Tag Archives: business books

the marketer’s bookshelf

As I consult or speak, people often ask me for marketing or business book recommendations. While I sometimes review new business books on the blog, I didn’t have a list of the classics. I thought it would be nice to have a central repository that I could point to as the “essential marketing book shelf”. So here are some of my top picks in several business categories:

— The Essential Essentials —

There are only a few people in the world that I consider worthy of the title of marketing guru. So I could probably list the entire Seth Godin canon in this post. However, there are two of his books I consider fundamental reading.

I distinctly remember when I was honored to receive one of the 1st copies of Purple Cow. The milk carton that came in the mail freaked out the secretaries at the office I was working in at the time. The book was remarkable in that it practiced what it preached in the way it was distributed. When I do a marketing keynote, I lay out 3 essential elements of successful marketing for the audience. The ideas in Purple Cow parallel my first step which is “Great marketing begins with the product”.


The other essential Godin book is Permission Marketing. This book was written in 1999 and predates Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels, but the basic idea works for those items as well as the traditional marketing channels that Seth discusses in the book.


While he’s not a marketer, per se, the other prolific business author who has multiple books that could be on this list is Malcolm Gladwell. Much of creating successful marketing is understanding the way society and individuals think. Both Blink and The Tipping Point are important books to read to understand this better.


Ogilvy on Advertising is an old book. David Ogilvy is dead. But if everyone who created TV, radio, print, or online ads had a copy and referred to it, we wouldn’t see so much horrible advertising today. If you’re only going to read a few books on this list, make this one of them.


— Branding / Brand Strategy —

I’m a big proponent of the idea that strong brands are created by consumers, not marketers. But the majority of the time in order for that to happen, the marketer must have a solid brand strategy in place. Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout is a must-read that helps you understand the importance of developing a strong thought-out brand strategy.


Closely related to Positioning (literally) is The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding which Al Ries wrote with his daughter Laura. It’s basically a more bite sized version of Positioning with plenty of real life examples.


If I’m recommending marketing and business books, I suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Brand Zeitgeist. I wrote it because I wanted a comprehensive look at the branding and marketing basics that I want audiences to understand. Brand Zeitgeist reinforces basic marketing and branding principles and illustrates how businesses can use fundamental aspects of human nature to develop a brand strategy.


— Entrepreneurship / Career —

I have two tchotchkes, both given to me by wife, that have similar mantras. One has a quote from Thoreau that says, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” The other one has Dan Zadra’s simple quote of “Trust your crazy ideas.”
There are advantages to being different. I was first drawn to Chris Guillebeau because of his amazing travel quest, but related to that is his outlook on life which is outlined in The Art of Non-Conformity.


I spoke on a panel with Pamela Slim in 2010. In our chats both onstage and offstage, I found her message from Escape From Cubicle Nation was a needed one. Too many people are stuck in jobs they hate. Don’t be like that.


Another good resource for job seekers or would-be entrepreneurs is Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love


— Communication —

While it covers visual presentation in general, I feel it should be mandatory to pass a test on Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen before someone is allowed to create a slide in PowerPoint or Keynote.
(Bonus points if you also read Seth Godin’s Really Bad PowerPoint e-book.)


Up in the “branding” section of this post, the books will tell you repeatedly to avoid brand extension, but Jay Conrad Levinson has successfully milked his Guerrilla Marketing concept for all it’s worth. His numerous books which all revolve around the same ideas have good points. Much of it common sense stuff that you need to do. A copy of one of the guerrilla marketing books needs to be in every small business owner’s hands.


— Social Media —

At any given time, there are a lot of good books about social media marketing. Everyone wants the answers to social media presented as a neat package in a book. But the trouble with printed books about social media is that they’re outdated by the time they roll off the press or even onto your Kindle. You need a big picture overview of the fundamentals BEHIND social media that you can apply to any platform.
The book you need for this was written over 12 years ago before social media as we currently define it even existed. Most of the 95 theses in The Cluetrain Manifesto can be applied to your marketing strategy for any current social media platform. Don’t want to buy the book? Read it for free.


— Corporate Culture / Ethics —

I have to stop myself from using Zappos too much as an example of how great corporate culture and employee empowerment can contribute to a strong brand and a healthy bottom line. In Delivering Happiness, Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh, outlines the Zappos philosophy and how you can do it in your business.


