“Textbook correct” isn’t always… correct

Having written a textbook, I know there will be topics where authors are uninformed or suffer misconceptions (I sidestepped that by not covering topics I’m clueless about; so my Research Textbook doesn’t cover Cluster Analysis, or Least Squares methods in detail). Sadly, many textbooks are supposed to be ‘fully comprehensive’ so authors invariably write about subjects in which they lack knowledge &/or restate ‘pure’ (academic/theory) ideals. I get a laugh out of “It’s in the textbook, so it must be true” – Textbooks are much more reliable than wikipedia or marketing91, but fyi here are some ‘not so finer moments’ in my college’s textbooks.

One publisher of an Intro Marketing text used the wrong formulae for Markup* and Margin – then ignored my SIX YEARS of requests to fix it (*I also told them to remove ‘Markup’ altogether, since no retailer has used ‘Markup’ for.. oh… 30 years???… they ignored that request too)

A publisher recently showed a book excerpt where Quant ‘insights’ were taken from Focus Groups eg “14 out of 15 attendees agreed that…” -an error that wouldn’t have happened if the author had professional experience. Research Practice 101: you NEVER interpret numbers from Qual projects- duh!

Some Marketing Textbooks show a ‘Price/Quality’ or ‘Value/Quality’ Positioning Map (Perceptual Map). Free Tip: never show such a ‘tool’ in a Marketing meeting except to generate comic relief. Choosing vague generic axis labels for a Map will nullify its usefulness altogether. Laughably Bad.

A ‘lil chestnut’ pops up in textbooks wrt SWOT’s (a review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats, part of Situation Analysis for a Marketing Plan); “We’ll convert that Weakness into a Strength”. Really. Ohhhhh… kay. Blurt out a naive, idealistic comment like that in a Marketing meeting & you lose all credibility. [Tip: First you must shore up a Weakness –that alone is typ. a multi-year effort, often ending in failure. Worse yet, if it’s a Weakness for you, you’re prob already far behind your competitors on that factor. Tip: Just set your sights on getting the dam shored up; you can build the Hoover some other day].

This lil jewel in a textbook: “Good marketers add value to their products/services by nudging ppl up the Maslow needs hierarchy” ??? Alarm companies, dental strips, bottled water, global tire brands… have been doing it wrong all this time? Wow! They better get some ‘Good’ marketers! The author is right; I can’t wait to give up safety & go buy my car some self-actualizing tires!

Errors happen- that’s life. I’d happily support publishers that ACT after being told of errors, but this rarely happens. I bet Publisher Reps fear telling Dr I. Vohr E. Tawherr that their tome is imperfect; I doubt any of my feedback got through to the blissfully unaware authors.

This blog is sure to get me ‘free feedback’ from idealistic authors; go ahead. Maybe it’ll generate a discussion & you can tell me you know of a 5th generation family run shoe repair shop still using MarkUp. That’d be good for me to know- and help correct my ignorance. No, wait! Better yet, I’ll convert my Weakness ie ignorance of such businesses, into a Best-In-Industry expertise, a Strength!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *