Why Marketing (Your Writing or Art) Matters. My Interview with Author and Professor Tim Calkins

In this episode of The Creative Shift with Dan Blank, I speak to Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. We discuss the cornerstones of marketing and his experience in launching his latest book: “How to Wash a Chicken – Mastering the Business Presentation.” We dig into his book launch strategy, what worked, what didn’t, and what he will do differently next time. 

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Some highlights from our conversation:

  • Why he changed his title from “The Art of Business Presenting” to “How to Wash a Chicken.”
  • “To have any hope of standing out, you have to be different, unique, interesting.”
  • “Marketing is important because everything we do revolves around other people, and hoping other people respond in certain ways.”
  • He talks about whether you are marketing a new salad dressing or a book, there are similarities: you are concerned with asking how to get it out there, how to illustrate the benefit, and how to get people to pay attention.
  • “Marketing is about the response, and getting people to care.”
  • The difference between marketing years ago and modern marketing: In the past, the goal was a purchase. Now, it is very focused on word of mouth and sharing. “It’s one thing to get someone to pick up a copy of a book. It’s anther to get them to share it.”
  • He suggests you start marketing on a small scale, one person at a time. “If you think you will publish a book and thousands of people will find it, that isn’t going to happen for the average person. You have to go person to person, and hope it builds over time.”
  • He talked through how he planned his own book marketing strategy. “When putting together a marketing plan, you have to think about the big initiatives you are going after.”
  • He focused his initial efforts on those he had close connections to: his students, then his personal network, then Kellogg alumni, and then finally, reviewers. He asked himself, “Who do I know, and how do I get those folks engaged? Then I focus on the next circle out from there, and then the next.”
  • “The most effective [book marketing] thing I’ve done to date is to email 200-250 people that I had a personal connection with and talk to them about the book. The reality is, most of those people are happy to hear from you, and they would only be offended if you didn’t tell them about the book. It’s a reason to touch base with people.”
  • “Your book is worth talking about, and it’s okay to talk about it.”
  • He takes us through the specific ways he reached out to people throughout his book launch, and what he hopes to improve for next time.
  • The toughest part of his book launch.