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  • Writer's pictureEdward Nevraumont

Marketing BS — Annotated Table of Contents

In MARKETING BS, Edward Nevraumont exposes the propaganda being pushed by the marketing-industrial complex. Backed by compelling evidence, Edward explains why you are wasting your time with personalization, segmentation, loyalty programs, fancy commercials, and blind adherence to “data-driven marketing.” Then he shares what DOES work with shockingly simple logic. MARKETING BS is your invitation to stop marketing with your ego and start marketing for effectiveness.

MARKETING BS hits bookshelves and e-readers in 2019, published by Lioncrest.

PART I: Marketing BS

Introduction: Marketing is mostly BS and what’s left is mostly simple

Story of CMO who wanted fancy sales/marketing integration, but wasn’t focused on getting salespeople to answer the phone when customers called. My career and how I became convinced most marketing is BS. How marketers are chasing shiny objects and forgetting about the low hanging fruit. Why complicated marketing solutions usually don’t work and are a waste of time. How to set your priorities.

The History of Marketing

Medicine in the 1800s. Random control trials. How most marketing was N=1. Finance in the 1980s. Direct response marketing. How the internet changed things. Why we’ve gone too far. What Jeff Bezos thinks. The two types of marketers today and why they are both wrong.

Personalization is BS

Amazon is the best in the world at personalization — and they aren’t very good at it. Why do you expect to be better? Why the Target story is BS. The story of the pregnancy of our first child. More about Amazon. The challenge of making ONE piece of good content (let alone a personalized one for each customer). What type of personalization actually does work. Do you actually need to target anyway? Why we overrate personalization.

Advertising is BS

Mid-20th century oil lease auctions. The winner’s curse. The only two ways to win an advertising auction. Performance marketing. Display marketing. Traditional marketing channels. Billboards in LA vs NY vs SF. Tourism boards. Sports sponsorships. Marketing with your ego.

Market Research is BS

Elizabeth Wettlaufer and senior serial killers. Carecheck. New Coke. The history of market research. The painting experiment. Why companies do market research. Roger Martin cancelling all market research at P&G. Desirability bias. How to do market research right.

Virality is BS

CubeDuel. Viral coefficient calculation. Viral successes and why they succeeded. Viral exhaustion. Prediction. Duncan Watts: Everything is obvious once you know the answer. The music experiment. Nina Jacobson and Bears and Pirates. Influencers. Charity. Jonah Berger (Contagious) and having a hammer in search of nails. How to do viral marketing. Hunting rabbits and elephants.

Branding is BS

A Place for Mom. Fechner, Zajonc and liking what you know. Tampax re-launch. A new logo for an insurance company. Aaker and brand personality. Product category and market share. Good and bad product names. McDonalds has nothing to do with Scotland. Funcierge. Customer personas. Heterogeneity. What matters. Being seen. Being remembered. Reach and availability. Diminishing returns to frequency. Method hand soap.

Discounts and promotions are BS

Ron Johnson, Apple Store and JC Penny. Jerome’s furniture. Short vs long term. Business history rhymes. Email replaces discounts. Great content. REI.

Loyalty and Loyalty Programs are BS

Flying to Phoenix. Airline and hotel loyalty programs. How to destroy value with math. Why they never stop. Why you aren’t an airline. Fringe benefits. Five issues. The bigger issue. Mind share. You want the people you can’t get. Call them customer acquisition programs. Coalition programs. How to create loyal customers (find them and grow). Loyalty myths (like loyalty). The dangers of organizational structure.

Testing and performance marketing are BS

Science is good. ESP. The un-paradox of choice. Pre-registration. There are no sacred cows. We are testing wrong and we can’t stop. Flickr. Scientific = good. AG Lafley and ignoring the data. Groupon and the second email. Hotels in the winter. McKinsey and Apple stores. Correlation is not causation (really!). Can’t test long term impact. Pricing power. When to trust intuition vs data. How McKinsey does it. Reducing churn in Africa. Freestyle chess and centaurs. Why ESP is still not real.

Pilots are BS

Organ donation and nudging it. A Place for Mom and The Knot. Scaling development projects. Charter schools. Paying attention.

Attribution is BS

Last touch. Marketing mix modeling. Three answers. Reporting vs selling. What matters. Incrementality. Cannibalization. Re-marketing. Brand search. (Dangerous) Incentives. Simple rules. On their own terms.

PART II: Marketing is Simple

The Goal of Marketing

Profit center vs cost center. Money machines. “What does monetization have to do with marketing?” How to grow.

Be Good Enough

McKinsey selection. NFL kickers. Basic stuff is hard enough. Hard stuff. We just don’t know. Halo effect. Lots of things to be good at.

The Marketing Path

Don’t drop the baton. Digital didn’t change the world. Awareness. Consideration. Availability. Convenience. Monetization. Can’t make it up with volume. Fixing the bucket. Raising your price. Search scale refine.


Monetization is everything. If they don’t pay they don’t want it. Create value. Capture value. Expedia vs Yelp. Marketing is business. The strategy is the marketing. Pricing. Lifetime value. Welcome programs. Humans. Email. Exhaust. Convenience. Internalizing.

The Search

Tylenol vs Vitamins. Unique channels. Unique stories. New channels. Advertisers lag users. Scale. Tracking and late funnel channels. Forecasting and lifetime value. Early funnel channels. Find a way to do TV.


Paid search. The London Olympics. Wine delivery. SEO. The arms race. Google is nuclear. Do good stuff. Email. Selling boots. New is good. What would you open? Stop tricking people for your metrics. Why you can afford television. Men are losing their hair. Build for everything. Three things to talk about.

Diminishing Returns

It has to stop. Taking over the world. Lakes vs rivers. Square root rule. Why you need new channels. The first impression and reach, reach, reach. Doing things that don’t scale. Sell the bar in your building. Things that can’t scale. Team vs idea vs TAM.

Postscript: Your marketing career

The important job. Boring industries. Every job is the same job. IQ vs experience. Do the right thing.


Efficient markets. Why does BS exist? Businesses vs the people running businesses. Nectar. “How big is your team?” Why no one cuts their marketing budget voluntarily. Why this book isn’t for CMOs. Small stuff matters. Don’t be niche. Be simple. Meet needs. They don’t care about you.

Would you like some free summer reading? Please consider joining the team of early readers. You’d receive a free copy of MARKETING BS a couple of months before launch. In exchange, I would ask you to write an honest review on the release date. If you're interested, please drop me a line at

Keep it simple,



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