I am currently reading the book “Steal These Ideas: Marketing Secrets that Will Make You a Star” by Steve Cone (Bloomberg Press, 1 September 2005, ISBN #1576601919, 204 pages), and I am finding it to be a really great read.
Witty, blunt, direct to the point and even funny in some parts, the book is very straighforward, easy to understand and my favorite of all, it has lots of bullets! Even if you have your hands full running your business, you can simply go to the chapters and skim the bulleted items or the sub-headings to see the author’s main points.
Most of all, it covers valuable tips on various marketing strategies — from creating a winning marketing campaign, deciding on your unique selling propositions, to tapping the power of public relations and building loyalty programs. The book also gives important pointers on how to effectively use the Web as a marketing tool, customer lessons you need to learn, how to build a distinctive personality for your business, among others.
The author goes to the details as to the impact of color on your print advertising (e.g. “avoid using any colors in promotional materials that you see in most bathrooms”), the use of salutations in promotional letters (e.g. “Dear Friend” is just plain annoying – I am not your friend and I don’t know you.”). He also includes a lot of examples (taglines, print ads, etc.) – both the good and bad – mostly from big campaigns and analyzes why one fails while pinpointing what element works in other campaigns.
Steve Cone’s most important points, however, are summarized in the chapter entitled “The Ten Secrets You Really Need to Steal.” His main points are:
- 3 Essential marketing ingredients = visually exciting, create news, and include compelling call to action
- Brand power is about creating a strong visual connection = e.g. Marlboro cowboy, glass Coke bottle, etc.
- Don’t listen to art directors = when designing creatives, be sure that it can actually be read
- Emulate People Magazine = said to be the most successful paid subscription magazine in history
- Power of Personality = mascot, spokesperson, or animal
- There are few customers who really matter = pay close attention to the most important customer segments
- Most important customer lesson = people renew the way they are acquired
- Great marketers are great speakers = you must enjoy public speaking
- Customer loyalty programs must have a perceived value that exceeds their perceived cost
- There are 6 reasons to advertise
If you are going to buy only one marketing book this year, make it this one. It is definitely worth its price!