Be a Dummy, Read This
by Jonathan Margolis
A little over 10 years ago we had the opportunity to work with Wiley Publishing to author Guerilla Marketing For Dummies. I must admit writing a book was never on my “to do” list, simply finishing reading one was more my thing. However, the process was quite the experience and I couldn’t be happier to count it as one of my professional achievements.
It all started with a letter (seriously, I think it was a letter as opposed to an email…how archaic!) that we received from Wiley letting us know they planned on publishing a book about Guerilla Marketing and asked if we would be interested in throwing our hat in the ring to write it. At this point in time, we prided ourselves on being leaders in the space so how could we possibly turn this down? This would give us the opportunity to walk into a room with a potential client and say we literally wrote the book on the subject.
The publishers requested we supply, on spec, a sample chapter, proposed Table of Contents, our vision for the book, as well as bios of the authors. Shortly after delivering all of these elements we received notice that out of all the agencies approached for this title they found us to be the most impressive. What followed next was quite daunting, exhilarating, stressful…and kinda fun.
We were told we had six months to write the book, and in that time we would have separate deadlines for chapters, edits, and re-writes. We received a small down payment which would be worked off proceeds once the book hit the shelves. We immediately hit the ground running. I pulled in our SVP at the time Patrick Garrigan to help me with this project. Being his own expert in the field, a fantastic writer, and just someone I enjoyed being with, I couldn’t think of a better choice.
For the next six months, I think we identified every coffee shop between our office and my apartment and even worked on it remotely from places like Sundance and Sunfest. We would draft the chapter, share it with our Technical Editor (another fine fellow, Mr. Michael Joseloff), and then submit for final sign-off from the publisher’s editor. We also helped with some lighter tasks like working with their cartoonist to offer thoughts and insights on his work, as well as enlisting the late (and quite legendary) Jay Conrad Levinson, otherwise known as the father of Guerrilla Marketing, to write the Forward.
I’ll never forget the feeling of getting that first box of books. They were almost like bricks of gold, except these would be available at your local bookstore for $12.99. We immediately turned to our Publicist to create a PR campaign around the launch. We put together mailers consisting of a copy of the book, a guerilla mask, and a personalized note. We garnered some solid press both for the book and the agency.
Since publication, the book has been translated into five languages, and from what past interns here have told me, has even become required reading in several marketing courses. I would say that if we were to author an updated version, we would suggest changing the title to Experiential Marketing For Dummies, which if anything would also give us the chance to try out several new coffee shops in the neighborhood.
That said, the main reason for this post is to announce a new series, #TipTuesday, which you may have already seen making its way into MAG’s social media channels. Each Tuesday (or close to it!) we’ll be featuring a fun fact (or shall I say fun tip) from the book. Our hope in doing so is that these little nuggets of information will help inform and educate our followers on all things experiential.
Hope you enjoy them, and no, reading the book does not imply you’re a dummy.