Cover image for Radical marketing : from Harvard to Harley, lessons from ten that broke the rules and made it big
Radical marketing : from Harvard to Harley, lessons from ten that broke the rules and made it big
Hill, Sam, 1953-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : HarperBusiness, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 277 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5415.13 .H547 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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How did the Grateful Dead use its fanatical following to build a $100 millionbrand that still thrives today? How did upstart Boston Beer Company--makers of Sam Adams--prevail over rival Anheuser-Busch without an advertising budget? And how did lams create the premium pet food market and leap from $16 million to $600 million in sales in just fifteen years, while charging twice the price of competitor Ralston-Purina? The answer: radical marketing.

In this fresh, provocative book, Sam Hill and Glenn Rifkin identify the mar-keting strategies that have enabled ten innovative companies to emerge asindustry leaders. What do these organizations have in common? Each is intune emotionally with its customer base, allowing them to glean superior marketing insight without spending millions of dollars. Each is more focused on the big picture--growth and expansion--rather than short-term profits. And,despite their current success, each started out with little more than a passion for their product. Engrossing, informative, and invaluable, Radical Marketing demonstrates how any company, large or small, can achieve unprecedented success through inventive and revolutionary tactics.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This is a fascinating, must-read marketing book by a consultant and a business journalist who urge companies not only to break traditional marketing rules but also to design a whole new game. The authors describe radical marketers and identify 10 notable ones, including Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Iams Company, Boston Beer, EMC Corp., Snap-On-Tools, and the Harvard Business School. Traditional marketing is big, expensive, complex, and heavily reliant on advertising. Radical marketing has a strong visceral tie to a specific audience--radical marketeers "look" like their market. Their only reality is a quality product and the person using the product. The authors' 10 rules for radical marketing include the CEO's owning the marketing function; a small marketing department; seeking growth and expansion over profits; and respect for the customers while meeting with them personally to develop new ideas. Radical marketers do something different, something impossible that bucks tradition in their industry. Although some of the advice is not new, the authors skillfully challenge the common understanding of marketing with valuable new rules. --Mary Whaley

