A No Bullsh*t Guide for PhDs, Lab Rats, Suits, and Entrepreneurs

By Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek

So you think you know marketing? Think again.

Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing uses the tough-love approach to steer you clear of the pitfalls and self-deceptions that have been the undoing of many when confronted with the harsh realities of today's marketplace.

Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek employ their combined 40+ years' of marketing savvy to cut through all the usual malarkey – and, let's face it, bulls@#* – to give you a streamlined approach to successfully launching a product, service, or company. Better than a handbook, Lies Startups Tell Themselves provides 10 fast-track, step-by-step chapters for planning and implementing a successful marketing program that you can get started on TODAY.

The writing is clear and concise, breaking down concepts into bite-sized, easy to grasp nuggets for today's busy audience. Moreover, each chapter is stand-alone and immediately actionable.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the value of a well thought out marketing program. But carving your niche in the marketplace can be a daunting task. Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing guides you through the pitfalls and challenges to a successful startup or product launch.

Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing can be purchased at Amazon.com

Orders of more than 20 books receive a discount. Please contact Select Books, Kenzi@selectbooks.com or (212) 206-1997.

Center for Entrepreneurship

Many of us who are counselors, mentors and service providers to entrepreneurs and small business owners have struggled to find a way to communicate the importance of marketing and PR to small business success. Sandy and Jean’s powerful, funny and illuminating book stares down our most stuborn entrepreneurs – and never blinks. Many entrepreneurs say they understand the importance of marketing and public relations, but then they seriously overestimate their own abilities in those critical areas. Conversely, they tend to underestimate the time and financial commitment required to do it right. By confronting their arguments for not getting professional help and presenting them as “lies they tell themselves,” Sandy Holtzman and Jean Kondek have created a vehicle that dispells the myths and sheds light on the truths – and insodoing, take the mystery out of marketing and public relations in today’s world of business. Bravo! Every student I have will now get an opportunity to learn from the pros when they read “Lies.”

Andrew E. Clark
Manager, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

VP Technology Transfer Office
The Research Foundation of SUNY

I read an interesting book entitled “Lies Start Ups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing” by Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek. It is easy to read and you don’t have to start from page one. If you want to start a new company you can use it as a reference book or use it as a “how to” book.

If you can avoid the list of mistakes the authors introduce, you can set a very good path for your success. Building this book as “non-linear” gives you the ability to revisit it any time in any place.

The authors provided hands on examples that can easily to be applied to anyone and any situation. In fact that is why you revisit the book so many times. They provide several case histories. One of them should fit your situation. Find it.

Their model to build a customer “adopter pyramid” for Early, Professional, General and Latent adopters is a good tool that can be implemented for every one. You can easily test your self by fitting it to your business. It’s helpful.

You can copy the SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis and Marketing Plan Worksheet as a tool for your self and develop your business plan after that.

I wish that I could have made a company I used to consult with back in the late 90s read Lie #10. They claimed “They Can Get the Work Done Cheaper” against my recommendation and then I left them. Ten years later the stores all over the country are full of that product but unfortunately it is not their product.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

M. Guven Yalcintas, Ph.D.

Management Consultant

This book is a must read for companies entering a market or those who can’t figure out why “we built it, but people didn’t come”. Sandra’s marketing savvy and sense of humor are clearly assets. Her advice is practical and actionable - what’s missing in many of today’s approaches. I would recommend this as a must read for beginners or experts in the field..

Ann Farrell
Principal, Farrell Associates

The Common Sense Guy

Ms. Holtzman and Ms. Kondek deliver on their "no bullsh*t" promise.

In additions to these “truths” [they] have added a “lesson to be learned” from each chapter, a “critical takeaway” and a case study to illustrate the point they are making.

I really like the way Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing is organized – and I like the content.

I am in the process of creating a new product...I will be using the worksheets in Ms. Holtzman’s and Ms. Kondek’s book to help me launch it successfully.

If you sell any products, I suggest you pick up and read a copy.

Midwest Book Review

Advertising experts Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek share their combined 40+ years of marketing experience in "Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing: A No Bullsh*t Guide for PhDs, Lab Rats, Suits, and Entrepreneurs," a primer to avoiding common small-business pitfalls such as neglecting marketing, overestimating one's own capability at marketing, or failing to implement a solid marketing program. [The book] especially emphasizes the importance of calling in professional help when needed...Highly recommended.

Amazon Review

This book makes it absolutely clear that a good/great product alone is not enough. It provides the tools to create the value proposition for entrepeneurs; ie. matching the product to the market in a logical way.

After reading "Lies" it will be understood in a clear, concise way how to determine the right marketing mix to in turn impact the bottom line.

For me I have already instituted a plan to take my firm's new packaging solution to markets we would never have considered before!

This is like a breath of fresh air and a must read for anyone who wants to market a company or product.

K. Hattem (Fort Lee, NJ)

Direct Magazine

What's My Lie?

“Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing” could easily serve as a handbook for consultants who want to overcome potential clients' resistance to professional marketing efforts (Lie #7: “I know how to market”).

Each of the 10 lies is an argument against common fallacies. Many of these address DM-centric concerns such as the value of investing in marketing (Lie #1: “If I build it, they will come”); campaign timing issues (Lie #2: “There Is no point in promoting my product until it is completely ready”); and why, even for a small concern, sales efforts must go beyond setting up a simple Web site and waiting (Lie #5: “I only need a Web site”).

Mercifully, authors Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek include a corresponding truth to counteract each lie. And they have sound words of advice for novice marketers who have not yet learned that a seasoned pro can sell anything (Lie #9: “Only a technical person can market my product”).


Do you think that providing exceptional products and services to your consumer is sufficient to have a successful business? You're in big trouble, according to Sandra Holtzman and Jean Kondek. Lucky for us, they wrote a handy guide that condenses their wisdom into 10 easy-to-read chapters.

They organized the book in a clever and helpful way -- each one of the chapters contains a "lie" that is followed by a corresponding "truth," a lesson and a critical giveaway. Startup businesses need to understand that not everyone is as aware and enthusiastic about their offerings as they are. Even though it might be mind-boggling that someone is not immediately awed by your product or service, it's only realistic to expect that your target audience will need some smart persuasion on your part.

You don't have a monopoly on the said contribution to the market; if you fail to illustrate why consumers should choose you, they won't. The authors illustrate why marketing and branding must come before sales. If you want to avoid appearing like a "me-too" company, check out their list of steps to crafting a potent image.

The guide emphasizes the importance of creating a marketing plan in addition to your business plan. It also strongly suggests involving a team of experts who know as much about marketing as you do about your business. After all, you might not be aware of certain industry subtleties, such as how to write Web copy or how to combine online and offline marketing tactics. The authors also include numerous extras in their useful book. Take advantage of diagrams, checklists, worksheets, before and after campaign photos, information boxes and source bios.