Overview of The Ultimate Marketing Plan by Dan Kennedy

Marketing Goal: Getting the right message to the right people via the right media and methods – effectively, efficiently, and profitably. It is about motivating people to action, often into doing something they would not do purely of their own initiative. They moved because of your “irresistible offer!” or an impulse or an itch they can’t scratch.  The message lives in the story you tell to the customer about what you do and why you do it. The beating heart of that message is your Unique Selling Proposition(s).


Dan Kennedy (DK) points out that comparative costs of marketing do not play a big role in determining desirable outcomes. He argues the “comparative return on investment translated into net profit that matters”.


Here are his key questions to overview your marketing:

  1. Is your marketing built around the most powerful, persuasive, intriguing, compelling, fascinating message possible?
  2. Have you determined precisely who your message should be for and figured out how to put it in front of them – quite possible at exclusion of all others or at least with disregard for all others?
  3. Are you wisely investing in the most appropriate media for delivery of your message to the prospects in your chosen target market?
  4. Are you both effective and efficient?
  5. Are you accurately measuring the true, net return on investment from each marketing investment?


Key point he makes because of the answers to the above question is never static, marketing is the place where the business owner needs to micromanage.



Right Message

Cavett Robert: “Don’t be in too much of a hurry to promote, until you get good. Otherwise you just speed up the rate at which the world finds out you’re no good.”


In today’s hypermarket a truly great marketing message is even more important than “at any time in [Dan Kennedy’s] thirty-five years in marketing”. The first step is get a message that truthfully shows prospective and actual customer’s experience using the company’s good/service.



Just like general surveys the battle field, his resources, and opponent’s potentials before giving orders, the marketer also needs to conduct a thorough survey of “all you are up against – everyone else of significance who may be presenting their messages to your targeted consumer”.


How do conduct a survey?

  1. Write down each promise, feature, benefit, and statement of your competitors
  2. Keep surveying the ads, if you find same statements, mark it next to it to see the frequency of use
  3. For new statements, add to the list, and see how often it is used in ads
  4. On 3 x 5 cards,
    1. Write out every fact, feature, benefit, promise, offer component, idea of your business and your competitors
    2. Prioritize based on “probable importance to your customer and their contribution to differentiating you from your competitors”


You will naturally discover the key to marketing success – message that differentiates you from all your competitors as it is expressed in your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). DK’s definition of USP “is a way of explaining your position against your competition and against all other choices, actual or imagined”.  All great businesses (of age gone by or today) use extensively USP. Your USP may express the theme of you business, product, or service; it can be based on any marketing concepts 4Ps, 4As, Blue Ocean Strategic Factors. There are great example in the book that I highly recommend you to read.


My favorite exercise – Becoming USP-sensitive: for every business you come across ask

  1. Does this business have a USP?
  2. If not, can I think of one for it?
  3. If yes, is there a way I can think of improve it?
  4. Is there any idea here I can borrow for my use?


Some key to successful USP of product/service benefit:

  • Meaningful specific
  • Precise
  • Customer reacts, “Hey, that’s for ME!”
  • Moves the person toward purchase quickly and decisively (URGENT, LIMITED TIME/OFFER)
  • Making your product/service price elastic
  • [The most important part I can’t show because of copyright protection – BUT please DO read it in the book; it is the simple but amazingly effective part on page 10]

(Boosting above points are your company’s values; think of McDonald’s consistency or Amazon’s availability of items)


Lastly, DK says that any marketer who wants to truly be at the top of his career needs to have a Magnificent Purpose or personal success philosophy. That purpose or philosophy needs to be connected with your marketing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s