The Ultimate Marketing Engine Puts Customers First


An interactive book that takes small business owners through a customer-centric marketing process

The Ultimate Marketing Engine (1)

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One of our local restaurants has closed because the owners retired and decided to take an extended vacation in Europe. I’m happy for them, but our community is mourning the loss of a favorite watering hole and meeting place.

I happened to be there grabbing some take-out on their last day. As I waited for my order one family after another came through the door, shouted “We’re going to have the usual” and went to sit down at “their” table.  It’s easy to see why the place was so popular. Everyone who walked in there felt like family. Customers talked to each other, the owners talked to the customers and it just felt like an extended family.

And now, whenever we want to grab a drink or dinner, we have to stop ourselves from even mentioning the place as an option.  And you can see everyone in the group with a slightly sad face as we go for our next best alternative.

This warm and wonderful place now sits empty until another owner takes over. And, while we all know that another restaurant will step in, a little something special is no longer there. 

Here’s my question for you. Would you say they were successful or not?

Your answer to that question is a peek inside your personal business goals.  Whether you see yourself running a successful business, selling and retiring as a success or you’d like to have a chain of restaurants and collect a passive income from a business you’ve grown — the answer lies not with the business, but in the impact that your business makes on your customers.

Is it possible to have both a business that provides a uniquely personal experience and a personal life that allows you to step away for a month-long European vacation?

For that, you would have to read John Jantsch’s new book The Ultimate Marketing Machine.

About John Jantsch 

John Jantsch is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing and the author of several best-selling marketing books that include Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine, Duct Tape Selling and The Commitment Engine. He’s a speaker, consultant, musician and artist. 

I’ve known John since about 2006 when I started my own site. You could say he was a celebrity in our little marketing niche of the world.  

One of the things Jantsch is known for is his practical way of implementing marketing for Main Street businesses.  His books are often filled with lots of interviews and examples from his client base. And this is what makes them such a great resource.

The Ultimate Marketing Engine is a Customer-Centric Duct Tape Marketing

Whenever someone writes more than three books, I start looking for patterns and trends and this is what I’ve noticed about Jantsch’s books.

Duct Tape Marketing was a look at a complete marketing “engine” as he likes to call it.  Then each successive book takes a closer look at specific elements of the engine; The Referral Engine (my personal favorite) gives you oodles of examples of how to build a referral machine that generates free hot leads for your business.  Then there’s The Commitment Engine that digs deeper into customer loyalty, Duct Tape Selling zooms in on sales, and SEO for Growth talks about more inbound marketing. 

This is why I look at The Ultimate Marketing Engine as a more evolved version of Duct Tape Marketing.  Like his other books, he does this zooming out and away from marketing as a process with the product at the center and zooms into a customer-centric marketing approach.

Let’s Not Forget the Customer

Jantsch’s key point in this book is that it’s not the product or customer journey toward buying the product that matters. It’s the impact you make on your customer and their life that matters. 

Not gonna lie, this is a very nuanced concept and one that few businesses can systematize. 

And, this is the primary goal of The Ultimate Marketing Engine.

3 Big Ideas in One Book 

While most business books have a single process or model that they go through, Jantsch talks about three big concepts and ideas.  

The 5-Steps to Ridiculously Consistent Growth: This is mentioned in the subtitle and serves as the primary foundation for the chapters.  Think of this as the overarching marketing process.  It’s the actual marketing engine.  To have a healthy flow of customers, you need to run this process and run it in order.

The Marketing Hourglass: This is the foundation for the customer journey or the marketing funnel.  What makes Jantsch’s funnel unique and pillar concept for this book is that it goes well beyond the customer purchase and into repeat purchases and referrals.

The Customer Success Track: This process is INSIDE the marketing hourglass. It’s focused specifically on how you serve your customers.  

To be honest, I was a bit lost throughout this book.  Each of these concepts were truly big enough to be their own book.  I found myself reading and re-reading sections just to make sure I was getting it.

But Wait…It’s a Course and There are Resources

The Ultimate Marketing Machine isn’t just a book, it’s really a companion piece to a course and series of resources that you can get when you go to and enter your secret code that comes with your book purchase. 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to use these resources.  You see, this isn’t a book you sit down and read for entertainment. It’s a book with a purpose and each chapter has exercises that Jantsch encourages you to go through.

The hourglass journey map from the Ultimate Marketing Engine

In the end, he’s walking you through a marketing process for you and one for your customer. 

Pros and Cons of the Book

Personally, I love the focus on creating a marketing process and plan around the customer experience — one that goes beyond the funnel and creates a system and structure for repeat purchases. 

Maybe it was just me, but I found the content to be a little confusing. I would have loved to see more charts, images or infographics to illustrate the overall context of the ideas in the book. 

As you can see here, I wrote all over the one chart I found, what concepts went with what stage, etc.

the marketing process chart from the ultimate marketing engine

Who Should Read This Book 

This book is really for a small to medium-sized business with a decent-sized customer base and a team.  While this process is certainly helpful to startups, it will be difficult if you don’t have a decent sample of existing customers to use as examples.

If you’re a marketing professional, you’ll find this book really interesting.  Although, like me, your preconceived notions about how things work might get in your way.  My recommendation to you is to take your existing thoughts, feelings, and processes about how marketing works and simply put them to the side. Read this book with a clear and open mind. 

A Must-Read for Entrepreneurs

If you want to learn how to create a marketing engine that keeps your customers coming back time after time, then this is the book for you! It’s not only filled with actionable strategies but it’s also written in an easy-to-understand way so anyone can apply these principles immediately. 

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."