Book Review - Think Two Products Ahead by Ben Mack
It's relatively easy to get someone to make a single purchase from you. But how do you instill that long-term loyalty and love that causes people to refuse to buy from anyone else? Ben Mack talks about that and many other branding issues in the book Think Two Products Ahead: Secrets the Big Advertising Agencies Don't Want You to Know and How to Use Them for Bigger Profits. It's an unconventional book that doesn't mince words...
Pool Hall Wisdom; Brand Misinformation versus Back-End Thinking; The Common Thread and Thinking Two Products Ahead; Branding? Be Good to Your Gander; Branding Processes Are Strikingly Similar; What's a Brand Essence?; Legendary Branding; Extracting a Brand Essence; The Kama Sutra of Marketing - Five Basic Positions; Framing to the Right Target Audience; Structured Creativity - Framing Tools; Creativity on Demand - Why Ad Agencies Can't Brainstorm; Feed Their Passions; Plan to Have Many Conversations; Everything Communicates; Storytelling - Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle; Branding and Thinking Two Products Ahead; Myth, Magic, and Making Money the Old-Fashioned Way; AKS; Jeff Lloyd's Secret to Commercial Residential Real Estate Sales; How to Turn Every First Sale into a Residual Stream of Income; Direct Response Branding; Acknowledgements; Index
Mack states that successful branding comes when you start thinking two products ahead of the current sale. In other words, you need to be thinking about the overall story and impression that your company and product leaves with a customer. This collection of legends and perceptions defines your brand, not the cute logo or corporate colors you stick on your products. What that means is that you *have* a brand whether you think you do or not. You need to bring your customer into the "marketing funnel", which is a four stage process: intrigue, consider, interested, and buy. When you get them to buy, then the "two products ahead" mindset turns them from one-off buyers to loyal customers. It's all a matter of managing your brand... the story that your customers tell about your company and product.
This book started off as an e-book that the author marketed himself (for a much higher price). His style of writing and communication is frank and blunt, with no room for dancing around an issue. As such, it's a lot of fun to read. Since I don't have a marketing background, I found it a little difficult to keep the finer points of marketing vs. branding vs. selling straight at times. But overall, I got the message that your brand is a priceless asset, and it's important to do everything you can to make sure that brand says the right thing to your customer.
A valuable read for any business, but especially for the small business owner who doesn't think he has a brand... he does.