Duct Tape Marketing Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Duct Tape Marketing introduces small businesses to the nuts and bolts of marketing in the 21st century by taking them all the way from character profiles and strategy through specific marketing tactics to building a great referral system.

Read in: 4 minutes

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Duct Tape Marketing is one of those books where you know the title before knowing it’s a book. I’d heard the phrase before and it stuck (I guess the title does its job). After having talked briefly via email with John Jantsch‘s daughter about their podcast, I added the book summary to my library.

Here are my 3 learnings from one of the top marketing books for small businesses:

  1. Have a mission.
  2. Build a base of champions.
  3. Be online.

Alright, let’s take ’em for a spin!

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Lesson 1: Have a mission.

The summary talks about objectives, missions, goals and a marketing strategy. Out of all of these, the mission seems to be the one you mustn’t screw up.

I’ve mentioned Walmart’s mission before, to bring people retail products at the lowest price with the greatest service. That’s a mission I can support.

Your mission should always be somewhat idealistic and focus on the greater good. A mission example from a window cleaning company was along the lines of “We treat the homes we enter as if they were our own.”

My mission over at my blog is to bring people step-by-step instructions to build better habits, so they can start improving their lives 1% at a time.

For Four Minute Books it’s to help you learn more in less time (4 minutes, to be exact).

The reason I pulled out the mission here is that it’s what keeps you going when you want to quit. It’s not your drive to become the market leader or your goal to double your revenue that will push you when you need it the most.

When you hit a roadblock, and you don’t have a mission, you will quit. So make sure you have one before your first, inevitable, big crash.

Lesson 2: Build a base of champions.

This part I really like. The book puts your customers into different groups, or rather stages of the customer’s journey.

There are suspects, who are a good fit, but don’t know you yet and prospects who you’ve been in touch with and that want to know more about you.

Clients are first-time buyers and repeat clients keep coming back. Lastly, there are champions. These are not only repeat customers, but they love you and your products so much, that they keep telling all of their friends about you.

Champions remind me a lot of Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans, as it seems that when you hit a certain number of those, your business really starts to prosper and grow.

That’s why your best new customers are your old customers. Once you have a few clients, focus on giving them the best possible experience and service, so that they’ll eventually become champions and do your marketing for you.

Lesson 3: Be online.

I’m not sure if this statement was directly quoted from the book, but I’m glad it popped up in the summary either way: If you’re not online, you don’t exist.

As someone who works with a web design agency, it almost hurts me to see so many small to medium sized businesses with either no website, or one that was made in 1997 and never touched again.

In some industries offline marketing and referrals will still work for a long time, but considering my own consumption behavior, it’s only a matter of time before everything will take place online.

People are already blind to banner ads, email open rates drop, and Facebook and Twitter engagement is ridiculously low.

Marketers have to become smarter and smarter in this cat-and-mouse-game, but the only way to win is to start playing.

Trying to become successful online is a crazy mess as it is (I would know), so don’t seal your own fate by thinking you don’t need it.

So pick a channel, whether that’s a website, Instagram account, Facebook page, or podcast, but pick one, and start creating.

Duct Tape Marketing Review

This summary didn’t quite hit home for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a little sick of marketing altogether right now, after banging my head against the wall for the past year.

Personal feelings aside, I do think it’s too crammed. The blink about being online tells you to hire a designer, display your contact info everywhere, use audio and video, learn SEO and be on social media.

It’s just too much information, too many terms thrown around – which is probably a sign that Duct Tape Marketing is really good. I’m assuming that all of these points are discussed at length in the book, so when in doubt, go for that.

Nevertheless, the summary covers all the basics you need to know, if your small organization is still fairly new and doesn’t know too much about marketing.

I loved the idea of building a base of champions and the different stages of the customer journey and will remember it for my own marketing.

Who would I recommend the Duct Tape Marketing summary to?

The 41 year old manager, who wants to be up to date with the marketing of his small business, the 28 year old, promising startup manager, who has a lot of growth and now knows she’s got to focus on customer retention, and anyone who hasn’t got much of an idea what marketing is all about.

Last Updated on July 27, 2022

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Niklas Göke

Niklas Göke is an author and writer whose work has attracted tens of millions of readers to date. He is also the founder and CEO of Four Minute Books, a collection of over 1,000 free book summaries teaching readers 3 valuable lessons in just 4 minutes each. Born and raised in Germany, Nik also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Engineering from KIT Karlsruhe and a Master’s Degree in Management & Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He lives in Munich and enjoys a great slice of salami pizza almost as much as reading — or writing — the next book — or book summary, of course!