Book Review: Meaningful Marketing

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Meaningful Marketing
by Doug Hall with Jeffrey Stamp, Ph.D.

Brain Brew Books/F+W Publications ©2003
288 pages

How to Sell More With Less Effort

Offering more than 100 researched truths and 402 practical ideas for improving the return on sales and marketing investments, Meaningful Marketing uses the data from thousands of brands and consumers to describe the best ways to market and sell ideas, brands, services, products and yourself. Author Doug Hall, founder of the innovation think tank Eureka! Ranch, and co-author Jeffrey Stamp have distilled their essential marketing lessons from mountains of academic research and marketplace data to find the answers to many vexing marketing problems. Their results shed welcome light into the most confusing aspects of selling.

Meaningful MarketingVs. Mindless Marketing

The authors explain they were motivated to write this book by their frustration with the terrible results many marketers accept as part of their business. They cite the fact that 66 percent of TV commercials are 100 percent ineffective at growing sales, and an estimated 90 percent of venture-capital-funded initiatives fail, as examples of the “madness” that gets accepted as marketing. Their book addresses the differences between meaningful marketing (honest, conscious, respectful and long-term) and mindless marketing (persuaded, exaggerated, impulsively bought and short-term), and explains how they can both be used to create success, as well as how they can be kept out of the dark recesses of meaningless marketing where marketing fails.

After extolling the virtues of meaningful marketing and describing many scenarios where it helped companies increase their sales and income, the authors turn their research into many relevant facts about marketing. Using a two-page format that presents a truth along with the data that proves it to be true on one page, and a second page that outlines the practical ideas that can be gleaned from the information, the authors expand their conclusions while remaining focused on facts, brevity and straightforward rules that can make marketing more successful.

Data-Proven Truths

Some of these data-proven truths include:

1. Be the first with your meaningful difference. Being the first to market is news. When you have news, you have information to communicate. The first commands a customer’s conscious attention. Practical ideas accompanying this lesson include: Define yourself from the point of view of first, define first versus a limited category, and repeatedly articulate what makes you the first.

2. Be obvious about your overt benefit. Being obvious about what overt benefit your customers will receive, enjoy and experience increases your success rate by 75 percent. Practical ideas that can help you do this include: Transform features into benefits, use your voice mail messages as a test market, and model your message based on the great masters of direct response marketing.

3. To sell a lot, you need a lot of customers. The authors’ research shows that for giant growth, the number of customers you have is almost three times more important than the amount you sell to each customer. To make this happen, the authors write that you should quantify your customer count, perpetually focus on finding new customers, and remember that the goal is total customer growth.

Speak to Heads and Hearts

4. Speak to customers’ heads and hearts. To reach all customers in their preferred style, understand both the emotional and rational dimensions of your offering. To do this, express the feeling to find the facts, define the facts to find the feelings, and develop the skill to flip between both thinking styles.

5. Meaningfully reduce customers’ purchasing delays. Directly address the reasons customers delay making purchasing decisions by making your benefit personally meaningful, making the buying process painless for customers, and making it easy for them to gather more information.

The combination of research and practical applications makes Meaningful Marketing a helpful marketing study guide for salespeople and their managers. By providing the details of an effective marketing strategy, the authors provide readers with numerous ideas that can help themimprove their sales and build their customer base.~

Why We Like This Book

The authors of Meaningful Marketing have concocted a valuable formula for making marketing more meaningful by addressing marketing issues head-on with quantifiable research data and turning those numbers into useful ideas that can improve the way marketers sell. While creating a winning marketing plan, the authors also delve into the psychology of selling, the wisdom of numerous historical figures inside and outside the industry, and the many techniques that have brought others marketing success. ~

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