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Can a book teach you how to “do” Marketing?

There are plenty of books that claim they’ll teach you how to “do” marketing. I’ve read, researched and reviewed lots of them and firmly believe that you cannot learn marketing out of a book.

  • How can something you dip into during the train journey into work or read for a few minutes at lunchtime or turn to in the evening while you’ve got one eye on the telly… how can that teach you how to “do” marketing?
  • How can something written by a complete stranger… who knows nothing about you or your organization or your products/services or your customers or how you came to be doing what you’re doing in the first place… how can that teach you how to “do” marketing?
  • How can something that’s full of the latest marketing buzzwords and terminology and techniques and technologies… that’ll have you thinking it’s written in a foreign language… how can that teach you how to “do” marketing – when all YOU want to do is sell more stuff and make more money?

There’s no shortage of these books. Indeed, it seems a new how to “do” marketing book is published just about every month. A lot of so-called “expert” authors are making a lot of money because they know that the business world is full of managers who have some responsibility for marketing but have little or no proper knowledge or understanding of what marketing actually is or what it does or how to apply it to their own organization, who are eager (desperate, even!) to learn more about marketing and how to “do” it.

It’s a similar story with marketing seminars and conferences. You pay hard-earned money to spend an hour or so listening to someone you’ve probably never heard of before and may never hear of again, who has been advertised (marketed!) as some kind of “marketing guru”, who offers a few titbits about marketing techniques or tactics. Come on… be honest… how much genuine, lasting and meaningful value will that have on your own or your organization’s marketing success?

Even most so-called training days aren’t much better. Every year, managers who’ve been given responsibility for marketing are sent off on marketing training courses, where they make copious notes and nod enthusiastically at the Powerpoint presentations, only to discover when they get back to the office, that what they learned seems to bear little or no relevance to their “real world” role and responsibilities.

Have YOU ever bought books or attended seminars or conferences, or been on training courses that claimed they’d show you how to “do” marketing?

Did they?


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