Note: This is a review of the Duct Tape Marketing System course and coaching program. If you are interested in a review of the book, check out the Amazon reviews here.
💡 BONUS FREE STUFF – If you’re considering buying the Duct Tape Marketing System make sure to check out our exclusive bonus valued at $1,500 just for using this link. You can find all the details at the bottom of this post.
Why I’m writing this review
Recently I was hired by Vinay as the new content creator for Process Street. With a history of ghost-writing product descriptions and other mundane copy I was excited to get underway with something more personal and varied. Unlike in the past, this job needs me to research topics I don’t know much about. I hadn’t heard of more than two big marketing blogs and was lost for words when asked my opinions about them.
It’s scary having to talk about business and marketing when you’re a music technology graduate, but my first checklist was, coincidentally, relevant to my skills! Intentionally or not, my next project involved writing about a marketing course that is applicable to plenty of different people, teaching the basic theory of what seems to be a science of holding attention spans that have shrunk down massively since the introduction of all this easy-to-read content on the internet. Writing this review (and another upcoming post) gave me my first freedom to write as myself and expanded my marketing knowledge hugely.
The personal nature of the Duct Tape Marketing System course made me feel as if I was being spoken to 1 on 1 by the creator, John Jantsch, a man who has been a small business owner almost since before I was born. John is a writer, speaker and marketer whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and CNNMoney. He has also written keynote speeches for HP, Microsoft and eBay among others.
His 2007 e-book, Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide was the first in a series of three critically acclaimed publications to date. The Duct Tape Marketing System condenses his written teachings into 11 modules, each containing around 4 lessons complete with checklists, worksheets and other supporting material. Along with the course you also get access to forums, a monthly webinar and Q&A sessions with John himself – the course is $39 a month and provides everything I’m about to talk about in this complete review.
Full Disclosure: Process Street is a sponsor of the Duct Tape Marketing System and is mentioned in the course. We did not pay for this sponsorship and you do not need to use Process Street to get value from the course, we are just listed as a useful resource. Vinay has also partnered with John in the past, including writing this guest post on how to build a blog.
- Top down format – first, take your vision and then zoom in on what you need to realize it. Works for businesses of all kinds. Applicable in any way the viewer chooses
- Adopts an approach of self-evaluation and psychological analysis for you to figure out yourself and your clients.
- Interesting teaching personality with a simple and motivational way of speaking
- Video transcripts available to read along with the video, either to cement the spoken word or as an alternative to listening.
- Unique material such as the trademarked Marketing Hourglass – an alternative to the old lead to sale flowchart that takes into account modern factors.
- Bite sized tips and big-picture strategies.
- A variety of actionable ideas provided as video and text complete with .pdf worksheets to help you adapt them to your vision
- Consists entirely of videos and worksheets, no interactive content.
- Videos are basic and audio quality slightly shaky.
- No access to image files shown in video for offline use.
- Emphasis on team participation in the course; soloprenuers may not get full value.
- Some spelling and grammar issues, mostly in video transcripts
- Slightly awkward site navigation: skipping between modules is done only via the course homepage.
What does this product do?
Duct Tape Marketing is a company founded by John Jantsch, a man known as the World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Expert. Alongside several ebooks and a fully stocked blog, Duct Tape Marketing is now offering a course for any and all that seeks to train you and your team to become an efficient marketing machine. The course will teach you what is regarded as traditional marketing best-practice and the applications of this knowledge in modern terms, such as SEO, creating an online presence and how to effectively coordinate your social media endeavors.
Unlike many courses, such as the Small Business Course at the Online Marketing Institute (which does not offer 1-on-1 tuition or other support) or the Strategic Online Marketing Course from BCIT (which would be impossible to work around a full-time job), the Duct Tape Marketing System is a practical and easy-to-use course with plenty of support that you can carry out at your own pace with no deadlines, time-constraints or other things that would prove distracting. I personally got through it in three days while writing, editing and living a normal life, too! It includes:
- Immediate access to the Duct Tape Marketing Course – Click here to see the full course curriculum.
