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Marketing pro doles out business advice in a binder

Mark Dennett considers himself a marketing coach.

After a lengthy stint of running his own firm, followed by a decade as a consultant and seminar speaker, the Ashland resident decided to share his playbook with business owners.

"PowerShifting Marketing: 101 Ways to Shift Your Company into High Gear" is the product of nearly a decade's worth of interaction with people looking for ways to propel their business into the limelight.

The former Laurel Communications operator sold his agency 12 years ago and began presenting seminars a decade ago. He soon discovered entrepreneurs frequently misunderstood marketing.

"They basically thought marketing was advertising and promoting your product and they didn't understand that marketing is understanding what the market wants and creating a consistent product and delivering the product well and then promoting it."

Many of the questions missed the mark, but led to larger principles.

"Is television or radio advertising better?" he says. "Do I need an ad in the phone book? How much should I put into telephone book advertising? Do I need market research and need a formal marketing plan?"

The answers to those questions and more formed the backbone of the book

"I decided what they need was a book with 101 very quick and easy tips someone could use to move their business forward," Dennett says. There are three underlying keys to his PowerShift Marketing plan:

"First, businesses that are the most successful are run by people who embrace change," Dennett says. "I don't just mean accept change, but to go out and aggressively be willing to change.

"No. 2, you really know where your customer is heading because you are embracing change, you're always ahead of your customer, listening, finding out what they want and responding to that need first.

"The third thing is taking an action every single day that helps move your business forward — it doesn't have to be that big."

The 180-page format is not designed to be read once and then shelved.

Dennett knocked heads with potential publishers who balked at the idea of a three-ring binder, instead of traditional hard or soft covers

"My challenge was if I'm really a believer in embracing change, doesn't the book have to constantly change to include the latest and great information?" he admits. "If you can't change the book, you can't do it."

The loose-leaf approach filled the bill, with book buyers able to subscribe to updates for $12 a year.

"This way, if you want to change the Internet, PR or research section, you can change the whole section," he says.

The book retails for $36.95, including a one-year subscription for updates. There is a executive version that fits into a desktop box as well. The third option is to download a PDF version for $19.95. The book is available online at www.PowershiftMarketingBook.com or at Dennett's Web site: www.Dennettgroup.com.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.