Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

by John Jantsch


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Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch

Is Your Marketing as Simple, Effective, and Affordable as Duct Tape?

Let's face it, as a small business owner, you are really in the business of marketing. The problem for most small business owners is that they suffer from "marketing idea of the week" syndrome instead of implementing a systematic approach to the problem of small business marketing.

In Duct Tape Marketing, renowned Small Business Marketing guru John Jantsch shows you how to develop and execute a marketing plan that will give your business the life and longevity you knew you could have when you made that decision to go out on your own.

CAREFUL! Duct tape is a serious tool... it sticks where you put it. So are the ideas in this book. If you're ready to make a commitment and are willing to make something happen, John's book is a great place to start. ?Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow

For all those who wonder why John Jantsch has become the leading advisor and coach to small businesses everywhere, Duct Tape Marketing is the answer. I have never read a business book that is as packed with hands-on, actionable information as this one. There are takeaways in every paragraph, and the success of John's blog is living proof that they work. Duct Tape Marketing should be required reading for anyone who is building a business, or thinking about it. ?Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large, Inc. magazine, and author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big

Duct Tape Marketing is a worthy addition to the growing library of how-to books on small business marketing?concise, clear, practical, and packed with great ideas to boost your bottom line. ?Bob Bly, author of The White Paper Handbook

With the world suffering from depleted reserves of trust, a business that sells plenty of it every day tends to create the most value. The great thing about trust as a product feature is that it delivers exceptional returns. With this book, John Jantsch has zeroed in on exactly what small businesses need to sell every day, every hour. ?Ben McConnell, co-author of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force

John Jantsch has provided small businesses with the perfect perspective for maximizing all marketing activities - offline and on. Jantsch has the plan to help you thrive in the world of business today. Read it, all your competitors will. ?John Battelle, cofounding editor or Wired and author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

Duct Tape Marketing is a great read for anyone in business. It has fresh ideas laid out in a practical and useable way. I highly recommend this book for growing any business. ?Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI and Co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Masters of Networking

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595554659
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 471,141
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John Jantsch is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System. For more than twenty years he has coached and consulted small business owners and independent professionals in simple and low-cost methods for growing and promoting their businesses. His blog, Duct Tape Marketing, was recognized by Forbes magazine as the best blog on small business and marketing.

Read an Excerpt

Duct Tape Marketing

The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
By John Jantsch

Nelson Business

Copyright © 2007 John Jantsch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-2100-5

Chapter One

Identify Your Ideal Client

When I talk to groups of small business owners at workshops, I will often make the statement that when you properly target your clients, you will discover that you no longer have to work with jerks. I always get a laugh when I say this, but I can also see people in the audience nod in relief.

You can choose to attract clients that value what you offer, view working with you as a partnership, and want you to succeed, but only if you have a picture of what that ideal client looks like.

The primary purpose of this foundational step is to help you identify, describe, and focus on a narrow target of clients or segments that are perfectly suited for your business. This may actually include the discovery of several ideal segments.

I want to emphasize this notion of ideal for a moment. I intentionally use this term to help introduce the concept of business relationships. In healthy client/ business interactions, the idea of a relationship is at the forefront of all dealings. In a healthy relationship, both parties have responsibilities, needs, and goals. Helping each other get what they need is a given in a good relationship.

In a healthy small business marketing relationship, the same applies. So, this notion of ideal customer comes with some givens. When you create a fully functioning marketing system, one that produces predictable results, you gain the confidence to choose who you see as an ideal client. That's not about snobbery; it's about basic survival. Clients who don't respect the value you bring, don't pay on time, and don't do their part will drag your marketing business down faster than any other business dynamic.

If you don't take this step seriously, not only will it be difficult for you to grow your business predictably, you will find yourself with ill-mannered customers.