- Monthly group coaching webinar with John and special guest experts
- Live Q&A sessions
- An account in their exclusive forums
- The chance to win perks and software worth thousands of dollars, including lifetime Process Street membership
- Access to a useful toolbox of resources
- Mentoring from the Duct Tape Marketing consultants
- Constant connection to course leaders and help every step of the way
What does this product do differently than the competition?
The Duct Tape Marketing System is a course that boils down the impenetrable and often contradictory labyrinth of internet marketing advice to simple, actionable steps that can be checked off in order. Starting with the big picture and zooming in to check the workings of each element, the course goes from dreams to reality in 11 modules. It teaches you how to reclaim sanity in a world still swept off its feet by the modern age. John has great values and is always sharing great tips for small businesses on his blog.
What does this product do that is great?
John has a like-able approach to speaking that combines educational anecdotes with hard facts and figures – the course content is a mixture of bite sized steps and big-picture strategies that are inspirational and practical.
As well as the course content, which is set out in 11 modules of 2-4 lessons each, there is an actively monitored forum for customers to speak personally to John and the team and get tailored advice. Similarly, the monthly webinars are also included in the price of the monthly subscription. The webinars are a great way to hear Duct Tape Marketing go into the details of some of the lessons in a more in-depth way and for users to take part in live Q&A sessions.
What does this product do that is bad?
While possibly a nit-picky complaint, it’s obvious that the voice has not been recorded professionally or agonized over too much. Background noises, occasionally intrusive, are audible. In the marketing business we all know that every little thing can affect image in a hugely positive or negative way, so concerns about content not appearing professional are very real among potential customers. Similarly, the video content has obviously been screen-captured from a full-screen PowerPoint presentation, leaving it lacking in dynamics or anything that will hold the viewer’s eyes to the screen. Unfortunately, solopenuers may find this course to be targeted elsewhere. The content often emphasizes the importance of brainstorming with and teaching your team, but does occasionally try to cater for individuals too – that said, the information was helpful for me. It covers the important bits of marketing, which is helpful when you don’t know what they even are.
Who is the ideal person for this product?
Both people who need a full introduction to the transition between pre and post-internet marketing and established marketing experts will benefit from this course because it is organized in such a rational way it will make sure that new, or even existing, knowledge is retained and considered. The flexibility of the course means that it is applicable to across many professional fields – some of the past Duct Tape Marketing clients – of course – include marketing consultants but more surprisingly doctors, dentists, real estate agents, artists and banks.
Where can you buy this product?
The Duct Tape Marketing System course is available now from this link. There are 3 pricing options available, the higher tiers include coaching if you are looking for a more personal experience.
💡 BONUS FREE STUFF – If you’re considering buying the Duct Tape Marketing System make sure to check out our exclusive bonus valued at $1,500 just for using this link. You can find all the details at the bottom of this post.
Duct Tape Marketing System Pricing
Here I’m going to go bit-by-bit and take an in-depth look at each module’s content.
Module One: Strategy and Brand
The teaching and worksheets in this module help compartmentalize your clients and are designed to make you think about the future of your business instead of giving you all the answers. Provoking a clear vision is important to successful marketing strategies, as this vision will come across in your branding as well as how you portray yourself to the public and your clients.
“Communicate your difference – commit to it, stay at it and resist the temptation to wander off in the next new direction.”
The momentum of the course so far feels very balanced, steady and logical. Starting from the ground up, it focuses in on the big picture to show you what the components of your future success will be.
Including client psychology brings a science to business – creating broad psychological profiles combining groups of clients with similar behavior under one persona helps you target certain a group. Answers to questions such as “How do they come to a decision?” will help you close the next deal before you even start.
Module Two: The Marketing Hourglass
Module Two introduces the idea of the Marketing Hourglass, a unique concept and a Duct Tape Marketing original! In true John Jantsch style, it is a simple rationalization of the process clients take from finding out about your organization to referring it to others. The fact that the process doesn’t end at the buying stage speaks volumes about the sustainability of the methods taught in this course.
“…the days when marketing would simply create a message through content and throw it out there to the sales team and they would close the deal; throw it to the service team and you’d have a loyal customer. I think those days are over.”
