The 1-Page Marketing Plan - Critical summary review - Allan Dib

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The 1-Page Marketing Plan - critical summary review

The 1-Page Marketing Plan Critical summary review Start your free trial
Marketing & Sales

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 1989603688

Publisher: Page Two Books Inc

Critical summary review

“Nothing happens until a sale is made,” IBM’s Thomas Watson said once. And indeed, it doesn’t really matter how good your product is – nobody will ever learn anything about its quality unless at least a few people buy it and recommend it to others. That is why, in the opinion of serial entrepreneur Allan Dib, a good product or service is nothing more than “a customer retention tool.” However, before customer retention, you need to think about a little something called “customer acquisition.” That is where Dib’s bestseller “The 1-Page Marketing Plan” comes in. Let us state from the outset: the title is not an exaggeration. 

So, get ready to discover “the easiest way for a small business to go from knowing nothing about marketing to creating and implementing a sophisticated direct response marketing plan in their business”

The three phases of the 1-Page Marketing Plan

As defined by Dib, the 1-Page Marketing Plan is “a tool that helps you implement direct response marketing in your business without needing to spend years studying to become an expert.” In practice, it is nothing more than a single table comprising three rows and three columns. Each of the nine squares represents a single step in the marketing process. Moreover, each row of three steps represents a major phase:

  1. The “before” phase. The “before” phase is all about prospects, that is, “people that may not even yet know you exist.” Consequently, the objective of the phase is quite simple: to get your prospects to know you and respond to your message. The “before” phase consists of the following three steps: 1) selecting your target market (always a niche), 2) crafting your message (never unoriginal) and 3) delivering your message through the advertising media.
  2. The “during” phase. In the “during” phase, you’re dealing with leads, that is, people who have indicated some kind of interest in the products and/or services you offer during the “before” phase. The goal of this second phase is to get your leads to like you and buy from you for the first time. To do this, you need to: 1) capture them by bribing them ethically, 2) nurture them with regular value-building information and 3) convert them into paying customers after delaying the sale for a while. 
  3. The “after” phase. Turning a lead into a buyer doesn’t signify the end of your marketing journey, but the beginning of the “after” phase during which you will be dealing exclusively with your customers. Your goal is to turn them into raving fans and get as much of their money as possible, while stimulating them to refer you to other people. You should achieve this by: 1) delivering a world-class experience, 2) increasing customer lifetime value, and 3) orchestrating referrals. 

Let us now delve a little deeper into each of these nine steps, one by one and phase by phase.

“Before” phase, step no. 1: selecting your target market

One of the main mistakes businesses make is targeting everyone, rather than targeting someone. Needless to say, this gung-ho marketing strategy almost always backfires and results in very few customer conversions, not to mention serious financial losses. The trick to getting things right is by marketing your products to a niche: being a big fish in a smaller pond is much better than being a small fish in the ocean. The former eats; the latter is eaten.

Of course, merely saying that you should market to a niche isn’t enough: you must also know how to choose the right niche for you. For example, if you are a photographer, how do you decide between vastly different market segments such as wedding and corporate photography, family portraits and photojournalism? 

According to Dib, the best way of figuring out your ideal target market is through the use of the PVP Index, a system devised by Dr. Frank Kern, attorney at law and chief engineer with NASA. The PVP index allows you to compare any number of different market segments by grading each of them in three different areas on a scale from one to 10, and then comparing the totals. The three areas of interest are:

  • P – personal fulfillment. Money aside, ask yourself how much would you enjoy working with this market segment and dealing with this type of customer? 
  • V – value to the marketplace. How much would this market segment value your work in financial terms? Will this type of customer be willing to pay you a lot of money for a few hours of work?
  • P – profitability. How profitable is the work you do for this market segment? In other words, profitability isn’t about the “turnover,” but about the “leftover.”