The Ideal Prospect

One of the reasons we focus so much attention on this notion of defining an ideal target client is that all clients were at one time prospects. So, in effect, what we are really doing here is getting you to define and focus on your Ideal Prospect. Much of your marketing focus, at least initially, will be on creating more and more Ideal Prospects or leads. You will eventually come to the point where you can predict with a fair amount of accuracy that if you generate a certain number of Ideal Prospects, you will in turn convert a predictable number of those prospects to customers.

Let History Guide You

One of the easiest ways to start to get this picture of who or what makes an ideal client is to take a close look at the customers your business has attracted to date. You may find that some segment of your existing business makes up a very focused market. I suggest that you create a spreadsheet of your existing customers and create as many columns as needed to add as much detail as you can about each. Start with the name of the firm or individual, their industry, the service or product they purchase, and the revenue they generated in the last three years or so. We will add more information to this, but once you complete this most basic review, a faint picture of your ideal client will begin to come into focus. Another very positive potential outcome of this initial exercise is that many business owners will then also be able to clearly identify markets that they should drop. Holdovers from past business initiatives or old directions can muddy your brand and may in fact be costing your business more than they return.

As a rule of thumb, at this point you should consider firing about 20 percent of your past customers simply on the basis that they no longer fit into the picture of your current business. That may sound a bit harsh, but I suspect that neither you nor they are profiting from the relationship at the moment. Set them up with another supplier and everybody wins.

Physical Characteristics

In order to get started drawing the clearest possible picture of your Ideal Prospect, we first focus on identifying common physical characteristics. Marketing folks call these demographics.

For consumers, demographic characteristics include:


Employment status




Education level

For commercial or business clients, demographic characteristics include:


Number of employees

Type of business

Geographic scope of business

Revenue levels

Again, this isn't a score-keeping exercise. You want to keep an eye on characteristics that your best or ideal clients have in common. Look for patterns that never occurred to you previously.

Emotional Characteristics

This is a tougher one, but may bear fruit if you can tap it. The characteristics that fall to the emotional side are what market research firms would call psychographics. The study of psychographic characteristics gets at the emotional makeup of prospects that may give clues to how they make decisions and whom they will ultimately like and trust.

Discovering common emotional characteristics is a bit more of an art than science-but it's an important art. What you are looking for here are things like values, fears, desires, and goals. What do they want out of life? What are they not getting? What do they need to know to feel comfortable? What's holding them back? Let me stress here that there is nothing inherently manipulative in this type of reflection. The point of defining your Ideal Prospect is simply to understand how your company can deliver the greatest value to everyone you work with. Understanding the emotional decision-making process of your prospect is an important piece of that equation.

One of the best ways to accumulate this type of information is to retrace many of your sales calls, including the ones where you did not get the results you had hoped for. Many times, the objections, questions, and resistance that your prospects pose are really clues that you have not gained their trust or answered their emotional needs when making a purchase.

Another clue to this type of research is to understand lifestyle patterns of your Ideal Prospects. Sometimes being on the lookout for hobbies, interests, books and magazines they read, musical preferences, and travel tastes can produce a deeper glimpse into what your Ideal Prospect really cares about.

Know, like, and trust-It's a fact that people often like people who have the same interests. For the small business marketer, building business on relationships may be very much about doing business with clients who have similar beliefs and interests. This isn't a popularity contest, but all things being equal, a buying decision will tip to the business or salesperson the buyer likes the most. All things not being equal, a buying decision will tip to the business or salesperson the buyer likes the most-it's called human nature.

What's the Problem?

Let's revisit our definition of marketing here-getting people, who have a specific need or problem, to know, like, and trust you.

Without a need or problem, you don't really have a market. So, what's the problem? What are your customers attempting to solve when they buy your products or retain your services?

I define problem, for our purposes, very broadly to include needs and wants. A problem may well be getting their computers to talk to each other, but it may also be a burning desire to look good to their peers.

The point is not to necessarily understand or judge what people are really buying as it is to identify and acknowledge what you are really selling. Here's the cold hard truth-no matter what you think you are selling or providing, it is the customer who ultimately determines what you are selling. You don't sell goods and services, you sell solutions to problems.

