Ask the Business Librarian 6-8

By Liz Kudwa

Q:  I am a new business owner and am struggling with ways to promote my business.  Does the library have any books that might offer suggestions for me?

A:  The library has a number of books on this topic, but first I would like to address the differences between Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing.  Sometimes these words are used interchangeably, but really they are three very different methods of getting the message out about your product or service.  Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary offers the following definitions.

Advertising:  the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.

Promotion: the act of furthering the growth or development of something; especially: the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through publicity or discounting.

Marketing: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.

In other words, advertising is something for which you, the business owner, must pay.  This might consist of radio spots or newspaper ads.  In contrast, promotion is not something for which you must directly pay and it can consist of word of mouth advertising, sales or discounts you might offer, as well as many other free methods of getting the word out about your product or service.  Marketing is a broad umbrella that encompasses product promotion, distribution and much more. 

Keeping these distinctions in mind, let me offer a list of titles to help you.  This list was created by doing a search in our catalog using the term “marketing”.

o    The 33 Ruthless Rules Of Local Advertising by Michael Corbett
o    401 Killer Marketing Tactics To Increase Sales, Maximize Profits, And Stomp Your Competition by Tom Feltenstein
o    Buzzmarketing: Get People To Talk About Your Stuff by Mark Hughes
o    Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, And Most Reliable System For Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing And Selling by Michael Port
o    Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea by Seth Godin
o    Guerrilla Marketing In 30 Days: All The Powerful, Proven Tactics Boiled Into A 30-Day Plan by Jay Conrad Levinson
o    Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds Of Sure-Fire Tactics To Get Maximum Sales For Minimum Dollars by Jay Conrad Levinson
o    How To Become A Marketing Superstar: Unexpected Rules That Ring The Cash Register by Jeffrey J. Fox
o    The Marketing Gurus: Lessons From The Best Marketing Books Of All Time by Chris Murray And The Editors Of Soundview Executive Book Summaries
o    Marketing Kit For Dummies by Alexander Hiam
o    Marketing Without Advertising by Michael Phillips & Salli Rasberry

For those of you who may be new to the concept of “guerilla marketing”, you’ll be happy to know that this does not involve the use of an actual guerilla.  The author of the Guerilla Marketing books, Jay Conrad Levinson, describes this concept in his books as “…an unconventional way of performing marketing activities (primarily promotion) on a very low budget.”

Elizabeth Kudwa  is the Head Librarian at the Leslie Library,
201 Pennsylvania Street, Leslie, MI.  Contact her at 517-589-9400 or by e-mail at