A better title for Marketing for Dummies would have been Marketing for Unimaginative Suckers. I borrowed Marketing for Dummies from a friend who operates a struggling small business. She keeps it, along with Business Plans for Dummies, up on a shelf above her computer for easy reference. After reading these two books, I understand why her business is struggling.
The publishers of the Dummies series would have you believe that their books serve as complete guides to whatever subject a reader might want to know about. Marketing for Dummies is proof that this assertion is untrue. Although the quote on the front cover reads "This is the one book to have...", the truth is exactly the opposite: if you read this book alone, you'll ensure that your marketing efforts will be unremarkable failures. Marketing for Dummies contains a great deal of information about marketing, but nothing that will enable a business to make itself heard above the din of competing messages. Barnes and Noble lists this book as having eight editors, and given the scattered quality of the writing, I believe it.
Business schools are hardly known for their high academic standards. They're ranked along with colleges of education and institutes for TV and VCR repair as among the schools to which it is easiest to gain admittance. Only a dummy would claim that a business school education is sufficient for learning anything but mediocre marketing. Well, guess who wrote this book for dummies: Alexander Hiam, a man who teaches business school courses.
If the choice you want to make is between Marketing for Dummies and going to business school, by all means read Marketing for Dummies. If the choice you want to make is between the same old fill-in-the blank marketing techniques that everybody else is using and an innovative strategy that will leave your competition in the dust, leave this book on the shelf.
Marketing for Dummies is filled with business school baloney that, while not untrue, is certainly unoriginal and uninspired. For example,
Marketing for Dummies is full of this sort of junk. If readers skim through the book they may come upon a few worthwhile ideas, but they're not anything most people couldn't come up with on their own.
Marketing for Dummies won't teach you anything about marketing except what tens of thousands of other people are taught in business schools every year. Marketing for Dummies teaches mediocrity.
In order to engage in successful marketing, you need to do just a few things: understand the audience you want to reach, craft a message that is uniquely motivating to that audience, and find an effective way to deliver that message. Seem simple? Of course it isn't, but the path to success is travelled through personal experience and creativity, not with a bunch of charts and graphs from a book written for people who admit that they're too stupid to understand anything else.