Successful long term businesses have a strong moral code at their foundation. I have found that the KJV Bible provides a specific set of guidelines and principles that will work in every possible situation.


— The Usual Suspects —

Robert Waterman / Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence may be a little heavy for every application / user and parts of it are dated, but it is the definitive resource for how to manage a company.

Most essential business reading lists like this one will include Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. All these have valuable business insight, but I would challenge anyone to find someone who is not a MBA nerd who has actually read these books. Put them on your shelf, but read the Cliffs Notes version of all three.

— Virtual Bookshelf —

The books on your shelf are great for the big ideas that stay constant, but the tactics of marketing are changing every day. You need updates. Don’t get caught up in the ‘fad du jour’ mob mentality on Twitter, but do stay abreast of marketing trends by following marketers on Twitter. (I may do a follow-up post to this one of Twitter recommendations … posted on a Friday, of course.)

And there’s still a need for longer content than 140 characters so make it a habit to read competent marketing blogs and online versions of marketing publications. Look on the right sidebar of this page for my marketing blogroll. (link for rss readers)

And while not reading, you should be watching TED videos.

— Your books —

Initially, this post seemed like a great idea as a quick listing of essential business books. But it’s been one of the hardest I’ve written. I have had to leave out many books I enjoyed and found valuable, but would have made this list much too long.

So I’m turning it over to you. What essential book on the marketer’s bookshelf did I miss? Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.

Disclosure: I wrote one of these books. Most links are Amazon affiliate links. A list of these books can be found on Amazon.

blitz aftermath

You should never eat food cooked by a skinny chef. You also should never buy a marketing book from someone who can’t get the message out about that book.

I am really happy with the success of Tuesday’s Amazon Blitz for Brand Zeitgeist. The book rocketed up the Amazon Sales Rank. It started in the sub-basement at #446,248 and went all the way up to the high water mark of #3,148 in just a few hours. I am most pleased that we stayed in the top 100 of books in the Marketing category for most of the day. The high point was when Brand Zeitgeist was the #33 most popular marketing book on Amazon.

Of course, the whole endeavor was just a gaming of the Amazon rank system. Today, the book has fallen back down (just checked — it’s at #9,732 this hour). But the blitz accomplished several of my goals: it’s still allowing the book to occupy a higher spot than it did (9,732 is better than 446,248) But more importantly, it put the book in the hands of a lot of people on Tuesday.

Obviously, the sales are nice from that. But I’m hoping for a secondary effect as those people read it, blog it, review it, tweet it, and spread it in all manner of ways to their IRL and online networks. It’s confirmation of a point I made in the book. You have to grab the attention of the Innovators and Early Adopters in any new product launch for the brand to become fixed in the zeitgeist.

The nice way to describe my budget for the blitz is “bootstrapped”. The more accurate word is “cheap”. Basically I leveraged and co-ordinated my existing networks. I called in favors. I did a few targeted media buys (the 800-lb gorilla of those being a HARO ad). I used the Brand Zeitgeist Facebook page as a central communication hub that fed out to other SM as current fans of the book helped spread the word about the blitz through their networks. And I prayed.

As with anything, there were mistakes. I wish I had co-ordinated my blog tour a bit better. I wish my publisher had listed the book in more categories (I would have shown up higher in some additional categories). And I wish I had done a smaller pre-blitz to give the main blitz a better jumping-off point than from #446,248. But — hindsight is 20/20.

The Amazon rank is just a number. The point is not to sell books. The point is to spread the ideas. The Amazon blitz was a good jumping off point for the rest of the book’s promotion. I now head into media interviews (some additional ones generated by yesterday’s blitz) and physical location book tours for the next few months (counting down to the book tour kickoff with home field advantage on May 2nd in Bowling Green).

The big thing I take from the blitz is not the rank or the sales figures — it’s the people. There were people spreading the word for me that I had never met. I had lots of personal friends, who maybe were not that interested in marketing, buying a book just to help me out. I got lots of encouragement from several people.

If you bought a book, spread the links to your friends, or just wished me well — I truly appreciate it.

And if you didn’t get to take part yesterday, it’s never too late. http://www.amazon.com/Brand-Zeitgeist-Relationships-Collective-Consciousness/dp/1450206794  😉

amazon blitz

In the spirit of Joseph Jaffe’s Amazon bumrush, I’m holding the Brand Zeitgeist Amazon Blitz on Tuesday.

