If everyone in your marketing department quit today, would sales drop? Probably not, says author Mark Stevens in Your Marketing Sucks, because most companies are just throwing money out the window with splashy ad campaigns.

Stevens, a 20-year marketing veteran for companies like IBM and American Express, lets loose his scorn for high profile, million-dollar ads that may be creative but conveniently forget about making sales. Stevens' rule of thumb is simple: either marketing efforts generate a measurable return on investment or "they suck." Stevens is confrontational and opinionated, and he gives plain-spoken commentary on the world's biggest companies like Ford Motors and Neiman Marcus. Most of the "good" marketing examples come from Stevens' own practice, making the advice a little one-sided. On the flip side, he reveals plenty of pearls and detailed action plans that could only come from real-world experience.

Stevens' energy and passion make his relatively common sense ideas seem revolutionary. Test, execute and monitor your marketing efforts every time. Seems like a no-brainer. Start being original rather than copying the competition. Duh! Stevens urges managers to stop all marketing efforts to see what's working and what isn't. It's radical, but Stevens' conclusions are contagious enough to convert even the most skeptical.

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