Summer Reads for the Marketing Obsessed

If you’re reading for escapism, this list isn’t for you. Maybe check out some smart beach reads suggested by NPR. This list is for those of us in the marketing world who can’t resist a title that could improve our careers and how we run our businesses. It’s also good if you just want to look smarter than the sunburnt vacationer asleep in the beach chair next to you.


For your strategy side:


The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share by Dan Gingiss. You don’t have to be a CX strategist to appreciate this new book. It’s for business owners and marketers who understand the value of investing in customers to build loyalty and boost positive word-of-mouth advertising. As a reviewer on Amazon (also on Gingiss’ site) stated, there are plenty of books touting CX advice that’s totally impractical for the average business — ideas like hosting a party for customers that’s headlined by a popular band. Instead, this book is rooted in practical advice almost any business can apply. It’s the kind of content that could only come from someone who has led marketing teams and served in multiple customer service and customer experience leadership roles — real-life experience!


For your creative side:


inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Selling. All of the smart phones and A.I. in the world can’t hold a candle to the human brain’s capacity for creative problem solving. That’s what makes this Stanford professor’s book so valuable. It’s not a new title but it’s a bit of a hidden gem you’ve likely overlooked. Whether you’re a member of the marketing department or the C-suite, your capacity for creative solutions is something worth boosting. Tina’s PhD in neuroscience leads you to trust her when she says that imagination and creativity are skills that every person can be taught to build and excel at. To get a taste of how she approaches the topic, check out her TEDx Talk from 2012.


For the love of marketing classics:


Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Reis and Jack Trout. Chances are that this book was required reading if you have a marketing and advertising-related degree. Maybe the case studies such as Avis’ “We Try Harder” campaign were already quite dated when you first read it. After all, a lot has changed since this book was published in 1981. Consumers have way more power and are constantly inundated with alternatives to your brand each time they open the phone or shop on Amazon. What hasn’t changed is the need to differentiate your brand from the competition. As Al Reis said, “A product is something made in a factory. A brand is something made in the mind.” Although the ideas were heavy and a tad controversial among traditional ad agencies when it came out, this book is a light and enjoyable read today.


Happy reading.

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