Book Review May 2008
What Would Martin Say?
By Clarence B. Jones and Joel Engel
Harper/HarperCollins, April 2008
256 pp., $23.95
Having just celebrated the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one does wonder what thoughts the civil-rights leader might express in regards to some of the critical issues of the day if he were alive.
In this surprising book, Jones, one of King’s closest advisers and his personal attorney, mines his memory and uses critical judgment to share what he believes would be Dr. King’s commentary on topics such as Black leadership, illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. He writes, “I was privy to his innermost thoughts and my intention is to bring Martin Luther King alive on the page, using what I knew to demonstrate that his moral vision has survived the decades intact and is applicable to the way we live today.”
The Echo From Dealey Plaza
By Abraham Bolden
Harmony Books, March 2008
306 pp., $25.95
At the age of 25, in 1960, Abraham Bolden proudly joined the Secret Service; hence the subtitle of his memoir, “The True Story of the First African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the Assassination of JFK.”
Bolden’s enthusiasm and idealism, however, were quickly challenged by racist attitudes he encountered from fellow agents. And the “echo” he refers to, here, is the deeply felt emotion and impact he still feels all these years after President Kennedy’s murder. Not only does Bolden write a touching account of his life as an agent during his time of duty and years afterwards, he also offers a new perspective on the shooting of the president.
—Clarence V. Reynolds
Marketing Automation: Practical Steps to More Effective Direct Marketing
Author: Jeff LeSueur
Pages: 352 pages
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2007
Reviewed by Soroya Brantley
These days, it would be virtually impossible for a business to survive without effective marketing. As more data become available, businesses are better able to streamline their marketing strategies. While access to data is important, it is equally important to understand the data and optimize its use. In his book Marketing Automation: Practical Steps to More Effective Direct Marketing, Jeff LeSueur draws on the knowledge and experience he amassed from 13 years, combined, as director of database marketing for BMG Direct and in marketing, research and development for SAS Marketing.
Generally, marketing automation is the use of software to automate such processes as customer data integration and campaign management. LeSueur says it “seeks to create a platform to drive more effective marketing, which will drive growth for a business.” He dedicates Part 1 of his book to marketing financials, with chapters such as “Profit and Loss Fundamentals,” “Measuring Marketing Effectiveness” and “Improving Response: Modeling and Analytics” that show why revenue, returns and overhead are key considerations when gathering and reviewing customer data. The section discusses ways to analyze marketing for efficiency and how to determine marketing costs. Direct mail-based promotions, for example, include costs for paper, envelopes and postage, as well as printing costs, while e-mail-based promotions may be simpler with only creative costs and the cost of the e-mail service.
Part 2, “Marketing Automation,” delves into the heart of the book’s premise. Chapters such as “Financial and Marketing Information Integrating,” “Data Acquisition, Storage and Retrieval” and “Data Warehouse Hardware and Software Configuration” discuss why marketing automation is essential and how to use this revolutionary idea. Because the information needed for effective marketing is not available in any one place — revenue data may be stored in one database and detailed customer records in another, for instance — those tasked with marketing often do not see the whole picture. This creates “marketing information gaps” that must be addressed, LeSueur says. He notes the importance of the right hardware and software for faster and more comprehensive access to data.
Part 3, “Advanced Topics,” focuses on “Optimizing Contact Strategy” and “Strategic Marketing.” Of particular interest in this section is the notion of strategic contact management, which LeSueur explains as the amount of contact marketing has with customers and the quality of that contact. The idea is that marketing could overwhelm a customer to the point where the importance of the contact with that customer is ignored. Data therefore must be available that show how many times a customer is contacted and whether or not a response was generated.
Marketing Automation is not for everyone. It is not a typical self-help or business-advice tome. However, if you are searching for more precise segmentation of data, if you desire more effective and targeted direct-marketing campaigns and if you want to focus marketing resources on the right opportunities, the book definitely is for you. Read it slowly and carefully.