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The Invisible Touch: The Four Keys to Modern Marketing Hardcover – March 1, 2000
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The beauty of marketing is that it happens when we're looking but not noticing. Before you know it, we're using Yahoo! as a search engine, even though serious researchers will tell you that Alta Vista and Dogpile are better. We're buying products that cost more and perform worse, simply because the marketing and branding of those products tells us there's a value there, even if objective analysis tells us otherwise. In The Invisible Touch, Harry Beckwith tells us the obvious--what was right in front of our faces. But because of the blinders we wear, because of the way we've been educated, socialized, or just plain bamboozled, we can't see it as clearly as he can. Thus, in each of his "four keys to modern marketing"--price, branding, packaging, relationships--he offers counterintuitive information that could make or break a business plan. For example, he explains in great detail why a higher price is better than a lower one; why every business, from Apple Computer to the U.S. Army, is a brand-name to be cherished and nurtured; why the orangest orange sells better than the least orange orange, even if both pieces of fruit taste exactly the same; and why the best service providers always remember your name and what you like to drink. This is a business book, but one that everyone who works for a living should read. Pick any page, and you'll find insights that could make you a better teacher, a better salesperson, a better employee in any trade. Beckwith drives home the idea that we're all in the business of marketing ourselves, and we're in that business every waking hour. --Lou Schuler
From Library Journal
Beckwith is the principal of Beckwith Partners, a positioning and branding advisory firm in Minneapolis, whose first book, Selling the Invisible (1977), dwelt on marketing for service businesses. He begins his new book with a segment on marketing research and its limitations, then follows with a section listing and discussing marketing fallacies. His offers four keys to effective marketingDprice, brand, packaging, and relationshipsDwhich he treats in depth. Beckwith has written a helpful book on the use of these four keys in marketing services to potential clients customers, with the aim of both getting them and keeping them. He is particularly good on the nature of marketing, showing what it can and cannot do. This book should be purchased by all libraries that serve businesses and business people and also belongs in the personal collections of professional marketers.DLittleton M. Maxwell, Business Information Ctr., Univ. of Richmond
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Having read and reviewed all of Harry Beckwith's previous books, I was especially eager to read his latest in which a provides "more engaging, practical, and down-to-earth insights" from one of America's most trusted marketing experts. After sharing his thoughts about research and its limits, various fallacies of marketing, and what he thinks "customer satisfaction" is (and isn't), and he reviews and then discusses in much greater depth the four keys to modern marketing (i.e. price, brand, packaging, and relationships) that were discussed (to varying degree) in his previously published books. Here are a few of the "nuggets" inserted within or provided at the conclusion of most chapters:
"Push price higher. Higher prices don't just talk; they tempt."
"The bigger your price, the higher your perceived quality."
"Brands, then, are not simply tools for attracting business, which is the conventional view of them. A brand does not merely attract clients, it convinces clients that they got just what the brand promised - even when they didn't."
"Look as great as you are."
"Build prettier mousetraps."
"Your package is your service."
"To make and keep a sale, make and keep a powerful connection."
"Create an oasis."
"Avoid blind dates."
"To build trust, build consistency - in everything you do."
Beckwith carefully creates a context for each of these and other insights, all of them based on his wide and deep range of real-world experiences. Think of him as a pragmatic idealist in that he is almost wholly preoccupied with understanding what works, what doesn't, and why (then sharing what he learns with as many people as possible) while retaining an abiding faith in the essential goodness of most people and in what can yet be accomplished to improve the quality of products and services as well as to strengthen relationships with others.
With regard to the title of this book, it is appropriate for two reasons: First, Beckwith examines in much greater depth many of the concepts first introduced in Selling the Invisible; also, for those who are frequent guests of a Ritz-Carlton hotel, it calls to mind what the company's founder, César Ritz, observed long ago: "People like to be served, but invisibly." Beckwith is eager to help those who read this to possess "the invisible touch" and then apply it effectively in relationships with those whom they are privileged to serve. Yes, he would insist, it really is a privilege to serve others. In my opinion, this is Harry Beckwith's most valuable book thus far. It remains for each reader to decide which of his insights and suggestions are most appropriate to her or his own circumstances.
Beckwith argues convincingly that successful service offerings depend not so much on the actual services, but on the consumers' perception of the company offering the services and the consumers' perception of themselves as the decision is made to purchase them. The successful service provider communicates in crystal clear fashion the benefits of said services and charges based on the value delivered. (It's not what you pay; it's what you get!)
Perceived value is affected by numerous factors including environment and price. Can you increase the perceived value of your product or service by simply increasing the price? Beckwith discusses several cases in which this is clearly the case. Can a restaurant improve the taste of its' food by improving the decor? Arguably, yes.
When discussing State Farm, Beckwith states, "It is not slickness, polish, uniqueness, or cleverness that makes a brand a brand. It is truth."
This strategy has worked well for State Farm. Due to the abundance of information available on the web this may become a required strategy for any company.