The book is great, 9 out of 10 for new marketers or new businesses, but that’s not the whole story.
1-Page Marketing Plan – Initial Thoughts
I picked up a copy of The 1-Page Marketing Plan with the expectation that I might uncover a new marketing trick or some other kind of loophole or marketing hack.
I’m an experienced marketer, specifically within the digital space, so I am skeptical of many marketing books.
It is not uncommon for flashy marketing or business growth books to be built around a flimsy central premise and fail to deliver.
With that in mind, I have to say, I thought the idea of a marketing plan that is a single page sounded a little gimmicky.
After reading the book cover to cover I can assure you that’s not the case.
Dib elegantly distills what is obviously his masterful experience of marketing into a practical guide that is great for managers, entrepreneurs, and those who are feeling overwhelmed by the frankly complex world of contemporary marketing.
Read on for my full review.
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The central theme of the book is the construction of your own one-page marketing plan. This single sheet consists of nine squares, organized into three stages—before, during, and after.
Couldn’t be simpler.
After establishing his thesis, Dib then uses the remainder of the book to discuss and dive into each of those nine squares, share best practice tips, and detail how to put them into action for your business.
If you have ever sat through a campaign planning meeting or been in a position to explain a marketing campaign to clients, colleagues, or stakeholders, you will instantly appreciate the simplicity of the nine-square format.
Don’t think that Dib’s template doesn’t cover all the bases just because it is constrained to a single sheet of paper. Sure, a one-page plan won’t cut it for an enterprise-level campaign from an international conglomerate or a sophisticated agency pitch.
But that’s not who this book is for.
The book’s design, language, and layout make it very clear that it is for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and anyone who needs to hit the ground running with their marketing efforts.
On that front, this book delivers in a big way, and the focused, simple construction of the nine-square one-page marketing plan is ideal for new campaigns.
Here’s What I Liked
Constraints Produce Better Prioritization
It is so easy to fall under the spell of paralysis by analysis.
If you obsess over getting every detail right and only launching the perfect campaign, you will never reach customer number one. By restricting your choices and forcing you to choose strategies and approaches that fit into the squares on a single page, the system subtly guides you to committing to your decisions.
This approach also forces campaigns to be better designed. Your campaigns can’t be everything to everyone. In fact, it is better that they are everything to only a few, very specific people.
Forcing your decision-making process to result in a single, focused path prevents campaign bloat, scope creep, and poor broad targeting choices.
A Single Page Is Easy to Communicate
A single-page approach is exceedingly easy to communicate to employees, colleagues, and stakeholders.
There is no room for things to get lost in translation, and the template canvas Dib uses (and provides as a downloadable file) is exactly the kind of thing that can be printed out and referenced almost as a road map.
As the name implies, it is in fact a single sheet.
Full disclosure: I didn’t actually take the time to download the file, but a picture of it is included in the book and it is certainly something that, once you have seen it, can easily be recreated in your planning software of choice.
A Single Page Is a Subtle Encouragement
For people who are totally overwhelmed by the undertaking of attempting their first campaign, going through the book and coming out the other side with a succinct single page is a confidence-builder.
Contrast that with a massive slide deck or a fully-fledged marketing plan and business case in a thick binder.
A single piece of paper says, “You can do this” and it contains exactly the steps needed for execution.
That might not mean much to seasoned marketers, but for people who are starting their own business and being pulled in a hundred directions at once, a task that is straightforward and simply presented is a breath of fresh air.
As far as the one-page template/concept is concerned, I don’t really have any criticisms. The book “does what it says on the tin,” so to speak. You read it, and at the end you have the tools you need to produce a one-page marketing plan.
As you can see, I am a fan of Dib’s work. However, I do have some lightly critical comments regarding the book in total, outside of the single-page plan.
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Here’s What I Didn’t Like
No book is perfect. At the end of the day I absolutely recommend The 1-Page Marketing Plan, but I think there are some aspects of the book’s content that readers should be aware of.
Allan Dib makes it clear right away that this is a book about direct response marketing.
Which makes sense—direct response marketing strategies and tactics will give readers the most results tied to revenue in the shortest amount of time.
I have no qualms with direct response marketing or with Dib’s choice, but I do wish he explored the world of marketing a little more, especially with regard to digital marketing concepts.
Maybe that’s just because I’m on the younger side as a business owner, or maybe it’s because I really like digital marketing, but I felt the book could have taken a closer look at digital tactics and strategies.
Especially with regard to how digital tools can be used to leverage the concepts in the book.
But, like I said, Dib accomplishes what he sets out to and he does it expertly. But be aware this isn’t a holistic look at the marketing ecosystem—it is a laser-focused look at direct response techniques and tactics.
This Book Isn’t for Veteran Marketers
Maybe this isn’t really a criticism, but if you are an experienced marketer you probably won’t learn a whole lot by reading it.
The single-page concept is great, and the book is a good review of basic direct response concepts. Dib is a concise and engaging writer, but the book is very highly targeted toward people with little to no marketing experience.
In this capacity, Allan Dib’s The 1-Page Marketing Plan is an excellent primer; for veteran marketers the book is worth reading, but marketing professionals won’t find it nearly as valuable as new marketers will.
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The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: The 1-Page Marketing Plan is a great book for new or beginner marketers.
It is built around time-tested direct response marketing principles. It is easy to read, highly actionable, and, perhaps most importantly, self-contained.
By that I mean if you read the book cover to cover, you gain the tools you need to put the concepts into action—no additional reading required.
For brand-new marketers I would recommend additional reading, especially reading that examines digital marketing tactics and offers hands-on tips, but as far as the basics are concerned, The 1-Page Marketing Plan is an excellent starting point.
I’m not a huge fan of assigning numerical scores to creative works, but if I had to break it down, I would score it as follows:
|For new marketers or new businesses||9/10: Great Read, Very Valuable|
|For experienced marketers||7/10: Good Read, Great Review of Concepts|
John co-founded ClydeBank Media in 2013. Focusing on adding as much value as possible to the market, John, with the support of the exceptional team at ClydeBank Media, has helped guide the early growth of the company. He currently serves as the Director and as a contributor to the ClydeBank Media blog.