To refine your ideal marketing niche, you can also try to go “deep into the mind of your prospect so you can understand exactly what they want.” And what better way to understand your customer than temporarily becoming one of them by creating an avatar? An avatar, in the words of Dib, is “a detailed exploration and description of your target customer and their lives.” It is, in other words, “the marketing equivalent of method acting.” The difference is subtle: whereas method acting gets you Oscars and fame, avatars get you customers and money.

“Before” phase, step no. 2: crafting your message

According to Dib, most advertising is “boring, similar and useless” and can be summarized in a simple formula: company name + company logo + a laundry list of services offered + claims of best quality, best service or best prices + offer of a “free quote” + contact details. “It’s basically name, rank and serial number,” Dib jokingly comments. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is not the way to go. So, it’s time you started promoting your company the same way grandmasters play chess: purposefully and with a very specific step-by-step strategy in mind. 

Dib’s rule of thumb is “one ad, one objective.” In other words, be clear on the purpose of your ad before making it. Contrary to popular wisdom, selling through your ad is a faux pas – the ad should only intrigue and invite the customers to find out more. Speaking of, quality and service are just too abstract and too anticipated to be intriguing. So, rather than speaking in general terms, devise a USP, that is, a unique selling proposition. The goal of your USP should be to answer this question, “Why should I buy from you rather than from your nearest competitor?”

A good way of distilling your USP is by crafting an elevator pitch, which Dib defines as “a concise, well-rehearsed summary of your business and its value proposition which can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride, i.e. 30-90 seconds.“ Never forget that people don’t buy products but solutions to problems. So, target the prospect’s issues and highlight how your products will make their lives better. People are much more willing to pay for the cure than for prevention, so targeting existing problems results in much higher conversion than promising a bright future. Finally, choose a memorable and relevant name for your product. Think of it this way: if you need to explain it, then you’ve certainly made the wrong choice.

“Before” phase, step no. 3: reaching prospects with advertising

One of the oldest management maxims in the book is that what gets measured gets managed. Unfortunately, as Dib writes, “the reality is that most small businesses do little if any tracking of advertising. Not measuring where your leads and sales come from and not tracking ROI on ad spend is the mark of the amateur.” 

In the quoted passage, ROI stands for return on investment, that is the ratio between net profit and cost of investment. ROI is, in other words, a key performance indicator (or KPI) that determines profitability of an expenditure. If you don’t know your ROIs, you know nothing about your business. A century ago, John Wanamaker, one of the pioneers in marketing, famously said that half the money he spent on advertising was wasted and that the trouble was he didn’t know which half. Well, today there are numerous tools – from website analytics to coupon codes – that can help you easily and cheaply track your advertising effectiveness. 

Moreover, since it’s the 21st century, nobody needs to tell you that if you are not using some of these tools to create customer relationships, then you’re not really doing the job right. Nevertheless, don’t think of social media as a selling environment. Think of it as a way to create and manage customer relationships and turn them into something more for you, that is to say, financial benefit. But don’t be pushy: customer relationships are pretty much like any other relationships. The more you show that you want them, the less you get anything in return.

So, whether on Facebook or on Twitter, whether through emails or SMS, try to act as a friend to your prospects, and not as a marketing rep. Be conversational, engaging and give valuable information. It’s a good idea to sometimes complement emails with snail mail. It may sound regressive, but it actually works – not the least because it will differentiate you from your competitors. Think of it this way: how would you feel if you receive a personalized postcard from a small business? Wouldn’t you feel a bit more connected to it on an emotional level, even if merely subconsciously?

“During” phase, step no. 1: capturing leads

As already mentioned, selling directly from your ad is wrong. And this is because “the vast majority will not be ready to make a purchasing decision on the very day they read your ad – even if they are interested in what you do.”

Studies show that if you’re trying to sell through your ad, you’re basically targeting only 3% of your prospects (in other words, the people who are ready to buy immediately.) However, another 7% may be very open to buying, and more than 30% may be interested in your product, but not at the moment they see your ad. So, by selling through your ad, you’re missing out on at least 37% of your prospective audience!

