BOOK REVIEW: No B.S. Direct Marketing

Marketing is one of those skills that is applicable in nearly everything.

You market yourself when applying for a job.

Programmers market their apps.

Yoga instructors market their services.

That's why this week's book is Dan S. Kennedy's No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No-Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses.

Woo. What a mouthful.

Whether you want to believe it or not, succeeding in this world depends a lot on marketing, or more specifically how you communicate with people and your ability to persuade.

The philosophy of the book is this:

  • make your every marketing communication actually ask somebody to do something/take immediate action
  • don't sell your product; instead, work from the customer's interests, desires, frustrations, fears, thoughts, feelings, and experiences and have your product cater to them

In other words, stop trying to impress employers or seek validation from anyone. Focus less on yourself, and focus more on what you can do for other people. This will have the added benefit of taking less pressure on yourself while making the other party feel more important as well.

When talking to friends, listen to their problems and offer knowledge, people you know, or emotional support to help them out.

When talking to companies, find out what their problems are and offer ways to help them fix it.

When talking to customers, empathize and find out what their problems are, so you can create a solution for them.

It's a different frame of mind than we're usually taught. I remember being so used to the idea of having to prove myself to these high and mighty employers, and people I perceived to be higher status than me, that I would just feel worthless in comparison to them.

Like "what do I have to offer? I'm just some dumb college student."

Refocusing on the other person actually helped me get more job opportunities, put less pressure on myself, and actually solve people's problems.

The world... is overrun with people claiming desire for all sorts of results—from wealth to weight loss— but unwilling to do what is required to achieve the results, even when that requirement is clear and within their doing.
— Dan S. Kennedy, No B.S. Direct Marketing

The few winners want this result so bad, that they are willing to "eat a shit sandwich" so to say in order to get this result. They endure through temporary pain, judgment, and shunning from society for a greater purpose.

The losers in life desire this result as well, but want it "only if they can have it somehow gifted to them, without meetings its requirements."

It's so easy to scoff at the idea of learning marketing because "it's not my major" or "it's not my job". But it's that type of philosophy that will severely limit your growth as a professional and more importantly as a person.

The thing is, learning outside of your comfort zone may be the temporary pain or judgment that you need to get to that next level.

In the book, Kennedy talks about how to implement these direct marketing tactics into your business, but I want to reframe that and make it more useful for your life.

I believe you can use this frame to target every one of your goals:

1.) Purge your life of junk. 

Get rid of the candy in your cabinets if you're trying to eat healthy. Cancel your cable subscription if you're not spending enough time with your family, in the gym, or meeting new people. It's not easy to make a change in your lifestyle when you give yourself the option to not change. Eliminate your exposure to things that will distract you from your goal.

2.) Decide on a new plan going forward.

Make some hard-and-fast rules such as "Eat Nothing White". Creating rules for yourself is not tying yourself down and restricting you: rules give you the freedom to pursue your goal and force you to be creative. Make it a written plan so that you don't often resort to the "if it's just this one" excuse.

3.) Get some good tools.

Buy notebooks or use apps like Evernote to record your progress. Tell someone you trust about your goals and make them your accountability partner. Their job is to check in with you every week or so to make sure that you're taking action. Also be on the lookout for blogs, university clubs, or online communities (ex. Reddit) where you can interact with people who share the same goals as you.

4.) Start counting and measuring things.

Why would you go on a diet for 30 days and not keep track of how much pounds you've lost?  Nothing screams progress and helps with motivation than seeing the actual results come in. This is especially true in weight loss: it's incredibly difficult to see differences a month in, but if you notice your numbers decreasing, you know you're making progress. The same principle applies to writing a book (pages written), drinking more conservatively (3 beers a week), or money spent ($50 less every week). Make sure to keep a record of the times you've committed to your plan and praise yourself for every time you stayed true to your goals. 

Negatives of the Book:

I know this is a book about selling, but you don't have to keep trying to sell me your other books in every chapter, Dan Kennedy. It seems inauthentic and honestly, it distracts from the content and makes your book annoying to read.


Rating: 3.5/5