Marketing Your Service. 4th ed.


168 pages
ISBN 978-1-55180-395-1
DDC 658.8





Reviewed by Louise Karch

Louise Karch is a career consultant with Carswell Partners in London, Ontario.


Old recipe books have dishes that still taste good, but they also include a few that you might not want: marshmallow Jell-O salad anyone? The same is true for Marketing Your Service. There are palatable marketing principles and approaches, but they are dated in substance and style.


This book was originally written in 1987; it is on its fourth edition. It’s time for v5.0, and it needs an overhaul. Marketing books must, by their very nature, embody Marshall McLuhan’s truism that the medium is the message. With this book, if the medium is the message the message is medium. This book is dull. It is unattractive; it lacks the tales of marketing from the trenches that would give it guts and glory. There are no case studies, no before and afters, no sample mission statements, no celebrations of increased market share as a result of the application of these techniques. There are no testimonials.


You’d think by a fourth edition we’d have tales of triumph, but no. Given that marketing is currently all about the “sticky” stories we tell one another through word of mouth marketing, whether live or online, this creates a substantial credibility gap. It also makes the book an effort to read.


Sure there is good structure: there is an introduction to marketing, preparing your organization for marketing, developing a plan, stating your mission, gathering your facts about your business, aligning your people, and on and on. There are pages and pages of worksheets and even forms and samples on a CD (suitable for PCs and Macs, but the platform “Classic” is no longer supported by Mac).


I wanted to like this book. I wanted to love it. I have a service business, as do many of my friends and, more importantly, my clients. One piece of advice is to give presentations to promote your service. I do it and it works, but there was insufficient detail to implement the idea. It’s a marketing recipe book without all the ingredients, and readers will be left hungering for something more substantial.


Withers, Jean, and Carol Vipperman., “Marketing Your Service. 4th ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,