Dan Kennedy, No B.S. Direct Marketing, 2nd Edition.

by John White

Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Direct Marketing is not specifically written for real estate agents, but it will help any real estate agent with direct marketing. Before getting started, I need to say a few things about Kennedy’s style before recommending this work. Some books are written in an inspirationally beautiful tone, such as Subir Chowdhury’s The Difference, which I reviewed just two weeks ago. Dan Kennedy writes in a dryer, much terser tone, by comparison. His goal is to have you think in a highly disciplined manner about how to use direct marketing successfully.

To begin with, Kennedy admonishes the tendency he often sees in small businesses, not to track the success of their marketing, of lack of success. He rightly points out while managers often track the other aspects of running their business, somehow money they spend on marketing gets a pass. Tracking is important because it brings you clarity in understanding which strategies work, and which don’t – it is your key to being able to make an informed decision rather than merely have an opinion about it. Results matter, and nothing else. After that, he cautions small business owners against a couple of major mistakes. Sometimes small businesses try to market in the way large companies do, which is often brand-building. Instead, their model should be the direct marketing of the mail order catalogue writers. Marketing should clearly articulate their offer (this aligns well to NAEA’s strategy of articulating your value). Next, there will always be an offer or offers, which your prospects won’t be able to refuse. The message should have strong copy, with clear instructions. The second thing they often do – and I believe this is a problem in real estate – is try to copy what their competitors do, a problem he refers to as marketing incest. And like real incest, he argues, it just makes everyone dumber and dumber. The winning strategy – the triad of marketing – is to have the right message, conveyed to the right market (prospective clients) for the message, through the right media. If one of these aspects is not right, then the whole campaign will be a waste of time and marketing resources.

Part of the greatness of Kennedy’s writing on direct marketing is that he contextualizes marketing within the operational flow of business. Marketing hardly does any good if the marketer does not capture contact information, the follow up is not successful, or if there is no rescue of lost customers. This is especially applicable in real estate where nurtures are concerned. Read No B.S. Direct Marketing, and carry out your marketing in the smartest, most efficient way possible.