Book Review: The Ultimate Marketing Plan

by Dan S. Kennedy

I liked the conversational tone of Dan’s writing. He is not academic. His experience comes from working with businesses first hand. The book relates the ideas that worked. This book is aimed at small business owners with little or no marketing experience looking for ideas to promote their businesses.

Dan starts by emphasizing that you must have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The marketplace is more competitive than ever, yet if you research your competitors you will find most of them are saying the same thing. Stand out by being different. Your USP should evoke an emotion or tell a story. Identify your audience and figure out what will connect to them.

He then goes on to the “five steps to a buying or action decision.”

“1) Awareness of need and/or desire. 2) Picking the “thing” that fulfills the need/desire. 3) Picking the source for the thing. 4) Accepting the source’s price/value argument. 5) Finding reasons to act now.” He emphasizes to address all the 5 steps and not to assume anything. After you have organized your presentation, make it exciting. Then always, always ask for an action.

The rest of the book is not ground-breaking, but does cover all the marketing options that a small business has available. Dan offers a lot of examples of all his suggestions. The book is punctuated with marketing “secret weapons” and marketing “sins.”

The problem with this book is that his examples are poorly designed aesthetically. Many cross into sheer hucksterism. The book itself constantly plugs his “Insiders’ Circle.” I would be embarrassed to counsel my clients to do some of the hokey things he suggests. His favorite case study is Sun Your Buns tanning salon. I went to the website out of curiosity and saw three typos on the home page. He is not wrong about the marketing principles that he has discovered, but he doesn’t seem to recognize the difference between shoddy and excellent execution.

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