Basically, the Amazon blitz is a focusing of all online efforts to game the Amazon sales ranks. If a book goes up on the charts, there’s a good possibility that it will stick. If you’ve ever seen any of my presentations where I talk about media planning, it’s a bellyflop instead of toes in the water.

If you’re going to purchase a copy of Brand Zeitgeist online, I would appreciate it if you did it sometime on Tuesday 3/23. Here’s the link:

I don’t plan to knock Michael Lewis’ The Big Short out of the top #1 spot, but I would love to see Brand Zeitgeist a little higher on the marketing charts.

Invite your friends via Facebook here or you can download the event to your Outlook or other calendar.

Or you could just forward this link: http://www.amazon.com/Brand-Zeitgeist-Relationships-Collective-Consciousness/dp/1450206794

As always, thank you for your support. I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten thus far from blog readers, friends, and complete strangers who have gotten excited about the book.

Look for my IRL book tour dates coming soon.

business book reviewers

My publisher has provided me with a limited number of review copies of Brand Zeitgeist. I am looking for a few good online mavens and connectors who want to review the book.

If you have an active (couple of posts per month) small biz or marketing related blog, some dedicated Twitter followers, you’re a power Amazon reviewer, or you have some other online superpower — please email me and I’ll mail you a free copy of the book.

You’re under no obligation to provide a positive review — just an honest one. The reviews will be highlighted on this site and others during the online book tour from March 22 – 26.

The book is a quick read, 108 pages, and full of interesting case studies. The big idea behind Brand Zeitgiest is that it reinforces basic marketing and branding principles and illustrates how businesses can use fundamental aspects of human nature to develop a brand strategy. Find the pdf of the Brand Zeitgeist sell sheet here.


By the way, the best way to keep up with events and other info about Brand Zeitgeist is to connect on the Brand Zeitgeist Facebook page (or if you’re not a FB person, all the Facebook posts feed to @BrandZeitgeist on Twitter.)

And mark your calendar for the Brand Zeitgeist Amazon.com Blitz on March 23rd. (Download a reminder for your calendar here.)

(Or if you can’t wait 😉 buy your copy of Brand Zeitgeist on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble today!)

want to write a business book blurb?

UPDATE: manuscript has been sent to all who requested it for blurbs. If you requested and didn’t get an email from me, contact me.


For the past year, I’ve been writing a book.
(a blog post will eventually be written about the joys and struggles of doing so)

It’s due to the publisher the week of Thanksgiving. (thankfully)

This new business book will hit the streets (as well as bookstores and Amazon) in early 2010. It looks at how groups and the overall society relates to brands and how brands can relate back to their markets’ culture. The book is geared toward brand novices. But it can also can be enjoyed by branding experts as a fresh look at how brands relate to society as well as a refresher of branding basics.

I’m looking for experts with demonstrative credentials in branding, advertising, or other business marketing areas to offer blurbs about the upcoming book.  These blurbs will be used in the forthcoming promotion of the book with the possibility of some being used on the book cover.
(uh, exactly what is a BLURB?)

If you’d like to write a short blurb about the book, please contact me via email or twitter by this weekend.

A pdf of the manuscript will be sent over the weekend only to those respondents that have offered sufficient credentials in their initial request. (super bonus points for previously published business authors!)

You’ll have a week (until 11/20) to read the manuscript (it’s a quick read) and send the blurb back to me along with how you’d like to be credited. If after reading the manuscript you feel that you cannot offer a positive recommendation, you are under no obligation to do so.

Bonus for people who read to the end of blog posts: Currently, the book will be published without a foreword. If after reading the book, you feel you can offer a 500 – 2000 word foreword. I’d be delighted in talking to you about how we can do that.

And if you’re stressed that you can’t help me right now, don’t despair. After the first of the year, there will be a blog book tour, a sales blitz, and the opportunity to do reviews.

business books at the movies

You know, the movie is never as good as the book.

Seems it’s pretty hard to capture the essence of a fictional (or real life) written story into a screenplay. But what kind of huge challenge would be faced when making a non-fiction business book into a movie?

Apparently, we’re going to find out as Malcolm Gladwell‘s Blink is going to be made into a movie starring Al Pacino. (no joke)

Possible Pacino movie quotes from Blink the movie?
(Scent of a Woman flavored) — “Chah-ley, my boy, in the first five seconds after approaching her table, I knew I would tango with her. Hoo-hah! I’m just gettin’ stah-ted!”
(The Godfather flavored) — “Fredo, don’t thin slice anyone against the Family again.”

