John Jantsch named his book Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide because his ideas promise to be as effective (sticky), simple, and affordable as duct tape. The fact that so much of the book is devoted to explaining the name suggests that, like Neil “No Compromise Leadership” Ducoff, that it wasn’t the best moniker for the concept. However, the ideas Jantsch has to offer are clear and simple, have methods built in to test their effectiveness, and can be used by businesses of any size.

Elements of the Duct Tape Marketing System

The book recognizes that most businesses do not have the resources for expensive branding campaigns, and posits that these are not terribly effective. Instead, Jantsch encourages readers to identify the ideal client based upon various factors, and develop marketing strategies that target those prospects with laser-focus. This long tail marketing requires that a business owner clearly articulate his company’s purpose, and otherwise includes:

  • Educational marketing through blogging, article writing, and developing an expert reputation;
  • Advertising that invites ideal prospects to respond for more information;
  • A “Systematic Referral Machine” to capitalize on referral marketing; and
  • Tips for implementing this marketing plan

Jantsch covers questions about cultivating relationships with journalists to become an information source, strategies for using a blog to educate and entice ideal prospects, and writing advertising copy that gets responses.

Testing Marketing Ideas and Tracking Results

One point the book hammers home is the value of testing and tracking in all marketing efforts. Any advertisement, blog post, news release, podcast, or article should include a call to action (“click here for a special report on weasel breeding”) and a trackable way to receive responses. If the offer is on the web, a unique response link should be included. Similarly, an ad with a phone number should use a number or extension that can be used to track responses to a specific offer. The same can be said of mail responses (no need for a separate address; add a “Attn: Offer XYZ” to the mailing information). The emphasis on tracking results so that different wording and media can be tested against one another is the most important lesson that this book has to offer. Its mastery will set any business apart from its competitors, and the techniques are laid out plainly enough that a solopreneur can learn what’s necessary to succeed at them.

What’s In a Name: Parsing Duct Tape Marketing

The name “Duct Tape Marketing” is intended to convey the key points of Jantsch’s system of identifying ideal customers and getting them into the sales cycle early in their own decision-making process by evoking admirable qualities of duct tape. Although not all of these qualities are specifically named in the book, they all are suitable parallels:

  • Simplicity of use
  • Reusability
  • Stickiness
  • Affordability
  • Versatility
  • Universal recognition

In practice, this writer has observed various misunderstandings, including associations with cheapness, carelessness, and even one instance in which the listener assumed that it was a method for more effectively selling duct tape. Granted, the name is confusing, but its architect has used his own techniques to overcome the fogginess of the name and emerge in the forefront of book on marketing that target small business. Business leaders Michael Gerber and Guy Kawasaki provide the foreword and afterword, respectively, and these respected luminaries are neither sparing with their praise nor shallow in their understanding of Jantsch’s work.

Like any marketing system, this one will take no small amount of time to utilize fully. Duct Tape Marketing, however, is simple and complete enough that any serious small business owner should be able to implement it and see the results themselves by tracking and testing them.