Punk Marketing – Book Review

From the moment you see the cover, you’ll know this is not your ordinary, stuffy marketing book. No, it’s a refreshing change from the norm, with a cool punk theme! Well that’s a bit different!

The book is written by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons. You may recognise the name Richard Laermar as the co-host of TV’s Taking Care of Business. With their years of experience and their quirky sense of humour combined, this book will definitely not bore you. I think it would be a great book for any marketing student looking to learn in a fun and entertaining manner. There are enough dull marketing books, this one truly stands out from the crowd.

The main point of the book, is the emphasis on the consumer. Brands become popular, not because the business makes it happen, all businesses try to do this, but because the consumers take to the brand, they talk about it, they share it on social media, they adopt the brand as their own and take pride in the logo and ethos of the brand.

Another concept put forward is that marketing must be superb and innovative, or it is worse than useless. With marketing there should be no half measures. This is where the punk rock ideology comes in. Love it or hate it, punk rock gets your attention, the music and the style is in your face, it’s attention grabbing. No holds are barred. From the start, punk got right on in there and shook up the world. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do that with your business? The book encourages you to take some risks, to step outside of your comfort zone and really push your business forward with your marketing techniques rather than just casually plodding along being mediocre.

Within this book you’ll find the perfect mix of sound advice and humour. You’ll enjoy reading the book, and you’ll find you’ve learnt something too, without having the hard slog of reading a turgid stale old text book. It’s one to read in bed at night that won’t send you to sleep.

Here’s an interesting excerpt manifesto and idealisms from Punk Marketing


Article One: Avoid Risk and Die
In times of change the greatest risk is to take none at all.

Article Two: Why Not Ask “Why Not?”
Assumptions are just that. They are in no way true. Anything you assume is usually a half-truth or a generalization that once served a useful purpose but now hinders truly creative solutions.

Article Three: Take a Strong Stand
Trying to be all things to everyone inevitably results in meaning little to anybody.

Article Four: Don’t Pander
Customers are important but they are not necessarily right.

Article Five: Give Up Control
Consumers now control brands – end of debate. Smart marketers recognize this and embrace it rather than fight the powerful truth.

Article Six: Expose Yourself
A relationship of trust between brand and consumer, like that between two people, is built upon honesty.

Article Seven: Make Enemies
All brands need to position themselves against an alternative. It may seem counterintuitive but having an enemy is a good thing for a brand.

Article Eight: Leave Them Wanting More
Avoid the temptation to reveal all of your assets at once. Or the masters have said, you don’t teach them everything you know. You teach them everything they know.

Article Nine: Outthink the Competition
Think smarter than the other dude. Do not be led into temptation by the fast buck and don’t outspend them. That is the definition of fool’s gold.

Article Ten: Don’t Be Seduced By Technology
The media is not the message anymore. The message is the message is the message.

Article Eleven: Know Who You Are
If you don’t understand what it is that you are good at, you might be tempted to try to be something you are plainly not.

Article Twelve: No More Marketing Bullshit
Get to the point. Express it clearly and simply. Einstein said – we believe he meant marketers – “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

Article Thirteen: Don’t Let Others Set Your Standards
Sorry to tell you this, but good no longer means anything, while mediocre does more harm than doing nothing. We’ll repeat that: mediocre does more harm than doing nothing.

Article Fourteen: Use The Tools of The Revolution
Go write your own manifesto. Remind yourself of its articles whenever you lack resolve.

Article Fifteen: The Question Mark, Oh Participant
This is where you help. The point of this revolution if to make it about interaction and not dictation; so you decide what the last article should be.


Marketers, simplify a consumer’s life! The Punk Marketing Consumer Power Charter must be posted on the fridge. Preferably the one in the office…

Punk Marketers of the World:

1. Consumers are looking to us to help simplify their lives so we will do our utmost to help them get simple.

2. Consumers have a right to expect a clear education about products being offered to enable them to make informed choices. That is our duty. Labeling should make it easy for consumers to quickly grasp what the product does and what it contains.

3. We are responsible for keeping the number of choices to a minimum: less is most definitely it.

4. Each product variant, line extension, or sub-brand should be distinctive form any other we offer and meet a real consumer need.

5. Me-too products that copy competitor items without trying to offer a distinct point of differentiation represent lazy thinking.

6. We need to use our marketing prowess responsibly and only when we have something meaningful to say.

7. Marketing foisting itself upon consumers is offensive. It will create antagonism to the brand in particular and marketing ways.

8. There are no-go places marketing professionals need to respect at all times. That’s right, Coke, at all times. Leave the potty alone.

9. We need to do more listening and learning from signals we get from consumers about their feelings toward marketing.

10. As marketers we will take the high ground and be a champion for consumers – never their enemies.

Overall a refreshing book in many ways, from the style in which it is written, to the concepts included in the book. If you’re looking for something a little different to add to your marketing library, Punk Marketing is a must buy.

Lincoln Martin can clear the path of chip-stomping antics and connect with your potential customers, play and involve. To learn more about our kickass marcom solutions, email ­­­­ Ems @ lincolnmartin.com.

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