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The right mix

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If the real test of good marketing is ensuring that customers' expectations are always met, then readers who decide to pick up Kevin A. Epstein's Marketing Made Easy from Entrepreneur Press would discover that the book more than lives up to its title.

While most marketing books veer between doing rote textbook discussions of theoretical concepts and hyping up the next revolutionary "Big Idea" in the field, Epstein's book manages to steer clear of both. Instead, it stakes out a healthy middle ground for the subject, giving a quick overview of general marketing concepts and providing cutting-edge examples culled from some of the world's best-known companies as well as from a wealth of start-up ones.

Like all of the authors of the books in the series, Epstein is an industry practitioner who practices what he preaches and who knows the everyday marketing challenges that confront entrepreneurs. He has 15 years of marketing experience in the software industry, having worked for such companies as Netscape, RealNetworks and Inktomi and having also founded three successful small-business retail ventures. His book manages to combine these experiences into a concise, handy volume that's as close as a how-to-guide in marketing that an entrepreneur can get outside of an MBA.

The book begins by providing a framework for managers to understand how to create and organize a general marketing plan, then walks them through the construction of an analysis of the current environment and the future challenges of their particular businesses. The book aims to make them understand who their customers are and what steps are crucial to formulating a solid marketing plan. The author then follows this through by providing several examples of how to assess the benefits and costs of any marketing action plan—a feature of the book that should prove particularly useful to those without a formal business background.

The rest of Marketing Made Easy is devoted to a basic but complete discussion of various marketing strategies—from dealing with advertising in the various media to establishing a strong base of loyal customers that can provide a business with a steady cash flow. Epstein's strength as a writer is his ability to discuss all of these different approaches with economy and efficiency while maintaining the reader's interest with a skillful use of analogies, examples, and case studies.

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The book manages to cover almost every conceivable marketing scenario while making its solutions and ideas applicable to any form of business, then ends with several tips on how to avoid common mistakes that can sink even the best-laid marketing plans.

Blending clarity, breadth, and depth along with street smarts to a discussion of marketing is no small achievement. In Epstein's case, he has managed to create a marketing manual that should prove to be a godsend for entrepreneurs, teaching them how to create a successful marketing plan that won't bankrupt their businesses and that could actually bring the customers in.


Marketing Made Easy

Author: Kevin A. Epstein

Publisher: Entrepreneur Press, USA

Date of publication: 2006

Number of pages: 202

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