Looking back over the past 12 months, here is a selection of books that practitioners of direct response marketing and advertising will find of interest and value.
In the “No B.S.” range from Dan Kennedy came this offering…
The two big themes of the book are that every business really should have an active customer retention strategy and that referrals come from that active implementation of an ongoing relationship management system.
I’m a big fan of all the “No B.S.” books and this is no exception. It deals with a neglected area of business success in a straightforward way and with plenty of actionable ideas. It’s a relatively short book (under 200 pages) and in some areas it’s more a primer than an in-depth treatment of the material.
These are minor criticisms. I’d regard this as one of the essential core books in the series and it deserves a place in the library of any serious marketer (and business owner).
Next, also from Dan Kennedy…
Dan Kennedy has personally sold well over $150 million worth of products by standing on stage and speaking to people. He’s also helped countless people become powerful presenters and platform sales pros…even if they were clueless before. So he knows a thing or two and in the book “Speak to Sell” he sets out his approach to standing up in front of an audience, delivering a purpose-driven presentation and getting the result you want.
It’s worth making clear that this book is NOT primarily about how to write a speech (that sells) and then deliver it in front of a live audience. That’s part of it, of course, but primarily the book provides an overall template to master the art of speaking for profit and almost certainly it WILL transform your approach to speaking. For anyone who does genuinely want to make money by speaking-to-sell this is a very worthwhile book with the CAVEAT that it’s a starting point for a lot more further work. The good news is that you’ll be working on the right things!
Robert Cialdini has a new book out…
There can be few serious marketers who have not at least heard of Robert Cialdini and his book “Influence”. In that ground breaking work Cialdini identified six psychological principles that appear to be universally effective in persuasion – reciprocation, liking, social proof, authority, scarcity and consistency. Now in his new book, “Pre-Suasion”, Cialdini sets out the case that it’s what goes on in the moments before we speak that is as important as what we say or how we say it.
The serious marketer will find much of interest in “Pre-Suasion”. It’s true that existing marketing strategies such as positioning and establishing authority apply many of the ideas in the book. However, the book provides an explanation as to why these approaches work and how to use them more effectively. The book also provides a fascinating look at the sometimes strange workings of the human mind. Not always the easiest of reads but well worth reading for the serious marketer.
Moving on to something of a hot topic…
The central idea behind “The Membership Economy” is that for an increasing number of companies, the relationship with their customers is changing in a significant way. The traditional economy can be thought of as based on “ownership” of products and services by consumers. The relationship between companies and their customers is primarily based on transactions. The Membership Economy is more based on customers having continuing access to products and services. That means a continuing and much closer relationship between businesses and their customers. The focus shifts from individual transactions to maximising the lifetime value of a customer.
Overall, a useful review of a business model that, while not new, is growing in importance. There are plenty of examples and case studies and the book does a good job of setting out all the key elements required for a successful Membership Economy organization. Although not without shortcomings the book is worth the attention of serious marketers.
How do you attract and keep customers in the modern day when they have a vast choice of products and services? How do you even get their attention when they are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day? The answer according to Sally Hogshead is to make yourself and your brand…fascinating.
I confess to being in two minds about this book. Clearly Hogshead believes passionately in what she does but much of the material comes across as somewhat vague and typical of mainstream branding theory. On the other hand, the approach does provide a good framework for thinking about your own point of difference and another way of coming up with a Unique Selling Proposition. Another valuable feature is setting out the particular language to use to communicate a particular type of message. Worth a look but probably not essential for most direct response marketers.
Hope you find something of value in these books and wishing you a very successful 2017!