I get an occasional note about my real emphasis on the basics of marketing and strategy that points out the obvious, “What you consider a basic or foundation isn’t always a basic and foundation for everyone.”
This is true and it speaks to the hit or miss nature of a lot of marketing training, thought leadership, and emphasis in the market.
A few things that I think we all find ourselves thinking or aware of from time to time include:
- Most things called strategy aren’t really strategies.
- Too many folks have confused marketing with coloring in.
- The thought leaders that are often the most widely shared are completely selling folks a bill of goods.
- It can be really difficult to know what is real and what is BS on an ongoing basis.
As a thought exercise for myself, I wanted to spend a few moments putting down some basic resources and ideas that can guide marketers, new and old, in what I think is a positive direction.
I’ll limit them to 6 for today.
- The Marketing Week Mini MBA in Marketing: I’ve been involved in enough bad training over the years to know a great one when I see it. And, the course that Mark Ritson and Marketing Week have put together is a tremendous one. The content is well produced and engaging, but the magic in the course is the mix of student interaction in the group and Mark’s weekly Q&A sessions.
- Check out Marketing Week’s Columnists while you are at it: We don’t get the same coverage of the marketing industry or profession in the States that they do in the UK. So I find my attention turning to the Marketing Week columnists whenever they share something new: Mark Ritson, Helen Edwards, Grace Kite, Colin Lewis, and Tanya Joseph make sure I’m on my toes and know how to approach new ideas or point me to how the new is an extension of the old, or some combination.
- How Brands Grow: The fact that there was this tremendous book that was built off of a decade of research and there was a community of folks talking about it was a revelation for me. Rooted in research, strategy, and science this book is a great resource to help you think for yourself about how to mix the art and science of marketing.
- Play to Win: AG Lafley and Roger Martin have put together a great book centered around two questions: ‘Where will you compete?’ and ‘How will you win?’ Before reading their book, I’d actually fallen back on three questions, but now I realize that before you go anywhere else in your thinking, you have to start with these simple two questions.
- “The Overthinkers” podcast: In the after times, I can’t wait to get back to the City to have a nice chat with Shann over coffee again. Rachel has started a new adventure which I think is going to be really cool to watch unfold. They both come out of the world of agencies which is a world that is a bit foreign to me since I only worked in an agency for about 4 months when I was writing ads around the 2012 Obama re-election efforts and worked with an agency on the outside when helping Yellow Tail Wines bring their wine to a whole new audience of tailgating football fans. So hearing their take of the world of marketing from the angle of the agency side is helpful. Almost everything I’ve done has been from the brand side and for a long time as an outsider to both agency and brand as a consultant. Download a few of their conversations and you get a good feeling of the balancing act that modern agency life creates, good and bad, for marketers.
- Derek Walker’s Twitter feed: Derek’s tweets and his point of view remind me of growing up in Northern Georgia where my experience of life taught me pretty early on that the most important thing about you was who you are and not what you look like. Because I grew up as a minority the area where I was from and the kids that I grew up with were cool with me even if I was the one that was different. Derek shares ideas about race in advertising and marketing and when I read his stuff on Black History Month, it is a reminder that being a successful marketer means bringing the voices of the market into your business. And, that just having a bunch of middle-class white kids trying to tell the world what it should buy and what is cool is pretty limiting, likely a bad business decision in the long-term, and it doesn’t produce the best work.
This is just the first six.
I’ll continue to create new lists from time to time.