Thursday, 21 July 2011

Marketing Books - where to start?

As with all professions staying up to date with the latest theories and trends is an important part of a marketer’s life. While “airport” books can provide a quick introduction topics and examples of where companies have succeeded and failed with various marketing strategies, the following is designed to provide a more grounded basis for further study. Also, many of the books will provide templates for you to work through practical issues in your marketing, such as how to plan your marketing and even how to arrive at winning strategies to position your company against the competition.
Before diving off into the book list, however, a quick note for those who would prefer to learn in bite-sized chunks. Most magazine literature that is at the newsagents is really little to do with marketing  (whatever the title) and is instead focussed on industry gossip and that small part of marketing that is advertising. Two much better publications are the Harvard Business Review and and MIT Sloan Management Review These provide in-depth but very-readable articles about the full range of marketing subjects.  They also, of course, have the advantage of being extremely current to the latest business issues.
For those of you with a long ‘plane flight coming up however, here are a couple of longer pieces to dive into on the subject of marketing strategy:
1.       Blue Ocean Strategy, Kim, Chan & Maubogne, Renee: (Harvard Business Scholl Press, 2005) is a very readable tome that uses practical examples to look at how business can develop winning strategies in today’s customer-centric and internet-savvy world.
2.       Total Integrated Marketing: Breaking the Bounds of the Function, Hulbert, JM, Capon, N & Piercy, NF (2005) is a slightly heavier book that you will want to read in chunks rather than cover-to-cover. It does, however, look at the fascinating subject of how you can make all of your company part of the marketing effort – from sales to the accountant to the cleaner.
3.       While we are on the subject of strategy, this list would not be complete without talking about Peter Drucker and Michael Porter. Drucker’s Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973) is old, yes, but seminal. Porter’s Competitive Strategy, Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (The Free Press, 1980) is weighty but the most readable of this marketing giant’s many contributions.
So, what about the all-up text book? The one you want on the shelf by your desk because it has all the great models and techniques in one place. Here, I would recommend that last of the marketing giants, Philip Kotler
1.       Philip Kotler – Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, (2003) will serve the purpose just fine. It is easy to search through has loads of examples, models, definitions and techniques and can also be used to press wild flowers. Seriously, could be the best £40 you spend.
So that’s light reading, strategy and reference books sorted, what about the in-depth look at CRM, product development, web marketing, segmentation, marketing metrics etc etc. Well, I will leave those for the next time... after all you have to leave your audience wanting more. Also, I don’t want to second guess exactly what you are interested in. So drop me a comment and I’ll follow up on the parts of marketing you would like to know more about.

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