- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Entrepreneur Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599180421
- ISBN-13: 978-1599180427
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,707,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Madscam Paperback – November 6, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
After 30 years of agency experience with Madison Avenue firms like Ogilvy and Mather and Young and Rubicam, Parker, who is known for his advertising blogs "AdScam.com" and "AdHurl.com," offers this friendly, informative guide to advertising for small businesses. After outlining how to focus your advertising on your business's strengths, find your unique selling point and budget appropriately, Parker devotes a chapter each to print, television and new media ad strategies. In the final sections, he discusses how to hire freelancers and agencies, and how to track results. Resources and a glossary round out the book. Beginners will find more useful ideas than an established small business person, though his insider tips (e.g., a list of "Dumb Things You Should Avoid" when advertising, such as "trying to associate yourself with things that have no relevance to what you do") can be very insightful. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide
Top customer reviews
"MadScam" is a guide for small and medium sized businesses who need cost effective advertising. The book is well organized, with informative (if somewhat wordy) chapter and subchapter titles.
REVIEWERS BACKGROUND AND PERSPECTIVE
I am starting a new business, and read "MadScam" for pointers on how to handle the launch. "MadScam" contains a lot very practical ideas. On the down side, the book is cluttered with contradictions, unsubstantiated opinions, and a half dozen diatribes about the decadence and corruption of Madison Avenue (if you like that sort of thing, this is definitely the book for you). An example of unsubstantiated opinions is the author rejection of the use of telemarketing (pg. 31), newspaper inserts (pg. 86), and billboards (pg. 89). The only reason offered is that the authors finds them distasteful.
"MADSCAM" IN COMPARISON TO OTHER TITLES
SUMMARY OF USEFUL IDEAS
Since many ideas are repeated throughout the book, this list refers to where the idea first appears. Repetition is not a bad thing in this case, since "MadScam" covers important ideas in more than one context. I am including only the ideas that I consider to be unique or especially value adding, since there is a lot of information that could be considered "generic" to advertising. In other words, I am summarizing what I highlighted.
1) Mr. Parker is essentially a contrarian, who believes that advertisers travel in a pack and clients are best served by advertising that stand out from the pack. When everyone else is zigging, you zag (pg. 10).
2) Feature in ads "...unexpected features to dramatically demonstrate ...painstaking attention to the details other(s)...don't even think about". The example given is the Rolls Royce ad which featured the electric clock (pg. 10, 107).
3) Advertisements should provide lots of useful information, written in a way that grabs attention and stimulates interest. One of Mr. Parker's ads had 1,438 words (pg. 11). This approach works when you address readers who have a definite interest in what you are selling. On the other hand, be as brief and concise as possible when communicating to consumers who have little initial enthusiasm for your subject (pg. 117).
4) To create good ads, you should do a lot of research and get to know the product in all it's details (pg's. 12, 30-31).
5) The advertising must focus on the USP, Unique Selling Position. Step one is to figure out your USP (pg. 24). Your USP must inform every aspect of your market communications: business cards, logo, uniforms, etc. (pg. 55)
6) Researching the competition is a very high value added activity for planning advertising. Look at competition web sites, look at what promotions are being offered, talk to their customers, find out why people do business with them (pg. 43).
7) Define your target customers precisely, preferably as a number of small niches rather than a broad demographic, then target each niche individually (pg. 45).
8) It is not enough just to show up. You must communicate that "you are the best vendor in that market by offering not just a similar product or comparable service to everyone else, but one that's perceived as unique and exactly what the customer needs and wants right now." (pg. 49)
9) Budget your advertising with 20% kept in reserve for unexpected opportunities or crisis (pg. 73).
10) Use inexpensive weekly newspapers as a test bed for new ads. When you find one that works, then spend the bucks for a campaign in the dailies.
11) Customers don't care about you or your business. They want to know what's in it for them. This is generic, but bears repeating. (pg. 109)
SUMMARY OF LAST 6 CHAPTERS
The above summary of ideas takes us to about halfway through the book. The next 60 pages (pg's 131-193) are about production of TV, Radio, and internet advertising. Most of it strikes me as superficial, but there could be gems here I don't recognize. The closing chapters deal with how to choose an agency/consultant and how to measure advertising effectiveness. These chapters are worth skimming, but contain no revelations.
When I finished reading this book, it had more post-it notes and scribbles on the margins than any other book on my shelf of Business books. I think that is high praise for any non-fiction book.
small (or medium, or large) business, please pick up Mr. Parkers new guide
"MadScam" and read it thoroughly first. Read it all the way through before
going anywhere near Madison Ave., the literal or the figurative local
version, and it should prove very helpful in guiding you around the pitfalls
and steering you clear of the snares put in place to confuse you about what
advertising is, how it works and how it's supposed to work for you and your
Mr. Parker is an old hand at this, one look at his resume and you realize he
has been there and done that, many times over and in this book, he brings
all that to bear in lending a guiding hand to the novice entrepreneur (or
not so novice) to get the most out of what should be a collaborative effort
to advertise and market your business, but so often seems not to be the
The Pros: A very well thought out, step by step guide to the process of
advertising without the agency spiel that has come to typify advertising. It
gives solid explanations of the basic functions, the how and why, of
advertising while taking the reader through the steps needed to get good ads
produced and placed. Mr. Parker uses his experience well in relating what
should and should not happen during the process being very careful to shed
light on little known practices that would intimidate the novice. It's well
written with a good dose of sarcasm and cycnism, and some very funny
anecdotes he's picked up along the way.
The Cons: Mr. Parker can be a bit redundant, maybe to the good, but
sometimes driving home the same point once too many times. The only other
negative comment I have would be regarding the design of the book. Sadly,
this leaves a lot to be desired. In talking about effective advertising, for
a book, the design is one of the main selling points and should have been
addressed here the same care and attention as laying out an effective ad.
That being said, the book was a great read and i would recommend it to even
practitioners of the art of advertising, not just (potential) clients.
There's a lot to learn here, enjoy.
According to evidence on his Adscam blog, Parker's best stories have not yet been printed in a book, and in fact should probably never be printed anywhere. But if this book is the success it deserves to be, the public surely will drag those stories out of him. Meanwhile, I admire the Entrepreneur Press for having the vision to offer an industry veteran's clear-eyed observations to the world. It's as much fun getting to know George Parker as it is learning about advertising, and you'll be wealthier and happier for both.
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