#30/111: Selling the Invisible

What is it about?

How to market a service business? Harry Beckwith tries to show how. He introduces you into the whole bandwidth of marketing from advertising to sales.

Key points?

Have a good product/service: If you product/service sucks it is hard to market it. First of all, you should focus on your offering and make it good.

Focus on one characteristic: And again, the good old positioning. Try to stand for one thing. Don’t be the cheapest, best, most regional and whatever it be. Be cheap. Be regional. Be fast.

Decrease risk: Often customer won’t buy the best solution. They will rather go with the least risky, one which has the fewest flaws. If you can offer a trial, offer one. If you in consulting, close a contract for a small piece of work and play the salami tactics.

Make your efforts visible: A lot of stuff happens behind closed doors and your customer and prospects will never hear of them. You have to communicate them actively. If your company got a great customer, make it public. If you have increased the profitability of your customers by 25%, make it public. Beware, not everything is interesting for anybody. You shouldn’t just brag, show how you can improve the business/life of your prospects.

Thank your customer: Often you buy something and you will never hear of that company again. You already know that acquiring new customers is much harder than selling to your existing ones. Send them thank you notes. Send them Christmas’ cards. Build a steady stream of information, they will remember you and they will feel good.


This is definitely a primer on marketing. Selling the Invisible covers so much different topics that it allows you to build a good basic understanding for marketing your service. Great book!

#21/111: Guerrilla Marketing

What is it about?

Guerrilla Marketing introduces you to marketing basics and a lot of different forms of marketing (e.g. newspapers, billboards, fliers). It focuses on small businesses and tries to show how to use your dollars more effectively.

Key points?

Focus: At first you should find out who your prospects are. What do they like? What are their hobbies? Where do they live? This allows you to spend your money better than trying to convince everybody that they need your product/service.

Be persistent: If you start your marketing champaign you should be able to run it regularly. Furthermore, it is important to stick with your campaign even if it doesn’t deliver immediate success. Marlboro stuck with their cowboy campaign for 30 years although it haven’t worked in the first year.

Market to your customers: It is about six times more expensive to market to prospects than to your customers. Therefore, try to sell more to your existing customers who already build confidence and trust with your company.

Test, Test, Test: If you’re not testing, you’re guessing. Test as much as you can and discard your losers and put this money in your winners.


The first part, which is about 80 pages long, was really useful and great. Sadly, this don’t apply to the rest of the book. A lot is just too shallow to be useful and other parts consist mostly of repetitions. You can see that this book is revised but not in-depth. There are statements which are certainly 30 years old and should be deleted by now.

#17/111: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

What is it about?

Al Ries and Jack Trout talk about their 22 laws for successful marketing. They explore which failures companies made in the past and how they can be fixed.

Key points?

Be first: Your brand/product should be recognized as the first and leading product in the market. If you think of Cola, you think of Coca-Cola. If you think of eco-friendly cars, you think of the Toyota Prius.

If you can’t, be different: If you came too late you should find your niche. Pepsi did so in targeting young people. You shouldn’t try to fight the No. 1 with their attributes, instead choose a new attribute which describes your product (e.g. healthiest cola).

Focus on one thing: Use one attribute. Don’t describe your product as easy, best and cheap. People probably won’t believe you.

Don’t extend your line because you can: If you have built a successful brand you shouldn’t just throw new products in new markets. A lot of people tried this and failed. If you introduce new products, focus on the these laws and make them unique.


This book is just incredible. The chapters are short, there are enough examples of how to apply these laws and situations where companies have failed to do so. I read the first edition from 1993 and the two authors made some recommendations for companies like Burger King. Surprisingly, about 10-15 years later a lot of these recommendations where finally executed. Nice!