Experts on the Economy and Markets

Over a year ago, I wrote an article about the five authors and experts I most recommend you read to better understand the current state of our economy.

I recommended:

• David Stockman and his current book, The Great Deformation;

• George Gilder and his current book, Knowledge and Power;

• John Mauldin and his books Endgame and Code Red;

• Leading edge economist, Lacy Hunt, from Hoisington Management; and

• Steve Keen from Australia (now moving to London).

At our Irrational Economic Summit in October 2013, George Gilder was our keynote speaker. He espouses a new theory of economics based on information dynamics.

This October, at our 2014 Irrational Economic Summit in Miami (October 16 to 18), David Stockman will be our keynote speaker, talking about how governrnments have corrupted the very free-market capitalist system that has made us so rich and powerful. You don’t want to miss hearing him speak. He has the most unique background, coming from the highest level of politics and private equity in the real world.

But I tell you about this because I recently got back from a conference with another leading edge expert whom I highly regard…

I’m talking about Dan Kennedy.

The first day of the recent conference where I heard Dan speak was about wealth building and the second about selling, both of which are my business. That’s why I featured Dan in Chapter 8 of my recent book, The Demographic Cliff, when I talked about business strategies for the economic winter season ahead.

I met Dan when speaking at two of his marketing conferences in recent years. I was so impressed that I attended this latest conference, simply to learnrn. And I wasn’t disappointed. I got countless insights, as usual, including his view that “everyone is in the marketing business.”

The biggest light-bulb moment for me, however, was this…

I’ve always assumed that people will simply understand and grasp what I say because it’s logical, simple at its core, and backed by solid evidence. And people usually do quickly get a sense that I have something unique, understandable and impactful to say and contribute.

But assumption is always dangerous, and in my case, I make the mistake of assuming that anyone who listens to me or follows my work can assimilate everything I throw at them.

I remember a speaker at a conference two decades ago commenting that 95% of people are a genius at something. But they’re not the same genius when they’re listening to someone else’s expertise… like mine for instance. And that, for me, is a blind spot.

Yet it’s critical to being in the marketing business that we’re all in.

Like Dan Kennedy, I see the world evolving into one filled with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and entrepreneurial-like units of larger businesses as computers automate most typical, bureaucratic office and/or assembly line jobs today.

Entrepreneurs are the key to innovation and expanding our standard of living. Having more of them is critical in a world where most developed countries will be shrinking or slowing demographically over the next few decades.

So, ultimately, Dan has taught me that I must be simpler in my communications with people. Not because they’re simple but because they’re not geniuses in my area of expertise. I must be careful not to overwhelm and confuse them by giving them too much to process, too quickly.

(Unsurprisingly, that’s also what my marketing partners at Dent Research have been telling me since we joined forces in 2010.)

I tell you all of this because I believe you too can benefit from this lesson, plus several I can offer you.

Dan Kennedy is an expert for small business owners and marketers. He’s a wise and weathered expert in the new trend of direct response marketing, which is a key component to the new bottoms-up, consumer-concentric, network economy I believe we’re evolving into.

The best way to deliver customized, personalized service at lower costs is to have as direct a relationship with your customer as possible, and then to measure their every response at all levels of interaction with you. This allows you to constantly tailor your communications, production and delivery and to identify new customer segments or discover languishing older ones and then resolve to refresh them.

Marketing directly also saves layers of bureaucracy and distribution costs.

This is the secret to how you get higher service and customization at increasingly affordable costs.

Tesla is a good example of this approach in action. It sells cars directly to consumers at lower costs, increased intimacy and personalized service (mimicking Dell’s original direct producer-to-consumer model).

Amazon is another fine example. It brings a global warehouse of products with seemingly infinite choice directly to consumers through a highly interactive website that measures every response at every level.

From my research and perspective, you should also embrace the newer model of peer-to-peer direct marketing and sales to consider. It’s growing the fastest today.

It started with network marketing in the 1970s and became the bread and butter of companies like Tupperware. Today, eBay and Amazon have also taken up the baton, facilitating everyday people to sell products to their peers through established websites and delivery systems.

Even more recently, new companies and websites like Airbnb have embraced this peer-to-peer direct marketing approach, allowing everyday people to rent rooms and houses directly to their peers by measuring service quality and building trust.

At the end of the day, marketing will only become more bottoms-up, direct, and response oriented… driving more intimate, personalized and customized relationships that cost less and satisfy more.

That is the new economy! And, seeing as we’re ultimately all marketing something, you should embrace it.

If you want to learnrn more about direct response marketing, read Dan Kennedy’s seminal book, No B.S. Marketing, or grab a copy of his Magnetic Marketing Toolkit on his website at

Also, read Chapter 8 of my book, The Demographic Cliff. If you don’t already have a copy, you can get one here.



Follow me on Twitter @HarryDentjr

Harry Dent

Bestselling author and founder of Dent Research, an affiliate of Charles Street Research. Dent developed a radical new approach to forecasting the economy; one that revolved around demographics and innovation cycles.