I digress.

What if this catches on? What if other business books are adapted to the screen?

In Search of Excellence
by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
Two dudes travel through time collecting important people from business history for an oral presentation in their MBA program.

Guerrilla Marketing
by Jay Conrad Levinson
In 1972, a crack commando marketing unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as guerrilla marketers. If you have a marketing problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The Guerrilla Marketing Team.

The Wealth of Nations
by Adam Smith
Socialists send a cyborg assassin back in time to kill Adam Smith’s mother.

War in the Boardroom
by Al and Laura Ries
An Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted creatives/marketers to train and lead them to infiltrate an off site meeting of CEOs at a chateau in France.

100 Best Business Books of All Time
by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten
Kramer tries to convince Elaine to pitch his idea for a “business book about business books” to Mr. Lippman.

The Wisdom of Crowds
by James Surowieki
A tidal wave overturns an ocean liner. People must make the decision to stay put with the majority or follow a ragtag group up through the bowels of the ship.

Purple Cow
by Seth Godin
A spider uses outdoor advertising in a high traffic area on the farm to convince others that a cow is “remarkable” and “some cow”

What are your ideas? What biz book would you like to see made into a movie? Leave them in the comments. Also — bonus points for anyone in the comments who can list the movies/tv shows I’ve based these descriptions on.

me 2.0

A few weeks ago, Dan Schawbel forwarded me a sneak peek of his new book, Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success and asked me to offer a review.

The idea of a personal brand not a new idea. I remember chewing on the concept when Tom Peters introduced it back in one of the first issues of Fast Company magazine. But Tom may have been a little ahead of his time (he usually is). When he introduced the idea back in the late 90s, the web was still primarily a one way medium of electronic brochure websites. But today’s social web offers an easy on-ramp for anyone to build a personal brand. The problem is that most people (young and old) don’t realize they’re building (or destroying) their brand with their online actions.

Dan has geared his book toward Gen Y / Millennials young professionals. But it’s a good basic primer for anyone who wants to control the brand image they’re projecting. While Me 2.0 does offer advice on networking and the off-line real world, most of the book focuses on how to use personal websites, blogs, and social networks to build an online brand for the individual. Frankly, it should be required reading before anyone can sign up for a Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social network account.

If you’re a seasoned pro at networking (online and off), the book will probably be a bit too basic for you. But if you’re just starting a career or are new to the online world, Me 2.0 is an essential guide. The job market is rough for anyone right now — especially so for young professionals. Me 2.0 solidifies the idea that has been true for sometime now. The “company man” has faded into the background and is gone. Each individual is a product that needs to stand up and be noticed. The way to do that is with your personal brand.

It’s a lot like the old saying: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is today. You should already be properly managing your personal brand. If you’re not, now is the time to start.

DISCLAIMER: Dan provided me a free copy of the book to review.

the eckberg effect

A few weeks ago, I was being interviewed for a story by Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Eckberg. As we corresponded and he read this blog, he noticed that I occasionally do a few book reviews and asked if I would take a look at his new book, The Success Effect.

I’ve often said that some of the most interesting content sometimes gets left on the cutting room floor. And along those same lines, some of the most interesting questions/responses in an interview don’t always make it into the final story.

Eckberg has gone back through his extensive collection of audio tapes that he’s amassed as a business reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s pulled 47 of his biggest and best interviews and culled out some of good stuff. The result is not warmed over leftovers, but instead a fresh perspective and a very entertaining read.

Each interview is pegged to a “big idea” (brand, desire, style, future, innovation, etc) and shows insight into each of those ideas. And in addition to the questions you’d expect a journalist would ask, Eckberg throws a few of my favorite kind of questions into each interview, offbeat tangent questions that sometimes reveal more about the interviewee than anything else does. This is in addition to sidebars in each interview about what books the subject has “on their nightstand” and what music is in their “cd changer”.

Some of my favorite interviews were speaker Jessica Selasky, former Cincy mayor Jerry Springer, and former Cincinnati resident Donald Trump (yes, that one — in Cincinnati.)

