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Steal These Ideas!: Marketing Secrets That Will Make You a Star

Steal These Ideas!: Marketing Secrets That Will Make You a Star

by Steve Cone

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The marketer's guide to standing out from the crowd and connecting with consumers

As advertisements become more ubiquitous online and off, the struggle to really capture a customer's attention is heating up. In Steal These Ideas!, Second Edition, Steve Cone, internationally renowned marketing expert, reveals how to resonate with a target audience,


The marketer's guide to standing out from the crowd and connecting with consumers

As advertisements become more ubiquitous online and off, the struggle to really capture a customer's attention is heating up. In Steal These Ideas!, Second Edition, Steve Cone, internationally renowned marketing expert, reveals how to resonate with a target audience, providing a fresh perspective riddled with pearls of wisdom and wit. Full of practical ideas that the reader can learn in a matter of hours, and apply successfully to their business for years, Steal These Ideas! proved an instant classic on outside-the-box marketing when it first published in 2005, and this newly revised edition, refreshed for the present day, promises to have the same impact as it's predecessor.

  • This new edition includes material on social networking, customer loyalty campaigns, building websites, and sending effective email blasts
  • The book is illustrated throughout with examples of the good, bad, and ugly in advertising
  • Includes new ideas on how to take full advantage of online marketing and social media
  • Highlights the art of building an effective loyalty program, the power of public relations and sponsorship, and using a spokesperson
  • Author Steve Cone is the Executive Vice President of AARP

Everything you didn't learn in business school (or in the field), Steal These Ideas! gives marketers the edge in today's fast-paced, oversaturated marketplace.

Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Marketing Secrets That Will Make You a Star
Not only does Steve Cone know the secrets behind making a brand, product or service a success, he also knows how to quickly and humorously share those secrets with the world. After the few hours it takes to read Steal These Ideas!, a reader can close the book knowing what kinds of thoughts pass through the mind of the head of advertising at Citigroup Global Wealth Management when he is coordinating brand management for all of Citigroup’s businesses and their 200 million customers worldwide. The rapid-fire marketing tidbits that overflow from Steal These Ideas! deliver hundreds of pertinent insights directly, accurately, and without hesitation.

For example, on the first page alone, Cone presents the three essentials of a successful marketing campaign: excitement, news, and a compelling call to action. Then, without missing a beat, he explains why these three elements for promotional success cannot be forgotten, delivering 10 examples that show he is right on the money. These include the ad placed by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1913 to recruit volunteers for his dangerous South Pole expedition, direct mail copy from the ’50s extolling the attributes of Playboy magazine, and American Express’ Travelers Cheques TV ads starring Karl Malden — all of which benefitted greatly from all three essentials.

Unique Selling Proposition
In the second chapter, Cone delves into explaining the concept of a brand, what makes it successful, and how it should be managed. He writes, “Simply stated, a brand is a recognizable person, place, or thing.” Brands that are truly great, he adds, are inspirational, indispensable, dependable and unique. Although the first two qualities on his list are the most difficult attributes for a marketer to deliver, he emphasizes that every marketer must rally around striving to make his or her brand dependable and unique. This includes combining a compelling unique selling proposition with strong visual brand imagery, innovative and reliable products, as well as memorable and integrated advertising.

What does Cone mean by a unique selling proposition? Think Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Cone writes that Harley’s head of marketing summed up his company’s selling proposition in this single sentence: “We allow overweight middle-aged white guys to dress up in leather on the weekends and ride a Harley through small towns and villages scaring the hell out of the locals.”

Other companies that have created unique selling propositions for themselves include Federal Express (“When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”); Coca-Cola, with its one-of-a-kind bottle design; and BMW, otherwise known as The Ultimate Driving Machine.

Cone writes that if you want to create a unique selling proposition for your product or service, you must start by picking three of its most compelling features and bringing them to the forefront of all of your promotional programs. Focus on ease of use, dependability, and convenience of service. He writes that marketers must “zero in on a basic product fact and make it come alive as a compelling point of differentiation.”

