There are a number of great marketing books that touch upon the key concepts of the art – your 4Ps, 4Cs, Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning.  I’ve classified these as “general marketing” books and my favorites are listed below.  Enjoy.

Counterintuitive Marketing by Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. KriegCounterintuitive Marketing

Counterintuitive Marketing is the smartest general marketing book I’ve read. The spine of my copy has been decimated from continuous use – constant referencing, underlining, flipping like a mad man back & forth across pages. La Pasión!

Clancy & Krieg’s approach to marketing is “counterintuitive” for the very reason that it’s focused on the right way to do marketing – i.e., not the way organizations actually do their marketing. The chapter on segmentation is absolutely brilliant – they really understand how to approach segmentation from a profit-maximizing lens in close alignment with customer needs & motivations. They get to the meatiness of how to do segmentation, and it’s that meatiness where all of the business opportunities lie.

Another terrific chapter in the book is on Positioning, and how to create a compelling positioning strategy using a balance of 3 key dimensions that help you understand what motivates people to make purchases within your product category: 1) Emotion 2) Logic 3) Behavior. Similar to the segmentation chapter, Clancy & Krieg get to the meat of positioning and how to approach it in a manner that can truly generate some fantastic strategies.

My only criticism of the book is that Clancy & Krieg don’t address how to close the gap between “doing marketing the right way” and getting management onboard with “doing marketing the right way”. While they impart a treasure trove of deep marketing know-how, they do not tackle what remains a critical piece of the puzzle – getting the buy-in necessary from folks in your organization. Luckily, there are plenty of good books on doing just that. My two favorites are:

Marketing Imagination, New, Expanded Edition
The book is a compilation of some of the best writings by famed Harvard Business School professor, Ted Levitt, one of the fathers of modern marketing.  Capped off by professor Levitt’s landmark article, “Marketing Myopia,” first published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review, in which Levitt posited that the vision of most organizations was constricted by a narrow view of “what business they were in”.

The classic “railroad industry” example still cited frequently today was penned in this article.  In the famed example, Levitt suggests the railroad industry faltered because of its myopic view that it was “in the railroad business” instead of taking a more consumer-focused view that it was “in the transportation business,” the business of moving people & things from one place to the next.  The principles & ideas established in Levitt’s writings, and powerfully captured in this book, will help re-calibrate even the most customer focused marketers.  Essential, top-shelf reading.

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