Library Journal Review

Hill, a veteran marketing consultant, and Rifkin, a business writer for the New York Times, discuss how ten companies or entities (including Harley Davidson, The Grateful Dead, Harvard Business School, the Boston Beer Company, Iams Company, and Virgin Atlantic Airways) view the market differently than do traditional marketers with huge departments, big budgets, and standard techniques. In a very readable style, the authors define and compare traditional and radical marketing practices. This analysis is followed by ten informative case studies. The final chapter examines how some of these marketing innovations can be applied to traditional marketing, possibly turning some marketing professionals into "trad/rads." Marketing managers and business students alike will find many timely and thought-provoking ideas here. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.‘Steven J. Mayover, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Getting to Radical In 1982 Clyde Fessler was asked to start a club. At the time, Fessler was the advertising and sales promotion manager at Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company, which was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Just recently repurchased from its parent company, AMF, by a die-hard group of thirteen Harley executives, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle company was on life support, barely breathing after a decade-long onslaught by the Japanese motorcycle makers and a continuing string of poor management decisions by AMF. The Harley brand, once synonymous with freedom, rebellion, and red-blooded American individualism, had been tattered by years of poor quality, fierce competition, and a dwindling market. The last of what was once a group of more than two hundred American motorcycle manufacturers, Harley was clearly at its final reckoning. The company had just one more chance to grow from survival mode into a new era of prosperity. Fessler was a member of the company's marketing strategy team. An outspoken iconoclast and a risk taker, he was very much like the other members of Harley's new management team. With minimal resources and amid harsh economic conditions, the team had taken on the daunting task of resuscitating the Harley brand. Among other responsibilities, Fessler was asked by then chief executive, Vaughn Beals, to start a factory-sponsored club for Harley owners. What might have seemed a low-priority item for a struggling company was to become a critical marketing weapon for Harley. Fessler understood the reasons why. In addition to being a Harley manager, he was also a Harley customer, a bearded, leather-clad biker who rode with packs of Harley lovers and understood intimately the emotional attachments Harley owners felt to their bikes. Even in the company's blackest days, a Harley-Davidson was more than a motorcycle-it was a way of life for its owner. And Harley had effectively transcended its 1950s image as the bike of choice for outlaw riders like the Hell's Angels. Harley riders might like beer and black leather jackets and boots, but they were honest, hardworking, law-abiding citizens. Fessler, of course, understood that Harley riders liked to gather, to ride, to rally and meet and swap tales about their bikes and their lives. This club would be an important link in reestablishing the bond between the company and its customers. More important, it would provide a community for the Harley nation. Fessler foresaw a club that would be different. It would offer members perks like the ability to rent a Harley in any city where they might be traveling. It would have dozens of chapters so that customers all over the country could join a regional branch. It would join forces with a major charitable foundation and sponsor rallies around the country. And it would be called the Harley Owners Group, or HOG, a play on the popular name for Harleys. "Hog" had always had a negative connotation-a loud, obnoxious, road-hogging bike ridden by outlaw motorcycle gangs. But Fessler believed he could turn that negative into a positive by providing club members with an authentic identity they could proudly own. HOG was officially introduced in 1983. Fessler met with the Harley dealers and designated a single dealership in each city or region as the host of the local HOG chapter. Newsletters and later a club magazine were used to communicate the few rules at the outset. In the spring of 1984, Fessler and Beals attended the first HOG rally in Gardenia, California; Fessler swallowed hard when only twenty-eight people showed up. He had hoped to build an organization of three hundred clubs across the United States that would boast 100,000 members. This was a humbling start. But despite its financial woes, Harley stayed with the club. Beals and the other Harley executives never faltered in supporting the club, and Fessler believed deeply in the "Field of Dreams" theory: "If you build it, they will come." And come they did. Obviously, the club was just one factor in a series of strategic and radical decisions that fueled the company's remarkable rebirth. But as Harley-Davidson emerged from its brush with oblivion, stronger and more successful than ever, the club flourished beyond Fessler's richest fantasies. Without an elaborate and expensive advertising campaign, Harley promoted the club through its dealer network with newsletters, posters, and word of mouth. Today HOG has more than 350,000 members and nearly 1,000 chapters around the world. The club sponsors hundreds of rallies each year, providing the structure and foundation for a worshipful and loyal Harley customer base. Every five years, HOG sponsors a massive birthday party for Harley-Davidson, an event entirely run and organized by employees inside Harley and volunteers from among HOG's members. HOG is just one example of Harley's remarkable and decidedly nontraditional marketing prowess. And Harley is just one example of what we call "radical marketing." Simply stated, radical marketers are those who have achieved extraordinary success without the modern machinery of professional marketing. To be sure, Harley-Davidson today is a highly profitable corporation with a sophisticated marketing department and advertising know-how. In 1984, however, Harley-Davidson's limited resources were stretched as far as they could go. The company would reach this pinnacle by eschewing the traditional marketing formulas of giant brand-driven marketers like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Walt Disney. Though most radical marketers lack the deep pockets and vast resources of the traditional marketing behemoths, their success is no accident. Some of the techniques they use-tight brand control, for instance, and highly efficient customer loyalty programs-are those of classic marketing. But how they apply those strategies is radically different. - The Essence of Radical - In the hunt for radical marketers, we found an eclectic group of professionals-engineers, rock stars, lawyers, academics, consultants, technologists-whose resumes hardly resemble that of a professional marketer. If there was a single trait common to all the individuals identified, it was an exceptional level of intelligence. Another striking characteristic: most had no formal marketing background at all. Each in a sense invented the principles of marketing for himself or herself. Perhaps this is more than coincidence-with no formal marketing training, they drove their organizations to great success and achievement by ignoring academic marketing theories and bucking conventional wisdom. (Continues...) Excerpted from Radical Marketing by Sam Hill Copyright (c) 2003 by Sam Hill Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.