I will admit that I picked this book up with grave misgivings. I was asked by the author’s assistant to review the book but declined to do so. Coincidentally, a week later, one of my clients was looking for a way to get his leadership team on the same page when it came to marketing and sales. So, I picked up the Kindle version of the book and promised I’d let him know what I thought.
By the time I finished the introduction, I was shaking my head in agreement with Mr. Dib. Halfway through the book, I was confident enough to recommend that my client get the book for himself. Let me explain some of the reasons why I believe this book is worth your time to read.
The chapters are in a logical order that builds from one marketing principle to another while working toward completing the plan. There are frequent referrals between concepts that tie everything together.
I appreciate the way Dib starts each chapter with a summary and a list of what he will be telling you in that chapter. Then, at the end of each chapter, he has an action item and instructions for filling in one block of the nine-block marketing plan.
It is refreshing to read that Dib believes there is no longer (and maybe never was) a reason for not doing the work of determining the return on investment (ROI) for your marketing budget. Technological advances in digital media make parts of the ROI equation very easy to manage. Print media is also much more targeted and traceable than in the past. So, no excuses! Continuous improvement in marketing effectiveness is possible and required for a well-run business.
Dib also dispels the myth that print and direct marketing are “dead,” or dying. He drives home the concept that all the media can be useful and should be used in a mix that is most effective for your target market. Also, yes, some of the determination of the proper combination will be trial-and-error which is why measuring is so critical.
On the target market subject, Dib suggests that a narrow focus is best. We cannot be all things to all people in all markets. Combine a narrow focus with the creation of a customer avatar, and you will be able to create a powerful model for marketing and sales personnel to use as a guide for their work.
There are many other great tips and ideas for a highly effective marketing program; too many to itemize here. As I mentioned above, it is well worth your time to read what Dib has to say.
Marketing and sales are very closely intertwined. Generally, the sales process is where I disagree with most sales and marketing trainers or authors on these topics. Try as they might, they cannot seem to get to the point where they stop making the process about making the sale. Many start out saying the right things: “It’s about the buyer; You must add value; You must build trust, etc.” Then, inevitably, they wind up inculcating tactics that make things all about the salesperson making the sale. Find out what your customer needs – so you can make the deal. Build a relationship with your customer, because that is what will make them comfortable placing the order. Always be closing.
Dib has come the closest I’ve seen so far to reaching my own sales philosophy – if you want someone to buy, stop selling. People want to buy; they do not want to be sold – no matter how pleasant you are as a salesperson. Today, if I want or need something, I have researched it already, and I either have it or have decided it’s not in my budget. Therefore, if you’re trying to manipulate me (no matter what fancy tactic you use) into purchasing something I don’t need or can’t afford, then you’re serving yourself and not me as the customer.
The most egregious sales tactics today are those based on neuroscience. They are designed to use new knowledge about how the human brain works to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do rather than help them understand what it is they want to do. To me, doing that is evil. As a vendor, my job is to be found. That, being found, is why this book is so important and worth reading.
Dib uses an interesting story to define some of the common terms we use around marketing and sales. “Here’s the simplest, most jargon-free definition of marketing you’re ever likely to come across: If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying, ‘Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,’ that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and, ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales. And if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.”
As you might imagine, my difficulty is only with the portion that states, you “explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths.” Just show them the booths. They’ll figure out if they want to spend time and money having fun.
As I said, Dib comes closest to meeting my “don’t sell” sales philosophy. Moreover, he is right on target with the marketing, branding, and promoting philosophy. This book is the most lucid and most thorough book on this topic that I’ve read to date. Also, Dib has more useful resources on his website for those who want to dig deeper. I highly recommend The 1-Page Marketing Plan.