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  • Mark Hallander

4 great summer reads for marketing professionals

Throughout the past 9 months, I have been enrolled in the Hybrid Agency Program – a postgraduate that aims to bring down organizational silos through hybrid functions. While the program has taught me a lot about creativity, process thinking, and leadership in marketing organizations, I wanted to share 4 pieces of literature that have inspired me in my work. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

#marketingliterature #serviceexperiences #brandbuilding #creativity

To give you a brief overview of my selection, you will get some fresh input on:

  • How to design the best service experience

  • A research-based approach to brand building

  • Tools to generate and sell creative ideas

Let's dive into it.



Service Design: Take responsibility for the customer experience

By Ian Wesler-Poulsen

Keywords: Service Design, Customer Journey, Touchpoints, Blueprints, Personas, Nudging.

This one is particularly relevant due to consumers' growing demand for tailor-made, personal experiences.

If you fail to take responsibility for and plan, develop, and manage your company’s service experience, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. And perhaps more importantly: You risk losing revenue, as customers don’t get the optimal experience and are not fully satisfied with your company offering.

In this book, Ian Wesler-Poulsen reviews the concept of service design and defines what it actually means to develop a customer-centered service experience. In addition, he looks at biases such as outside-in thinking, the importance of the experience in comparison to the offering, and general customer expectations.

Besides heaps of great examples, you also get a few different approaches to creating the optimal service design (e.g. The Golden Circle) and tools for idea development and customer insight.


How Brands Grow: What marketers don’t know

By Byron Sharp


Keywords: Brand Building, Segmentation, Loyalty, Differentiation, Consumer Behavior.

This one is more than 10 years old but definitely worth your time. Byron Sharp is a recognized professor from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science and in this interesting read, he offers an evidence-based approach to a wide range of marketing issues that are still relevant today.


In doing so he establishes a number of marketing laws that combat some of the false assumptions that marketers are operating under today. For instance, he settles with marketing departments’ obsession with brand loyalty, as research shows that your customers are loyal to a portfolio of different brands (including that of your competitors).

The insights presented in this book are pretty thought-provoking and they will make you think twice about general approaches learned from the mainstream marketing literature that you might have taken for granted. E.g. short-term price promotions, the split between customer retention and – acquisition, and the overall brand building in your category, just to name a few.


How to catch The Big Idea: Strategies of the top creatives

By Ralf Langwost


Keywords: Creative Strategy, The Big Idea, Thought Processes, Added-Value.

How exactly does one create a big, bold, creative idea? And how do we form the optimal conditions for creativity in the organization?

Langwost argues that great creative ideas in the advertising industry are not just coincidental. On the contrary, they are a result of a consequently managed creative process that guarantees added value.

In this interesting read, Langwost investigates the thought processes of top creatives and with data from 77 expert interviews, he gives you a formula for coming up with big and groundbreaking creative ideas.

The formula is based on 12 phases that these top creatives have in common – considering everything from the first contact with the client to the actual production of creative communication.

This is a great read if you want to work with the environment in which creative ideas are generated.

The art of the Pitch: Persuasion and presentation skills that win business

By Peter Coughter

Keywords: Presentation Skills, Pitching, Audience Understanding, Selling Ideas.

And with tools to generate the big idea, you now need to sell it. And this piece by Peter Coughter can help you with that.

With a background in the advertising industry, Coughter has extensive experience with winning new business in major advertising pitches. And the skills required for such a discipline is relevant to a lot of people because we are faced with presentations every day. From small, conversation-like meetings with colleagues to major business presentations, where we have to sell an idea to the client. And what does it matter, if you spend hours working on a big idea that you cannot sell in the end?

In this informal piece filled with anecdotes from great presenters, he gives you useful and very concrete advice on how to sell your ideas – from initial preparations to understanding what makes your audience tick.

This one is especially interesting for advisory businesses (were selling ideas and / or knowledge is vital), but can be recommended for anyone, who would like to learn more about what it takes to be a great presenter.


I hope you found these book recommendations interesting. They have taught me a lot and will hopefully do the same for you!


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