Choosing a Personality
Cone writes that the personality who represents a company can have a tremendous impact on its bottom line. Whether he or she is a celebrity or a company employee, the choice of who will stand before the cameras and pitch the product in advertisements can have a significant effect on the performance of the brand. Cone writes that no matter who that person is, he or she must genuinely like and understand the product or service being promoted, must be comfortable in social situations, must be exclusive to your company, must appeal equally to men and women of all ages, and must be agreeable to a fully integrated media role. To find the perfect spokesperson (if he or she is not a company employee), Cone writes that firms should seek the services of a top commercial agent. When a candidate has been found, Cone writes that marketers must meet with that person face to face since personal chemistry is vital.

The rest of Steal These Ideas! contains many valuable keys to creating a profitable advertising campaign. Tips on color choices, readability issues, ad placement, tag lines, customers, loyalty programs, the Internet, public relations, and even political campaigns fill its pages. Through many examples of highly successful campaigns and photos of print ads that work, Cone covers everything that the master marketer should know to compete today.

Why We Like This Book
Steal These Ideas! offers readers a well-rounded collection of marketing advice and tips that are backed up by examples proving every lesson it teaches. Marketers and consumers alike can enjoy Cone’s insightful observations about the advertisements that fill their periphery. Providing an inside view of an industry that effects and influences everyone, he reveals many tricks of the trade. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the Publisher
“A busy executive’s dream. . . . Peppered with practical lessons and engaging anecdotes. All in all, there are plenty of ideas here worth stealing.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Cone discusses the value of conferring a ‘personality’ upon a product, business or service as a way of subtly—but powerfully—making a connection to customers. All successful politicians do just that, and the ‘marketing secrets’ in the book are really ways to create that type of bond. Along with his practical advice, Cone’s insights into the thoughts behind the words are invaluable.”
Miami Herald

Product Details

Publication date:
Bloomberg Series , #144
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Marketing mavens who treasure their jobs—or better yet, want to move ahead—will find themselves constantly using Cone’s incredible cache of ever-insightful tips and ideas as their guide to innovation and success.” 
Steve Forbes, CEO, Forbes Inc.

“With Steal These Ideas! Steve Cone provides a clear and no-nonsense guide for getting it done now.” 
Faith Popcorn, Founder and CEO, Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve

“Loaded with lots of great marketing ideas. A steal at only $18.95.” 
Al Ries, Author of The Origin of Brands   

“I thought I would never need to read another marketing book until I picked up Cone’s fun, fast, and fantastic guide that can help any size business anywhere immediately go from ho-hum marketing to world-class.” 
Jon Linen,  Vice Chairman, American Express

“With lots of good information on key marketing topics, Steve Cone breaks down branding issues and delivers them with a refreshing approach and wry sense of humor.”
Claire Rosenzweig, CAE, CPMP,  President, Promotion Marketing Association, Inc.

“It’s not getting easier out there. So what’s one to do? You need the hard-earned lessons provided by campaigns that worked and someone who can extract their secret ingredients. Steve Cone does all that with a true knowledge of our craft and the no-nonsense approach of someone who knows, understands, and respects consumers. Does he reveal too much? Yes! Now, some of the best secrets in our industry are all in one place for all to see.” 
Daniel Morel,  Chairman and CEO, Wunderman

“Entertaining, informed, accessible—Steal These Ideas! is all that and more. I’ve been faxing pages to clients with a note saying, ‘Hey, read this. It’s by someone who learned from the same mistakes you’re making and can make it all better.’”
Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR, Author of Full Frontal PR

“This book is filled with practical advice for marketers, and the considerable insight that Steve Cone provides can be used every single day. The lessons he learned and shares are the culmination of his unique career as a marketing visionary for more than three decades.”
Adam Aron, Chairman/CEO, Vail Resorts (Vail, CO)

Meet the Author

STEVE CONE is Executive Vice President of AARP, one of the world's largest membership organizations, which encompasses over 36 million Americans. Previously, Steve served as chief marketing officer of Epsilon from 2007 to early 2010. Cone is one of the most respected figures in marketing today. Over his forty-year career, he was a key figure in creating many of the airline, hotel, and retail loyalty programs that millions participate in, as well as major campaigns for Apple, American Express, Federal Express, and other global brands. Steve has also been tapped for advice by presidential candidates from both parties and was instrumental in raising the funds to build the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.

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