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Book Review of THE EDGE OF ZERO : HIGH TECH MARKETING IN THE AGE OF FALLING GROWTH

This is a very useful and engaging book for new entrepreneurs and existing businesses which cater to the High Tech industry. The authors Peter Gasperini and Abhijit Athavale have done a fantastic job in highlighting the importance of marketing team for businesses in today’s era where High Tech has become a part of our everyday lives. In these tough economic times with a shrinking economic pie due to reduced consumer purchasing power, marketing team has a very important role to play in success of any business.

The authors demonstrate the importance of a marketing team and portray it as a bi-directional link that allows communication to flow between the engineering teams in a factory and the sales team into the field. They believe that consumers have become much more tight fisted and ultra-sensitive to value. However, this behavior of consumer’s could also have something to do with loss of consumer purchasing power due to macroeconomic policies which is leading to shrinking consumer base.

The authors also talk about the change that has been happening in the silicon valley and demonstrate an evidence of silicon disappearing from the silicon valley over years. They consider the mergers and acquisitions happening in the semiconductor industry to be bureaucratization of the silicon valley which has steadily stifled its entrepreneurial spirit. As veterans of silicon valley, they recommend having a “Lean Chip Startup” approach that would liberate entrepreneurial engineering teams that will allow them to experiment freely without fear of failure for future innovations to happen in the valley.

In one of interesting quotes by the authors – ” It takes a triggering event to move out of stagnation into the revitalization phase, and as most successful inventors and entrepreneurs can personally attest, it requires a clean break from the past and a complete rejection of the current order of things in order to create something entirely new. ” I believe this quote applies perfectly to the current quagmire that our economy is in and in order to move forward from here, we need to reject the current order of things and create a better economic system that would usher in prosperity for all.

As a technical person, I was able to learn a lot of concepts about marketing from this book. I came to understand that role of marketing goes beyond helping with sales, customer service, managing programs, running promotion and Ads and controlling pricing, etc. The authors define marketing with 4 Ps viz. Price, Product, Promotion and Place. They believe that marketing team should be highly dynamic and not just technical or empathetic technical or strategic. They also believe that flexibility, adaptability, technical acumen and people skills are part and parcel of being an effective marketer .

The authors also provide a journey of changes that have occurred in marketing world with the transition from traditional form of marketing to digital marketing. I was surprised to know the staggering statistics of low revenues of many social networking sites and their inability to generate a good revenue per user as compared to traditional marketing media like television. This has also left the marketing professionals clueless about the strategy to generate more revenue for their parent companies.

This is a very good book for small, medium and large businesses to understand what changes they need to make in the marketing side of their organization to ensure that they are able to sell their products in these lean times. These recommendations are necessary for the survival of the businesses until we have some significant changes in our economic policies to help us get out of this quagmire that we are in today. It is a must read for all businesses which are struggling in these lean times and need an introspection as to where they might need to improve.

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