, 1986, $14.95), presents the thinking behind many of today's "hot" marketing concepts. There's good advice for business-to-business marketers in chapters headed "Differentiation -- of Anything" and "Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles." Although Levitt can be long-winded, his text should offer inspiration to managers working to break out of commodity markets.