Power up your iPad, recharge the battery in your Kindle, or simply make a little extra room in your beach bag. Summer is almost here, and that means it’s time to plan some time away from the office so you can relax with family, re-connect with friends . . . and catch up on all of the reading you have been neglecting over the past few months.
I know there are dozens of great marketing books available right now, but if I were to suggest just three for you to take on vacation this summer, the list would include:
1. Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits, by Jeffrey Hayzlett.
Last year, I worked with Jeffrey in a series of roundtables to inspire CMOs to accelerate driving change. Now, I’m thrilled to see his new book go even further, providing leaders of all kinds a no-nonsense, workable framework to transform processes and spur business success. Jeffrey, the former CMO of Kodak, describes his book as a “rough-and-tumble guide for running and driving change through the business gauntlet.” To me, Running the Gauntlet is a playbook, loaded with practical advice and real-world examples to help you make the changes you need to compete in the future.
As Jeffrey told me, the gauntlet of change is cruel, but leaders must develop strategies to persevere.
“Fear stops most people,” he explained. “Leadersmust have the attitude and confidence when they’re driving change, not rescind at the first sign of poor results. That’s not driving change. A successful leader always believes that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them. You stand in the way of a winning attitude when you refuse to stretch yourself to be a beginner. Being willing to be a beginner is how you get past your “three seconds of fear.” Three seconds: that’s the difference between doing something and not doing it. And Change Agents welcome those three seconds.”
2. Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd, by Youngme Moon
How can you succeed in a world where conformity reigns? To Youngme Moon, the answer is simple: You succeed by offering something meaningfully different.
Billed as a book for “people who don’t read business book,” Different is more of a conversation than a how-to. Moon offers powerful insights, encouraging us to re-think how we engage with our customers.
“The marketer needs to be able to ascertain the dimensions of our desire –paying heed to the things that we want, yes, but paying equal heed to the things that we do not,” she writes. “It may be true that our desire has no limit, but it certainly has a shape. Yet what is missing from business today is a sensitivity to the contours of our aspiration.”
As I see it, digital marketing can empower today’s marketers with that necessary sensitivity. As customers increasingly interact with brands across multiple channels, insights from big data analytics and Integrated MarketingManagement (IMM) solutions will help marketers interpret results and act in real-time.
3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
Award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg convinced me that habits are not destiny. Instead, they’re fundamental elements of human nature that are full of potential for transformation. Habits can make the difference between success and failure, profit and loss, a sale and a rejection, and Duhigg illustrates that point with examples ranging from the research lab to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to Procter & Gamble.
Of course, CMOs have to consider habits from different perspectives. Not only do we have to nurture positive, productive habits in ourselves and our teams; we also have to keep a trained eye on consumer buying habits and trends, as well. What do your habits tell you about yourself? What do your customers’ habits tell you about them, their preferences, their needs?
I hope you get the chance to enjoy some time away from the office this summer. Every now and then, we all need the opportunity to unplug. Take along a few good books, and you’ll return to work refreshed and re-invigorated. When you head off on vacation this summer, which books will you be taking with you?