But all 47 interviews have good content. Overall, the breadth of the background of the interviewees and the style of the Eckberg interview make “The Success Effect” a very useful read for anyone in business.

btw — I’ve noticed that I’m doing more book reviews on the blog myself. My book review guidelines are as follows:

  1. it needs to be either about marketing or closely related to marketing/business/etc.
  2. contact me to see if a review is possible. If it is, a copy or galley of the book can be mailed to me for review.
  3. If I like it and think it will benefit my readers, I will post about it. If I don’t like it, nothing will be posted.

the chic entrepreneur

A few months ago, I was contacted by reader Elizabeth Gordon about the possibility of the Shotgun Marketing Blog being a stop on her Virtual Book Tour for her new book, The Chic Entrepreneur.

The Chic Entrepreneur is an entertaining read with lots of great advice for both new business owners as well as businesses that need to rethink their business strategies. I liked that the book is full of case studies and examples that show the points are not just academic, but work in the real world.

Much of it is the same advice you have probably heard before (so why are you not doing it!?), but Elizabeth has repackaged it into this female focused perspective. While the female of the species will see many of the analogies immediately, I (as a man) lost my way at times in the girliness. I’ve seen the book described online as the “Sex in the City” version of a business handbook and I think that’s a fair comparison. (in a good way!)

Over the past few weeks, Elizabeth and I have held an e-mail interview about the book:

Chris: Clearly, the book is geared toward a female audience. Why did you niche it to that market?

Elizabeth: After starting my small business consulting firm in 2005, I noticed a trend among my female clients: they were having similar issues with their businesses because of the ways they formed them and those issues were culminating into one big problem – an inability to grow. Their businesses got to a certain point and then they weren’t able to take them beyond that. Most of my women business owner clients had not scaled their business beyond the stage of successful self-employment, nor did they know how to do so. The more I worked with them, the more I saw the need for a strategy guide that would speak to women’s challenges in being able to leverage their business such that it no longer relied so heavily on their own individual efforts. And I realized that as a young woman business consultant (a near anomaly) I had the unique ability to bring a much needed perspective to the table and could teach these important business lessons in a manner and voice that would speak directly to female entrepreneurs. I am very passionate about the potential that I believe resides in current and emerging female entrepreneurs. I think this sector will be an integral part of a much needed pivotal point in our global economic development. I continue to be excited and energized about what is possible if more women start building businesses using a methodology such as the one I teach in the book, and create inherent assets of value that can flourish economically and lead them personally to greater fulfillment and freedom.

Chris: Can other groups (like men!) benefit from the information in the book?

Elizabeth: Absolutely! The Chic Entrepreneur teaches business lessons through comparisons of Fortune 500 companies and fictional small businesses. While some of the imagery and language might be more appealing to women, the lessons are universal. I have had countless men tell me that they bought the book for their wife, read a couple pages “just to check it out” and ended up reading it cover to cover. The great thing about the field of business is that nearly 85% of all challenges growing businesses face are universal, regardless of industry, ownership makeup, size or structure. Business is business.

Chris: What are some of the challenges that you have personally experienced as a businesswoman that influenced the book?

Elizabeth: When I initially started my business, I was in my twenties. While I’m in my thirties now, I’ve always had a young look, which is a blessing and a curse at times. I had a hard time being taken seriously when I first started. I’ve been told by others that I was too young to own my own business, or had people assume that it must be my husband’s business. It is amazing to me how much those silly but very real presumptions still exist today. Rather than try to fit in with the rest of those in my industry, I choose to emphasize my uniqueness and turn it into a strength. I think an opportunity exists for all of use to turn what could be perceived as negatives into positives.

Like most service businesses, I also had to give some major thought and planning to how I was going to be able to scale my business beyond my own individual efforts. This is the same challenge that holds most female small business owners back from breaking the million-dollar mark and beyond. But while this is challenging, it is certainly very doable when you have a solid methodology as a guide. Once you get your fledging business off the ground and it is sustainable in the short term, turn your attention to building a saleable business model. The next step is defining the personality of the company beyond that of just the personality of the owner and translating that into a branding strategy and a consistent and cohesive image that can permeate all of your activities, materials and communications.

Chris: I think many people dream of starting their own business. Do you think that anyone be an entrepreneur?

