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Book Review: Marketing Playbook: The Manual for Growing Organizations

Marketing Playbook: The Manual for Growing Organizations

The world of business is a strange one. Artsy people often think of corporations as drab, soulless places, but nothing could be further from the truth. Companies are home to many wonders and mysteries, as most anyone who’s worked in one will tell you. And the most curious of all is marketing.

I know people who’ve worked in marketing for their whole careers, and still can’t explain what they do. Sales? That’s easy – it’s convincing someone to buy your product. Accounting? Paying the bills. Executives? Collecting large paychecks for telling other people what to do.

But I’ve never been sure what marketing is, exactly. I think it has something to do with putting the product where people can see it, and in a positive light. That’s somehow different from advertising. Maybe marketing is hard to understand because it’s sneaky by its very nature. After all, if it advertised itself, it wouldn’t work. Yet, unlike advertising, marketing is honest work. Or is it? I really don’t know. Do you? Maybe this book will tell us.

If marketing is the art and science of promoting the most accurate and attractive representation of products, this book, which lays out a large number of strategies and tactics to that end, would seem to be a very useful marketing tool. I say “seem to have” because the material at hand is only a selection from the forthcoming book. But assuming the samples are representative, it’s safe to say there’ll be a lot here for companies that want to “grow their business” to chew on.

Speaking of using “to grow” as a transitive verb (thank you, Bill Clinton): if business is a strange world, business-speak is a very strange language. In modern business, strategies aren’t practical, they’re actionable. A trip to the toilet is a bio break. A sales pitch is a “key messaging workplan.” (?) Fortunately, this book, though it uses some of the lingo, presents its marketing “plays” in direct and compressed form. These range from the humble and traditional, like paying careful attention to the design of your business cards, to the latest phenomena, like making use of blogging software. You’ll find sections on cold calling, conferences, billboard advertising, connecting with an audience – most anything related to marketing, and the book doesn’t just tell you what, but how, right down to planning and structuring meetings. For each of its 102 “plays” it estimates cost, shows an example, provides bulleted “coaching points” (read: suggestions), recommends additional resources, and so on. There are also tie-ins to more information on the related website.

The book’s biggest advantage over other marketing books may be that each section is short, easily digestible, and independent. The layout is eye-catching, and hardly a word seems wasted. From the looks of it, this book should enable anyone to succeed at the mystery that is marketing. So who cares what it is?

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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