Do-it-yourself marketing advice

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Advice & Tips

The CEO's Guide to Marketing - A book with do it yourself marketing advice

We get a lot of young entrepreneurs contacting us who don’t have the five or ten thousand dollars it takes to hire an agency like ours. Thirty five years ago, I started my business out of my laundry room so I know what it feels like to be strapped for cash. For those people, I recommend they spend $30 to order my book, “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing,” from Amazon. 

Whether you are in the start-up stage or a mature business, success is all about sales. And sales begins with good marketing. People need to know about you and your products before it can occur to them to make a purchase. 

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have a limited understanding of what marketing is and how to execute it effectively. 

The focus of “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing is to improve your understanding of marketing by explaining it in simple terms. 

As I was writing this letter, someone from a company in Romania sent a nice note and we had this exchange: 

Darius Popa:

I read “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing” and it was one of the most succinct while educative marketing books I have ever read. As an engineer, I appreciated the no-nonsense, clear and systematic explanation of all the terms within the book. Sam 6 looks like the right process for marketing our product and services with measurable results. 


Just saw the nice comments you sent us about my book. Thanks! I just happen to be writing a promotional letter for my book right now. You’ve lifted my spirits!  Lonny

Darius Popa:

Dear Mr. Kocina, Thank you very much for your kind words, my comments were true. As an engineer-entrepreneur running a small business, I need to wear many hats, one of them being responsible for the marketing activities. I have read a few books but – once again – I must admit that yours is the most direct and systematic so far. My take-away is not only a wealth of knowledge, but also a big amount of time which I saved!

Best Regards, and best of luck!


Darius Popa


Darius, can I use your comments in the promotional letter I’m writing? Lonny

Darius Popa:

Yes Sir! I’ll be honoured!



Here are a few examples of what you will learn when you have the book. 

This graphic shows the communication process. You, the sender, encode a message that is decoded by the receiver. In other words, you are going to carefully consider the key points you want to “encode” into your message that will cause the receiver to buy your product. It sounds simple but it’s not. Think of the times you’ve given someone clear instructions and then asked them to repeat them back, only to find they completely misunderstood you.

We spend many hours with big companies, going back and forth refining what their key messages will be. And then, when the website, ads and other promotions are created, they often drift off track. 

The communication process - strategically aimed marketing

To make sure we encode our message correctly, our agency uses two forms we developed. One is called a code sheet and the other is called a control template. Both are explained in my book. 

Code sheets give management control over messaging and they also give clear direction to anyone working on the promotions. Here is the code sheet I’m using as I write this letter. Each of the headings you see, such as Positioning and Brand Statement, are covered in the book in detail.

CEO's Guide code sheet for CEOs - Used as a guide for do it yourself marketing advice

If you look through this letter you will see that I touch on each primary value theme and positioning. My goal is to get people to think in a way that is similar to my Brand Statement. And if I can do that, there is a good chance they will purchase my book. 

Once again, at first glance this looks simple. But getting messaging right and sticking to it is challenging. I doubt there has been a single time in 35 years of doing our own marketing that we’ve gotten our promotions right with the first draft. Having code sheets and a control template enables us to constantly check and make adjustments as we create our ads, website pages, social posts, etc. 

The truth is, it’s hard to make sales even when your message is perfectly on point. I have many successful CEO friends, some whose sales are in the billions. None of them will tell you making sales is easy. But to stay in business and grow, you need to get good at it. 

The CEO’s Guide to Marketing is laid out in six steps we call our Strategically Aimed Marketing Process, or SAM 6® for short. It’s a process any company can integrate, and it’s sure to increase sales and build a stronger brand. And by brand, I mean the definition people hold in their minds of your company and the products or services you offer.

Be aware that this is not a 1001 creative ideas book. It’s about constructing a solid repeatable process. Go ahead and buy the creative idea books. Many are great. Just get the SAM 6 process in place before you implement your creative ideas so they produce the best possible results.  

And here’s a little warning. Most people who claim to be professional marketers aren’t professional marketers at all. They are just creative types who hung out a shingle. If you have a copy of my book, it’s easy to spot the “marketing not-so-experts”. Just go to the 31 basic marketing terms I describe at the end of the book and quiz them. I guarantee you’ll be disappointed by their lack of knowledge. Just because someone is a good graphic designer or website builder doesn’t mean they know how to construct marketing that sells.

My book is an Axiom Silver Award winner and an Amazon bestseller. We’ve sold a few thousand copies but it has a couple popular one star reviews that seem to be holding it back. There’s not much I can do about stinkers who say negative things. When I was young, I used to think I could win over the Negative Nellies. Not anymore. They are poison in the well and the sooner you distance yourself and your business from them, the better off you will be.     

When you go to Amazon, see if you can tell by reading both the positive and the negative reviews of my book, which of the reviewers have had success in their life. 

One of the best things a good marketing process will do for you is reduce stress. I hate that feeling when I’m so stressed that my shoulders are up around my ears. Try shrugging like that and feel the tension. Now relax your shoulders. That’s what marketing feels like when you know what you are doing. It’s a peaceful and confident experience. 

“The CEO’s Guide to Marketing” is an easy read. For fun, I sometimes teach marketing at a local technical college. The curriculum dictates that I have to teach from a certain text book, which is fine, but there are too many Fortune 100 level examples in textbooks. Most companies are never going to be Google, FedEx or Boeing, so why market like them? My book is geared toward the millions of regular-sized companies. It’s a simple and practical DIY marketing fix-it book. 

I personally love reading business books. You have all these smart successful people sharing their wisdom for a few bucks. It’s amazing when you think about it. I’m not sure I would have shared what I do in my book when I was younger. I probably would have worried that a competitor would have access to our secret sauce. Looking back, I think that’s a young person’s mistake––thinking someone is going to steal your ideas. As you get older, you realize most people are too busy trying to develop their own ideas to bother with yours. 

If you buy my book and you like it, please write a nice review. If you don’t like it, you’re out 30 bucks. Big deal. And if losing $30 breaks the bank for you, you’ve got bigger problems than my book can solve.


Written by Lonny Kocina

Written by Lonny Kocina

Lonny Kocina is the CEO and Founder of Media Relations Agency which has been in business for nearly 35 years. During that time, Kocina also founded and sold two other businesses: Mid America Events and Expos, and Checkerboard Internet Services. Prior to that, Lonny worked as a marketing director for Investment Rarities Inc., a company with sales over 4 billion dollars. Kocina has also been a long time member of Vistage International which is a CEO peer mentoring organization. He was also a volunteer marketing mentor for Junior Achievement and the Carlson School of Business. For fun he has taught Principles of Marketing at the college level, and his recent book, the “CEO’s Guide to Marketing” is an Axiom Business Book silver medal winner as well as an Amazon bestseller. Lonny likes to kid that his third grade teacher may have summed him up best with a note sent home on his report card. “Lonny is a daydreamer and he’s getting worse each day. He complains of a stomach ache a lot and I don’t think he likes school much either.”


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