So, what do you really sell? Is it peace of mind, status, pain relief? State this revelation as bluntly as possible, and your marketing business will benefit immediately.

Location, Location, Location

For some businesses, location is a primary marketing issue. Retail businesses, for instance, commonly depend on a certain defined trading area for clients. Some businesses discover that shipping a product or even making sales calls beyond a certain area is cost prohibitive. It can be helpful to plot on a map the location of your current clients to determine if you have a trading pattern or if certain geographic areas are more desirable in terms of target market concentration.

Businesses that don't feel any real geographic constraints should complete this mapping exercise, as you may discover patterns that lead you to pockets of business. In other words, there may very well be a concentration of businesses in certain industries that you serve that you were not aware of until you actually pinpointed the physical location of each client. Hanging a customer pin map on the wall can be a fun way to keep the focus on your clients too.

How Clients Make Buying Decisions

It's important to understand how your ideal clients come to a buying decision for your product or service. Is it by committee, bid, RFP, gut feeling, referral, impulse, or some other process? Perhaps there is no real pattern here, but if you can understand a little more about how your ideal clients buy, you can focus on setting up your education system to address their decision-making process.

Best Ways to Reach Them

Some narrowly defined markets are very easy to reach; others are very difficult. One of the considerations when defining and ultimately narrowing a target market is to be confident that you can actually reach them to help them know you and learn to like and trust you and your company.

Is there an association that serves this market? Are there publications focused on this market? Can you buy mailing lists made up of this market? Can you network with this market? Add these details to your spreadsheet to help the picture to come into even better focus.

The Value Factor

One of the guiding principles of the Duct Tape Marketing approach is the ability to charge a premium for your products and services within a chosen target market.

You cannot make a market out of people who should need what you offer, even if they desperately do need what you offer. When making the final determination of whether you should narrow your focus on a given market niche, you must determine if this market values what you have to offer enough to pay a premium for your expertise and understanding of this given market.

Don't have an answer for this one? Look around for companies that already seem to be thriving in this market. You may be able to find the answers you are seeking based on some readily available information they publish (more on competitive research in the next chapter).

Is It a Viable Market?

Okay, now it's decision time. By this point you should have discovered all there is to know about your Ideal Prospect. Now you've got a decision to make. Is this a viable market?

Is the market large enough to support your business growth goals?

Can you easily promote your business to the decision makers in this market?

Does this market value what you do enough to pay a premium?

Think Narrow

I want to reemphasize my call that you take all that you have learned in this chapter and commit your business to serving one or more very well-defined market niches-at the exclusion of all that don't fit your narrow ideal market description or segments.

By focusing on a very specific market niche you are free to develop products and services tailored to its specific needs. Your language and processes then can send a very clear signal that you do indeed understand those unique needs.

Many times niche markets can be easier to communicate with. A specific industry will likely have a trade association, publication, or mailing list readily available. Personalizing your marketing to this easily identifiable group and identifying them by name (construction company owners, salon owners, or chronic headache sufferers) will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your communications.

When you focus on a narrow target market, you will often encounter much less competition and hold a competitive edge over generalists who claim to also serve this market.

My Dirty Little Marketing Research Secret

I have to tell you that the one place I turn to keep myself rooted in how the world thinks and buys-you know, marketing research-is People magazine.

Personally, I don't really care what Mary Kate Olsen's next big move is, but for about twenty years running, more people turn to People than any other magazine, and that speaks volumes about what the editors at People have got going on. A tough thing for some small business owners to swallow is that it doesn't really matter what you like or dislike, what matters is what your target market likes or dislikes. If your target market is men and women ages 25-54, then People magazine is a gold mine of research for your target market. (Think it's a woman's magazine? Well, 33 percent of People readers are men-about 12 million.)

