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A marketer’s summer reading list

June 19, 2018

Summer is here. Holiday season is just around the corner. Many people use their holidays as an opportunity to spend some time doing all those things that daily life prevents, such as reading a good book or learning something new. Why not combine both and pick up one of this year’s top marketing books?

Here are just three of the recommendations that marketers are discussing and have labelled as musts for this year’s summer reading list.

1. Marketing in the #FakeNews Era by Peter Horst

According to Forbes contributor Kimberly Whitler, top of her 2018 must-read list is Marketing in the #FakeNews Era: New Rules for a New Reality of Tribalism, Activism, and Loss by Peter Horst. The book focuses on the challenges facing marketers in a polarised and highly political era that demands careful PR navigation and social awareness.

Whitler argues that in this context, ‘consumers are energised by their tribal affiliations to take action for or against brands based on their perceived values, beliefs, and biases.’ A number of high-profile PR miscalculations, for example the Pepsi-Kendal Jenner advert that provoked a backlash for using scenes reminiscent of the 2016 Baton Rouge protest in its campaign, demonstrate that a brand’s values and beliefs have never been more important for customers.

Horst’s book provides practical advice and strategic guidance on how to ensure that you have a robust PR strategy in place to tackle these challenges. It outlines some “new rules” of marketing, and proposes a ‘Brand Risk-Relevance Curve’ to assess a brand’s capacity to respond. The curve ranges from ‘head in sand’ to ‘polar position,’ calling on all brands to consider where they might place. If this isn’t on your summer reading list, it should be!

2. Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, posted a LinkedIn list of ‘20 Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2018.’ Top of her list was Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. The book challenges the notion that marketing is a major drain on an organisation’s finances and seeks to make the discipline more strategic, more insight-driven and more innovative so that it delivers results.

A central focus of Pulizzi and Rose’s book is changing marketing from an organisation that describes features and benefits to an organisation that delivers value. They believe that any given customer must be better off as a result of marketing than they were before. It is this added value that will keep marketing relevant.

Creating value for customers through marketing has been widely discussed in 2018. In particular, value added through apps and combatting customer apathy towards the platform. By offering USPs ranging from unique offers for products purchased via an app, app-based loyalty programmes or new features that simplify and add value to a user’s daily habits, marketers have sought to provide value and drive results.

3. Youtility by Jay Baer

Although Youtility has been released for some time, it still holds valuable insights that are important for marketers to remember in 2018. The key aim of the book is to teach marketers how to be useful to their customers. According to its author Baer, this focus on being useful derives from the belief that helping someone is the best way to inspire customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty has been a hot topic in 2018. Even big brands like Tesco are revamping and readdressing their strategy in order to keep customers engaged with their offering. Tesco introduced contactless technology to its Clubcard to bring huge benefits to the brand and incorporated new technologies into its current loyalty offering to tie together different elements of the business.

Youtility emphasises that providing value where and when it is needed most is a must for marketers. With so much choice on offer and competition rife, the insights the book demonstrates are as relevant now as ever.

As we reach mid-way through 2018, summer is the perfect time to draw on new insights that can be employed going forward. Whether this means focusing on customer loyalty, crafting a more strategic and value-added approach to marketing, or adapting to the challenges that the wider marketplace and society brings, these must-reads can provide inspiration and successful examples to learn from.

What makes it on to your summer reading list this year? Tweet us or get in touch for more professional marketing advice.


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