Int. Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, Volume 3, Issue 1, 2008
Book Review:
Essentials of Marketing
Eric Shiu
Business School, University of Birmingham
University House, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom
Tel: +44-121-4146529
Fax: +44-121-4147791
Colin Cheng
Business School, University of Birmingham
University House, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom
Tel: +44-07910353262
Fax: +44-121-4147791
Book Information
Book Title: Essentials of Marketing
Author: Frances Brassington and Stephen Pettitt
Publisher: Prentice Hall: Financial Times Press, UK
Edition: 2nd edition
Year: 2007
Pages: 545 pages
ISBN: 978-1405858281
Price: £35.99
Keywords: marketing
Eric Shiu and Colin Cheng
‘Essentials of Marketing’ is a condensed version of the same two authors’ hugely popular book
entitled ‘Principles of Marketing’. Although ‘Essentials of Marketing’ is a condensed version, it
comprises all the key topics at an appropriate depth necessary for an introductory marketing student to
grasp the knowledge of the subject. These key topics cover, among others, buyer behaviour, market
segmentation, marketing research, product, price, place, promotion, marketing planning, management
and control.
The book is well structured and the tone of writing is clear, and thus the reader should not find it
difficult at all to follow. There are a number of pedagogical features, such as corporate social
responsibility cases, end-of-chapter questions and the eye-catching text design (e.g. Spiderman) on the
book, as well as student companion websites off the book. These features, which are all well designed
and well equipped with corresponding materials, provide additional support for the readers to enhance
their learning effectiveness. For example, the corporate social responsibility cases, including
counterfeit drugs in the Place chapter and product recycling in the Advertising and Personal Selling
chapter, helps readers to taste the flavour of the emerging ethical trend in marketing. However, among
all the characteristics and features of this book, we believe that the two of them are crucial in helping
the book to stand out against so many competing books in the market.
First, Brassington and Pettitt have used numerous real-life examples throughout the book to
support their explanation of specific marketing concepts. For example, in the Price chapter, they used
altogether 15 real-life examples, ranging from Andrex toilet tissue to the hotel accommodation sector.
These examples, all interesting, concise and well-presented, are derived predominantly from the UK
and European market context and therefore a reader in the UK or continental Europe would find them
familiar and even emotionally attached. We feel that these well-selected examples, which readers may
have prior knowledge, experience or attitude, can promote deep learning. In addition, the case studies
at the end of each chapter, which can be regarded as conclusive examples of bigger proportion and
greater pedagogical importance, provide an explicit link to the knowledge contained in corresponding
chapters through the questions at the end of the case studies. For example, in the Product chapter, the
author put forward the Mini case study and posed questions for students to answer. These questions,
such as ‘What is the core product that the Mini offers compared with the mainstream BMW range?’
and ‘How could the Mini’s core product be translated into tangible, augmented and potential
products?’, serve well the purpose of linking theory to practice.
Second, the book has been written in a very lively manner. The academic knowledge of
introductory marketing has been well developed. There is little room for extra knowledge not yet
provided in the current publishing market that a new author can fill. Nevertheless, Brassington and
Pettitt managed to organise the book in a way that some topics of marketing, which have been usually
covered less than adequately among current introductory marketing textbooks, or have received strong
interest among academicians and practitioners, are presented in a designated substantial part of a
chapter or a separate chapter. For example, business-to-business marketing, which has been usually
much less covered than business-to-consumer marketing in a typical introductory marketing textbook,
has been covered in appropriate depth. Service and non-profit marketing, as well as e-marketing and
new media, have witnessed increasing importance, and the authors have rightly assigned two separate
chapters to deal with these two topics. This organisation of contents is definitely a bonus for the
quality and appeal of the book. However, we believe it is the style in presenting the contents, rather
than the contents themselves, that becomes a more important success factor of the book. The style of
writing is not only well-structured and clear, but also hugely lively. For a reader who has very little
prior knowledge of marketing, the book, for its attractive writing style, can become the magnetic
gateway through which the reader is happily interested in exploring the sea of knowledge of
introductory marketing.
In view of the popularity of Brassington and Pettitt’s authorship in introductory marketing,
‘Essentials of Marketing’ is likely to have an updated third edition in a few years’ time. For this, we
suggest the following points that the authors could consider for further improving their work:
1. The authors introduced a number of important branches of introductory marketing in the
first chapter, and have provided designated space for discussing most of them, including
business-to-business marketing, service and non-profit marketing as well as e-marketing
and new media, in greater depth. If book space allows, the updated edition can assign two
additional chapters to discuss small business marketing and international marketing, whose
importance has been noted in the first chapter but which have not been adequately covered
in the current edition.
Int. Journal of Business Science and Applied Management /
2. In the chapter of buyer behaviour, the terms ‘buyer’, ‘consumer’ and ‘customer’ are not
clearly and consistently used. In our opinion, all three should mean differently from each
other. If the authors believe that they can mean the same, they should clarify prior to the
wide use of the terms. Besides, in the same chapter, the use of the term ‘consumer
customers’ looks a bit odd.
3. We believe that the four Ps should be nearly equally important, with no one of them being
significantly more important than the other. In the book, there are three chapters for
promo tion, and one chapter for each of the other Ps. This may convey an implicit message
to readers that promotion is the most important element in the marketing mix.
4. Segmentation has been discussed in depth in a designated chapter. On the contrary,
targeting and positioning seem to be inadequately covered.