THE NEXT ECONOMY: Will You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Elliott Ettenberg, Author . McGraw-Hill $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-07-137965-6

Ettenberg may be the only Internet marketing sage who can deliver his message with a straight face now that most dot-com businesses have collapsed, since he always preached gloom and doom. The first sentence of his introduction says, "nothing works anymore," and Ettenberg (Bozell Retail's former CEO) proceeds to criticize every aspect of current marketing practice. In "Marketing Impotence," for example, he says, "I am frankly scared... I see the coming decade bringing a series of social and economic changes that will cause a business upheaval unlike any we have seen in generations." In "The Failure of the Four P's," he tells readers that corporations "have reinvented literally every aspect of their business except marketing" and that the tools with which all marketing strategy is built no longer work. He identifies demographic and cultural changes that will accelerate and make it almost impossible for any consumer business to deliver consistent profits. The second (and weaker) half of his book discusses solutions. Ettenberg urges businesses to "delight" customers with the four Rs—Relationships, Retrenchment, Relevancy and Rewards—and to be "proactive about delivering and fulfilling the customers' wants." However, he provides little useful advice about how to do these things consistently and on a budget, making this portion of the book more about cheerleading than coaching. (Feb.)

Forecast:Ettenberg is a well-known marketing guru who is often quoted in the business press. McGraw-Hill has allocated $75,000 to a national promo campaign. The message, especially its downbeat side, is original and provocative. All this makes a solid contender for marketing bestseller of the year.

Reviewed on: 01/21/2002
Release date: 12/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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