The good news is that you can go from 3% to 40% – increasing the effectiveness of your advertising by a staggering 1,233% – by using the oldest trick in the book: an ethical bribe. An ethical bribe can be anything, as long as it is free, that helps you separate the wheat from the chaff, namely the leads from the prospects. Put simply, if someone takes your free gift, then they are identifying themselves as one of the 37% your “sell-immediately ad” will never reach out to.

Don’t aspire to be a hunter, says Dib, because that means you set yourself up for a constant battle to be successful. If hunters don’t kill something on any given day, they leave their family hungry. That’s why being a farmer is a lot better: plant the seeds, water them, and tend to your crop. Start harvesting afterward!

“During” phase, step no. 2: nurturing leads

Statistics show that half of the salespeople give up trying after contacting a customer once, 65% give up after two tries, and 79.8% give up after the third shot. However, if you know anything about farmers, you already know they have a different modus operandi: they never stop. They water their seeds over and over again until they either produce or die.

That is what the second step of the “during” phase – nurturing leads – boils down to: persistence. To become a factor in the mind of your lead requires at least five contacts. Nurturing starts the contact after, at number six. By contacts seven and eight, you should have already earned top-of-mind awareness by being probably the only person to make that many contacts with the person in question. That is why, by contact number nine, you should have about 90% chance of being called by your lead. Couple that with a high-quality product and you might even get a raving fan customer a few calls later.

All in all, becoming a marketing farmer is a simple three-step process:

  1. Don’t sell – identify. This is probably the most important step: instead of advertising with the intention of selling, advertise with the intention of finding people interested in what you do. A good way to do this is by offering “any kind of relevant, free information that presents a solution to a problem” your prospects might have. This will position you as an expert, rather than as a salesperson. Needless to say, the former are much more trustworthy.
  2. Build a database. Find ways to add everyone willing to accept your free gift to a comprehensive database. Subscription lists, coupon codes, prize games – they should all work. You can even get more creative if you want to.
  3. Nurture. Now that you have identified your leads, start nurturing them and providing them with value, such as with newsletters or other free gifts. Keep them interested. Be sure to contact them regularly and to offer them valuable information. Add a pitch or a special offer only occasionally. You’re still not selling.

“During” phase, step no. 3: sales conversion

“Sales conversion,” writes Allan Dib, “is all about creating enough trust and demonstrating enough value to motivate interested leads to become paying customers.”

The process starts with positioning. Think of it this way: if a boxer is too eager to attack, they will probably get knocked out. Just as well, if you are too eager to sell something to a prospective customer, you will quickly lose their trust. Selling without positioning is like proposing marriage on a first date – sure, it may work from time to time, but it is hardly a sound strategy. You don’t want to end up with a poor closing ratio, because that means you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy to gain only a little money.

To build trust, try delaying the sale purposefully while providing your customer with valuable information in the meantime. This should position you, in your customer’s mind, as a welcome guest, rather than as an intruder or a pest. It’s annoying to deal with a stranger who interrupts your dinner to sell you something you don’t need. But you’d always open the door for a trusted, dear friend who has helped you in the past.

Understanding the common fears of your customers is another good strategy to gain trust. If you can address these fears before making the sale, then you have acquired for yourself a very tangible competitive advantage. Also, be sure to never give your leads too many options. This results in something called “paralysis by analysis” and leads to indecisiveness. Giving your leads only two or three options and pricing them progressively is always the best way to go. You get bonus points if you can add a “try before you buy” sample to your offer.

“After” phase, step no. 1: delivering a world-class experience

Good businesses have hosts of customers; great businesses have tribes of raving fans. Building a tribe of fans requires commitment and an awareness that the final objective is not to convert a prospect into a customer, but a customer into a raving fan. To achieve this, you need to: 

