Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing GuideDuct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is no silver bullet for the small business owner, but this book might be helpful to many

After having read two or three of these marketing books targeted at small businesses, I have come to the conclusion that the best thing for the genre is to follow some sort of middle way between being a haphazard assortment of tips and “secrets” and a proper system in which all the parts of a method click together like a well-oiled machine. This book achieves that to a considerable degree, by being a little of both. I do not think there is actually any single marketing book that will serve as a silver bullet. You have to scavenge around three or four similar publications and take from every single one a little bit of knowledge here, a strategy tip there, and so build your own marketing plan.

Seen from that point of view, the question is: how many nuggets of wisdom does “Duct Tape Marketing” contain? Quite a few, according to my woefully unscientific system of counting how many Post-It notes I attached to the pages that contained something worth remembering. A total of sixteen, which for a 280-page book is quite a lot. What I liked most is that it makes you think. I have had a website for several years that has brought me very few clients, but the fact is I put it up without investing much thought into it, under the unconscious belief that just having my own domain and website would be enough of a differentiator. This is where a book like Jantsch’s can help. In a no-nonsense style, he tells you things that are almost Zen-like in their profundity: “Find something that separates you from your competition: become it and speak it to everyone you meet. Quality isn’t it, good service isn’t it, fair pricing—not it. These are all expectations” (p. 21). Now that is an insight worth paying for. The process of working out your Core Message and the Talking Logo —rather than being simply gimmicky marketing-speak (which I am wary of)— genuinely sound like worthwhile exercises for people who need to sit down and promote their businesses for the first time. The fact that, contrary to other similar “guru” books, Jantsch does not plug his seminars or websites too obtrusively is another point in the author’s favor. All in all, I think there will be something here for everyone who is starting to rethink their marketing efforts.

On the minus side, there are a lot of careless typos, something I find in a lot of the stuff put out by marketing specialists, which is rather amazing, given that marketing is basically about presentation. And what does sloppy writing and feckless proofreading say about you?

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