Elizabeth: This is a question of repeated debate. It is my personal opinion that the ability to create a business is inherent within all humans. Of course, people vary in the depth of their capabilities in this area. Some people are more natural entrepreneurs than others, just like some people are more natural athletes than others. But I think everyone has it in them, just like we all have the capability for love within us. It’s just a matter of whether it is the right time for you to explore it. A business takes much more than just an idea to begin. Having a plan, a market and a way to reach that market, and enough capital are other important factors to consider before beginning an entrepreneurial journey. A person also must be willing to risk failing in order to succeed in business, a courage or luxury that not everyone has. After creating the flourishing business methodology and applying it to hundreds different businesses, I know from experience that if you set up a business the right way, it doesn’t matter if you’re sixteen or sixty, you can be a successful entrepreneur.

Chris: You discuss the dimensions of a flourishing business in the book. Obviously, I was most interested in the sales/marketing one. What do you think is the biggest problem/challenge that entrepreneurs have with sales/marketing?

Elizabeth: I’m quite passionate about the sales and marketing side of things as well because this is what really drives the growth engine. I think the most difficult part for entrepreneurs is figuring out how to get their message heard by the right people and then getting those people to take action. There is so much out there these days that cutting through the clutter and getting a message in front of the right people continues to be a marketing challenge. However, I also believe that this is where the biggest opportunity lies for those that take advantage of a properly executed web and social media strategy. Getting heard is only the first step though, so it is important not to stop there. Having a compelling message that excites and shows value to the buyer and a motivating pitch that drives someone to take action is critical to the success of your marketing program. Small companies shouldn’t be advertising for branding purposes, all of their marketing efforts need to be results and action oriented.

Chris: You make the points of what to do to market a business in the book. But you also make the points of what NOT to do. What do you think is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make in marketing?

Elizabeth: They don’t charge enough. And by “enough” I mean a fair price for the unique value that they’re offering to the marketplace. And this is why you hear so many small business owners bemoaning “I can’t afford to spend a lot of money marketing my business.” You see, your marketing costs, and all of your other overhead costs all need to be factored into your pricing decisions. Most companies don’t spend enough time thinking about the pricing decisions, they just arbitrarily pick a middle ground where they feel comfortable. But you can be far more strategic with your pricing, and you certainly need to make sure that your prices are in line with your overall marketing and business strategy.

Everyone wants to “sell more” but all sales are not created equal. While it may seem logical to slash prices or meet a competitors prices in order to sell more, this is often a mistake and it can lead entrepreneurs to bankruptcy. You see, if you have created a truly unique value for the marketplace, then what you’ve got is different from your competitors, so the price you charge should also be different. If you have a quality product, you shouldn’t undercut the value with discounting or giving away anything for free. This automatically devalues your product or service in the minds of your customers. You want your customers to appreciate all the value that you provide, such that they will repeatedly re-buy from you. So you don’t want to get it in their head that your product or service is not worth its price. People know you get what you pay for. Big luxury companies like Jaguar are not going to lower their prices in a recession just because Carmax is. However, this is the hardest lesson for entrepreneurs to understand and remember when it’s time to close a deal.

Chris: How can entrepreneurs get their marketing message heard?

Elizabeth:I often see entrepreneurs that do what I like to call “Buckshot Marketing.” This is not to be confused with Shotgun Marketing, which I find very useful 🙂 Buckshot marketing is when a business owners sprays out as much material and information as possible without properly branding and thinking of what their message is, what they want consumers to glean from it and where it should go in the future. In the absence of a thought out plan, often in the form of a business plan, I see this kind of spraying of marketing information. And even though it might be high in volume, it is usually low on results. Marketing is speaking to people, specifically consumers. You want to make sure your message is a cohesive story that can be easily read, is appealing to the eye and urges consumers to read more.

Chris: I have found in my consulting and speaking business that businesspeople are always excited and eager about business advice like this. However, when they get back to the daily grind of business, they push it all to the back burner. What advice do you have that might help people actually implement the ideas in the book?

Elizabeth: Form a peer advisory group with other business owners who are in a similar position that you are but in totally different industries. This should be a group that you meet with regularly, that has read and subscribes to the same methodology that you have and that wants to see you succeed. I’ve actually started creating and facilitating these peer advisory groups. Accountability works at the gym and it works in business, too. I meet with my group once a month and we often site my book or the teachings of other well-respected business gurus when we give advice. These people can be a great sounding board and a wealth of ideas and support to keep you on the path to reaching your goals. They will hold you to your tasks by asking you if you accomplished what you wanted since the last meeting and you’ll do the same for them. It can be a very symbiotic relationship that is well worth the investment.

You can read Elizabeth’s Chic Entrepreneur blog here or take a look at the Chic Entrepreneur on Amazon.