  1. Continually “wow” your customers. There’s a difference between what people want and what people need. For example, everyone needs good health but they go to a gym because they want ripped abs. Wants are superficial and it’s what most businesses address. If you want to “wow” your customers  continuously, you need to go a little deeper. If you’ve sold somebody a treadmill, you’ve acquired a customer. If you want to turn them into a raving fan, you need to follow through to implementation, and find creative ways to make this customer actually use the treadmill. “The mark of winning businesses,” comments Dib, are “turn-key solutions that help customers through implementation to the desired result.”
  2. Create a sense of theatre around your products and services. Remember Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial depicting Apple as a rebel brand shattering technological conformity in an Orwellian dystopian world? Directed by none other than Ridley Scott, the commercial cost a fortune and it introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer in such a dramatic fashion that it is today considered a watershed event in advertising. Under the guidance of Steve Jobs, Apple mastered product launches through the art of secrecy, suspense and superiority. To this day, the company uses drama and theatre to create brand evangelists. Do the same. After all, customers want more than just being serviced – they want to be entertained.
  3. Become a voice of value to your tribe. More than just content creators, successful entrepreneurs are often prolific content creators. They are heard, and are heard often. In addition to educating their audience on quality, they often find ways to tell their addressees about all the effort that goes into delivering a product or a service. “The fact is,” writes Dib, “no one cares about your logo, company name or some dubious claim about being the leader in your industry. They want to know about what your product will do for them, and your backstory is essential to this.”

“After” phase, step no. 2: increasing customer lifetime value

If Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” taught us anything, it is this: if you are looking for a treasure, it is probably best to start looking for it in your own backyard. That is Dib’s marketing advice as well. He writes: “Most businesses have a rich ‘diamond mine’ in the form of existing customers which remains largely untapped, yet they leave this ‘family’ of existing customers after the first few transactions and spend all their marketing energy, money, and resources on seeking new sources of revenue.”

That is, of course, very wrong. Case in point, do you know that the phrase “would you like fries with that?” is responsible for hundreds of millions of McDonald’s dollars on a yearly basis? Why? Because of something called “the contrast principle” in influence theory, or upselling in marketing. Simply put, if you are buying a suit, then buying a shirt as well seems quite cheap, so you’d have no problem adding one to your cart; it is not as easy the other way around.

Use the logic of upselling to your benefit. Raise your prices and make your products more exclusive. Even better, move your existing customers to your higher priced products and services (ascension). Another way to go is by increasing the frequency with which your customers buy from you through reminders, vouchers, or subscriptions. Finally, you should never underestimate a reactivating campaign: if you play your cards right, some of your past customers may become your future raving fans.

“After” phase, step no. 3: orchestrating and stimulating referrals

Relying on “word for mouth” referrals is pretty much the same as hoping for a free lunch to feed your family. Free lunches are great, but you should never depend on them. Even though it is great products and good advertisements that make money, only functional systems can make you a fortune and turn your small business into a successful corporation.

So, instead of sitting and waiting for referrals, try to orchestrate a scheme that stimulates recommendations. There are a few things you should have in mind, the most important one being that people refer a company to other people not because they want to help the company, but because they want to help their friends or loved ones.

That’s why a good strategy to get a referral is to offer an existing customer a gift or a voucher for his/her friends or family. Asking for a referral before delivering a result is like asking for a kiss in the first minute of a blind date: it makes you look bad. However, asking for a referral after delivering the goods may even make your customer feel closer to you. Sometimes this works even better than offering a percent for a referral. The latter is a business transaction; the former, a friendly engagement. And marketing is all about emotions. 

Final notes

As its title suggests, “The 1-Page Marketing Plan,” is as simple as marketing books go: perfectly structured, free-flowingly written, blatantly honest and pleasantly illustrated (even if sometimes too “pop-arty” for its own sake).

You’ll find faults with it only if you hate money. We guess that you didn't choose a career in marketing because you do.

12min tip

As Dib wisely remarks, “no one knows how good your products or services are until after the sale. Before they buy, they only know how good your marketing is.” In other words, it’s rarely the best product that wins. It is usually the best ad.

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Who wrote the book?

Allan Dib is an Australian serial entrepreneur, business coach and public speaker. He has started and grown numerous businesses in many branches, mostly IT and marketing, with one of them earning a spot on the... (Read more)

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