The Marketing Hourglass is one of Jantsch’s most celebrated theories, extending on the classic ‘know, like trust’ and arguing that there is much more to a successful business and loyal customers than these three steps.
Module Three: Content Foundation
Around the time of Module Three I realized why this course flows so well. Every lesson begins by relating to the previous one, and all modules have an easy-to-understand underlying theme, tying the course together with both the videos and the course documents. Every element builds on the last in a way that requires action over studying, allowing you to learn by doing instead of sitting and watching, listening or reading. Implementing these tactics often involves your wider team or others in your organization. Taking part in this course can bring teams closer together and give employees a chance to engage further with your vision, ensuring they convey that to potentials.
“Being able to articulate ‘here’s how we do what we do’ is really a tremendous part of the content that you can produce as well as a way to establish your own authority.”
While often theoretical, the course never loses sight of how a real business operates. After spending much of Module Three discussing why and how to use content most efficiently the fourth lesson goes right in to talk about the concrete marketing materials you want to be looking to put out to represent your brand – your marketing kit.
Module Four: Content Platform
Module Four begins with a checklist for those entering the world of blogging. It clears up some common misconceptions (you’re not a ‘blogger’ just because you have a blog) and gives tips on how to find interesting content you can learn from as well as creating a platform for your own.
“Blogs and blogging have become standard content creation and distribution tools and almost every business needs to add a blog as part of their content home. Don’t think of it as something that will attract lots of daily readers”
Here you will find advice on platforms for content distribution such as podcasting, blogging and video, using WordPress, YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, Stitcher, Slideshare, Word Swag, Listly, Canva and more. It also includes a great .pdf file detailing video marketing setups for high and low budgets as well as a comprehensive, down-to-earth guide of what to actually do with the video when it’s finished. John flags up things here that are often overlooked – have you thought about checking your sent emails to find FAQs from your clients or potentials? This makes great content to answer questions and address concerns that your potentials haven’t asked you personally.
Module Five: Online Presence
This awesome module will help ease the uninitiated (me) into becoming a Webmaster and Analytics ninja as well as providing step-by-step lists for each social network to make sure you’re optimizing your online presence. Like the rest of the course, the teachings here are for students of various levels of existing know-how. The course stresses that keeping your ear on the ground and watching what everyone else is doing is just as important as taking your own action. John shows you a variety of sources and offers valuable hacks for staying on top of the industry.
“If you want to really score some points with a client, how about taking some of that material that you’ve been able to scan and read and take the five most popular posts in their industry or in their topic and just share that with them. Even if it’s an industry you know nothing about, it’s a great way for you to be much more valuable and influential to your customers and prospects.”
Small businesses have the luxury of being able to use social media not only for engaging entire groups of people, but on a one-to-one basis too. In this age of multimedia coverage and worldwide outreach, the personal touch could be all that’s left to set your business aside from others. One-to-one communication could be one of the last weapons the small business owner has against large, scarily-efficient corporations.
Module Six: Online Assets
The sixth module is a lesson in being thankful for what you’ve already got. Social networks and the wealth of industry-relevant content available on the web are possibly the most powerful tools for your small business. Here John explains, with plenty of useful examples, how to use this overwhelming pool of knowledge and make sense of it by homing in on the exact areas that are going to be of use to you. This so-called ‘content outpost’ is a multi-service platform built up of your entire online presence: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. In addition to the obvious choices, learn how to market via Quora and Pintrest for a new and dynamic approach.
“How many times have you had a great meeting with a potential referral partner only to see actual referrals or working together on clients go nowhere? Everyone needs content so if you can be the partner that brings content to the relationship-building table, guess what? – you win!”
Included with the video tutorial are those much-loved progress-tracking tools: checklists. The social media checklist and the content amplification checklist give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to maximize your online presence.
Module Seven: Online Optimization
Give and take is the name of the game here. Sharing other people’s content so they share yours, getting noticed with guest posts and linking it all back to your main content outposts. The course develops at a natural pace, never getting ahead of its self and always progressing naturally. For example, it never assumes you have content before telling you how to go about creating it. It doesn’t talk about SEO until explaining how to go about setting up your blog the right way. Module Seven is an exercise in share and share alike as well as optimizing your content for both the local area and the world.