So, what we're talking about here is research. Read (or at least scan) People magazine for these reasons:

Get a feel for what the majority of Americans want to fight, find, lose, gain, have, give, or embrace.

See design and copy that is easy to scan, read, and digest.

Uncover story angles that could apply to your organization's PR.

If you already read People, maybe you have a sense of what I'm talking about. If not, carve out an hour, go to the library, and grab about ten issues and start looking through the pages with this new view in mind. You might find some real nuggets. Plus, now you can tell your friends that you only read People for research purposes.

More Than One Segment

In some cases you may need to segment your market into several very distinct markets. This may be because your ideal target markets have different needs for your product, or it may be because different products or services that you offer appeal to different, distinct markets.

Many businesses practice this approach already, but when a Duct Tape marketer takes this tack, it is with the intent of creating marketing that is tailored to the needs of this specific market niche.

Don't have an ideal client yet?

To locate hot market opportunities, think about problems and ways to solve them. In other words, look for people, industries, or companies that have a problem that no one is solving and target solving them. With this approach, it doesn't really matter if they are big, little, new, or old-the defining characteristic is a need. Some of the greatest market innovations in history have taken this approach.

I read once that that Steven Jobs of Apple Computer defined the target market for the iPod as "people who didn't want to carry around 10,000 CDs." That definition likely explains why young and old, techie and non-techie could be seen snapping up iPods faster than stores could stock them.

So what problem exists that you could solve, that could define an entire market opportunity? Is it small businesses that can't afford a certain solution? Is it people who don't need full service? Is it someone who wants something faster, smaller, or hassle-free? People who don't like paperwork? Companies that want same-day something? A market of people in transition?

Residential real estate agent Melinda Bartling decided to focus on marketing to women with changing lifestyles. She knew what she was doing had caught on when Mary, a friend she networked with, referred Melinda to a friend of hers who needed to downsize her home. Melinda thanked her for the referral and then asked why Mary didn't refer her friend to Mary's own son who sold real estate. She told her that he would have been too impatient and that she chose her because that was her specialty!

Her Web site, www.mychanginglifestyle.com, is a valuable resource for local buyers as well as sellers and women relocating to the area. Any woman coming on board with her firm also has the opportunity for meeting other women with similar interests.

What irritation in your industry does everyone just live with? When have you heard your clients or even your competitors mutter, "That's just the way it is in this business"? Start looking at things differently!


Excerpted from Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch Copyright © 2007 by John Jantsch. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword: On the subject of Marketing Integrity   Michael E. Gerber     vii
Introduction: A Solution to THE Small Business Problem     x
The Duct Tape Foundation-The Way to Sticky Marketing: (Help Them Know, Like, and Trust You More!)
Identify Your Ideal Client     2
Discover Your Core Marketing Message     20
Wake Up the Senses with an Image to Match Your Message     39
Create Products and Services for Every Stage of Client Development     52
Produce Marketing Materials That Educate     62
A Web Site That Works Day and Night     77
Get Your Entire Team Involved in Marketing     92
The Duct Tape Lead Generation Machine-Turning Stickiness into a System That Works for You: (Help Them Contact and Refer You More!)
Run Advertising That Gets Results     103
Direct Mail Is an Ideal Target Medium     127
Earned Media Attention and Expert Status     151
Ramp Up a Systematic Referral Machine     180
Automate Your Marketing with Technology Tools     210
Turn Prospects into Clients and Clients into Partners with an Advanced Education System     229
Getting on a Roll!: (Find Out What Works and Do More of It)
Commit to Your Marketing with a Plan, Budget, and Calendar     255
Epilogue: Bring Your Plans to Life with a MarketingSnapshot     272
Afterword: The Art of Creating a Community   Guy Kawasaki     275
Further Reading and Resources by Chapter     278
Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Marketing Resources     282
Special Offers     283
About the Author     285

