Book Buzz: Killing Marketing

You’ve grown a successful business based upon sound marketing principles. So what if you came to realize that all you know about marketing could actually be holding you back? Marketing is on the brink of change, and those businesses that can successfully pivot their marketing strategy now will reap the rewards, as those businesses less progressive scramble to play catch-up.


Killing Marketing, by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, provides a new and shocking perspective that could change how you market your business. Through the insights of these authors, you may consider how actually “killing marketing” as we know it could be the start of a whole new way you grow your business. These two authors are the world’s top marketing experts of our age, and they begin this book with an alarming realization. Over the past two decades, we have seen a dramatic shift in both B2B and B2C buying and brand loyalty, yet the way we market has remained the same. 

Using the traditional marketing strategy, we grow our business by climbing to the top of a mountain and screaming, “Look what I have. Here is why you want to buy it.” By seasoning this message with thoughtful features and benefits, we hope to bait anyone who will listen into becoming a customer. According to Pulizzi and Rose, this is old-school, and if we continue to market this way, the world is going to move on and leave us screaming from our mountain top while no one is listening.

To beam our marketing strategy into the 21st century, the authors begin by asking three questions:

  • What if what we’ve been taught or experienced in marketing doesn’t show us the full picture?
  • What if we’ve limited our view of marketing to one area (what we know), and that is not allowing us to see the full potential of what can be accomplished (what we do not know yet)?
  • What if placing marketing solely in the marketing department is killing the approach of marketing as a strategic business process?

When you consider marketing, what comes to mind? Advertising, product brochures, sales support material? According to Pulizzi and Rose, marketing focused solely around the product or service that your business provides is what needs to be “killed.”

Through a series of very progressive examples, we read stories of how companies of all sizes are using this new strategy.  Whether it is a small business with expertise in raising chickens or a large, well established business like Red Bull or Lego, there is a clear benefit of growing an audience by offering great content.  Build an audience, and then get to know them long before you ever consider introducing a product or service. Once you really know the heartbeat of your audience, then sales will follow by a natural extension of meeting the need. 

How does this apply to my business?
So what could your business benefit from the radical marketing ideas this book presents? First of all, if you are in a small- to medium-sized business, chances are good that you ARE the marketing department. The good news here is that you have the flexibility to give this a try. With all the digital marketing tools available, it has never been more cost-effective for you to reach your target audience. Imagine potential customers flocking to your weekly blog because the content is so compelling and valuable to them that they would even pay to receive your information. Next, consider an in-person event where you are a featured expert, providing your potential customers with industry expertise that only you can succinctly and conveniently provide. Once you have this relationship with your potential customers, selling a product or service is simply a natural extension of your established customer outreach. This is how the authors propose we begin “killing marketing.”

Where do I start?
Moving forward, it’s going to be all about FIRST getting the ear of a consistent and growing audience using content that draws them into a relationship with your company. Once you have consistent two-way interaction, through digital media and in-person events, then the sales from well-positioned products and services that address the needs of a customer base you already know and who knows you will follow naturally. Over the past two decades, Pulizzi has successfully counseled businesses through this process. Begin by identifying what information you have that is of great value to your potential customers. Next, create a consistent and measurable strategy to communicate that to your target audience. Make sure that the communication is two-way, and includes both digital and in-person components. But don’t focus it on your product. Focus on your expertise and the unique way you can provide information to your audience.  

Create, Communicate, and Deliver Value to a Target Market at a Profit
As defined by the famous marketing professor Philip Kotler, this pure definition of marketing still rings true. Pulizzi and Rose are not suggesting that the principle of marketing changes. Instead of making the product or service king, the marketing of the 21st century must focus on curating the audience from which product or service sales will naturally follow. Pulizzi and Rose finish by showing how this strategy can even turn marketing into a profit center for your business.

Download a free preview of Killing Marketing.

Are you thinking of “Killing Marketing,” but you don’t feel like you have the right staff to make this happen? Innovative Outsourcing can help. Contact Kelli Kochs to get the conversation started, 404-271-1592

Thumbs Up! 

I absolutely recommend this book for you and your marketing team.

How Long? 

Allow about 5 to 6 hours to read this book. Because much of the book includes stories of great marketing examples, make the most of your commute time by listening to the Audible version.

Read This Book! 

These inspiring stories may be the catalyst that opens your mind to new opportunities using this progressive approach to marketing.