“Increasingly, when folks turn to a search engine, they aren’t looking for something around the world, they’re looking for something around the block. The good news for local businesses is they aren’t just looking; they’re jumping in the car, going out, and buying what they find when they search.”
What John calls ‘being the resource’ is key here. Tools like Scoop.it are key places for you to gather shareable content for your blog or email newsletter, narrowed down to be relevant to your locale or specific business area.
Module Eight: Lead Generation
There are some surprising ideas in this module that might make you reconsider your ad campaigns. John suggests you consider how much direct mail you actually get any more, pointing out that it is now an unsaturated market that, when done right, can be an extremely powerful tool.
“A lot of people think mail and anything offline is really dead, and I want to suggest you think about your own case: we don’t get a lot of mail anymore.”
The Advertising Audit and Plan Worksheets give the tools to both test your current state of advertising and to formulate a plan of action for the future. As usual, these worksheets can be filled in online so you don’t have to print them out and create clutter. Alongside the tasks provided with each lesson there is additional helpful content, both from the Duct Tape Marketing blog and other great sources. Personally I feel the course may well be worth purchasing just for the novel ideas in this and the later modules since those are the parts I found useful.
Module Nine: Lead Conversion
John’s approach to lead conversion is probably an unpopular one, but his success shows it obviously works for the small business owner.
“Lead conversion: this is what people call selling, but I want you to think differently. In my opinion, a great deal process is not just a way to close a deal.”
This module works with Jantsch’s own brand of business psychology, drawing on that to help you train your team to train your potentials to become what’s known here as ‘ideal clients’ – those who buy, repeat and refer – a concept explained earlier on in the course. All of the hard work you will have done at this point builds to lead conversion, making this one of the important closing modules and a refresher, at the very least, for anyone who works or dabbles in marketing.
Module Ten: Tracking and Metrics
It’s common practice in the age of internet marketing to keep track of usage statistics, lead conversions and other important figures. This module asks you to think about 1) how to get more analytical data and 2) how to use it to your best advantage. While sales and revenue is one obvious way to measure success, knowledge of the success of every little effort you have made is king here.
“The only way to improve your marketing results is to track what’s working and what’s not and go to work on getting better results.”
The lessons include actionable worksheets that will help you formulate your goals in a crystal clear way and see how best to meet your goals. Maybe you want to focus on web traffic to drive sales? Tools like the KPI Tracking Worksheet can be used to understand where you’re at now so you can set attainable goals over the coming months. The lessons here are intended to last for extended periods of time and contain resources for you to teach yourself what your unique case needs to get ahead, such as the Lead and Customer Tracking Worksheet. John simplifies the ideas behind Google Analytics and other metrics tools, allowing beginners to get to grips with what could otherwise be seen as a complex system.
Module Eleven: Ongoing Growth Planning
Module Eleven is designed to be both a logical stopping point and a logical looping point. Measure the success of your efforts from modules 1-9 with the skills learned in module 10, then repeat to solve any problems you might find. This module provides tools for a more advanced business plan, safe in the knowledge you have been equipped to deal with it by the course so far. It will guide you through creating a focused marketing department and the tracking of tasks using team checklists and spreadsheets. Ending as it began, with a huge emphasis on gathering information, the matter of ongoing growth planning is broken down into lessons and steps that seem able to be followed by newcomers and veterans.
“Getting in the habit of making planning something you are doing on an ongoing basis is how you move these things forward, is how you keep strategy alive. You don’t create a marketing plan. You create an environment of planning.”
The open-ending of the course ties in with John’s philosophy so deeply that it felt like a momentous moment of inspirational change. A call to go back, do it all again and just see how much you’ve learned in the time you took to do this simple course.
The Duct Tape Marketing System Review is a unique and interesting way to approach what is essentially a small business how-to guide. John teaches you to be self-taught, to absorb the business environment around you and to always be planning ahead. In fact, during my time reviewing this course I found myself checking back and using its resources for everyday marketing activities. While the media the message is communicated in may be underwhelming after watching the polished introductory explainer video, the teachings are just as solid as they would be otherwise and I can say for certain that anyone in my position will get something out of it.
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