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Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this based upon others reviews which very much over rated this material. It is an entry level, very basic peek into marketing a small company. Don't be fooled by the other 5 star ratings. It is fart too cavalier in its approach to marketing oneself, especially considering the lack of any real content. Are the ideas any good? Sure, but save your money... you know more already than what is presented here.
EricUngs More than 1 year ago
This book definitely needs to be in the hands of anyone doing any kind of business. It's a thought-provoking read in the way you view your own business image and how you can get your customers to see it the same way, if not better. The short review tips at the end of each chapter are excellent refreshers and the examples are idea generators. Everyone is in the marketing business and finding out who your ideal customer is and what you are really selling is the start of a solid campaign. Part of the Duct Tape system is getting to the point where your loyal customers (influencers)will market your business for you, through referrals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always loved duct tape projects <3 If you like duct tape and other crafts check out socraftasticic on youtube! : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This revised and updated version demonstrates the authors dedication to helping business grpw. It incorporates the newest marketing tactics in the basic theme of develop a simple, affordable and efficient marketing system.
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Angela Lasher More than 1 year ago
I was not impressed with this book. There isnt anything in it you either don't already know, or have atleast heard before. I had to force myself to finish it, and would not do it again.
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RDHPA More than 1 year ago
If you own a small business and struggled with your marketing, this is a must read. An easy to follow, thorough marketing process to help you understand and grow your business.
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MikeM More than 1 year ago
John's focus is on the practical side of marketing for almost any business. While he doesn't make the claim, following his ideas will also yield a practical strategy overhaul for your business that goes well beyond just marketing. A practical marketing implementation plan is the bonus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is really an amazing little book - such an easy read 'John Jantsch style', yet PACKED with incredibly practical and simple marketing information for small business. I love hearing John's definition for Marketing! How Simple!! That makes marketing less about the product you are selling but more about the personal trust factor involved in the transactions. That permits ANY small business 'including a start-up like mine' to compete in the marketplace - without having to compete on price! John's ideas are so effective and I have been putting them into practice since I first read the book 9 months ago 'I've read it 3 times since'. It's a good primer for the full Duct Tape Marketing coaching program, too! 'Believe me, the book is just a teaser of what you get when you sign up for the full coaching program + awesome CDs!!' A great resource for any small business owner!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of business books, and in my opinion there are two things that make this book unique. The first is the focus on the needs of small business. Many marketing books have lessons that small business owners can apply to their business, but this book focuses squarely on the needs of the small business owner. As a result, you will find a lot of practical advice that you won¿t have to spend a fortune on to implement. The second thing that I think is unique is the focus on marketing as a system. Many books address a particular aspect of marketing - defining your target market, lead generation, marketing metrics, product development, etc. This book focuses on creating a complete marketing system - from defining your marketing strategy to implementing that strategy in your day to day operations. The first part of the book walks you through the steps of building a solid foundation. Beginning with the user friendly definition of marketing as ¿getting people to know, like, trust, buy from and refer you to others¿, the author shows you how to identify your target market, develop your core marketing message and then communicate that message with marketing materials that educate. The second part of the book shows you how leverage the foundational work you did in part one by applying different marketing tactics (advertising, PR, direct mail, etc.) in order to attract more of your ideal customers. The third part of the book discusses how to put your marketing on auto-pilot by systemizing your marketing tasks and creating a marketing plan, budget and calendar. The appendixes are filled with additional resources to help you get started on your marketing plan. Appendix C is actually a bunch of discount offers for products and services that will help you implement the ideas in the book. A free marketing coaching session, web hosting on Yahoo!, logo design and a discount on the popular ACT! contact management software are some of the offers you will find in this section. Taking advantage of any one of these offers should cover the cost of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Duct Tape Marketing is a refreshing approach to marketing for small businesses. It says its practical and it's not kidding. Jantsch understands that for many businesses, expensive ad campaigns are out of the question or just don't work. The book focuses on easy to implement strategies and provides sound marketing advice. Every small business owner will discover at least one big 'aha' by reading this book.