Douglas is a B2B marketing agency principal. Former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. In lieu of a mid-life crisis he started performing standup comedy.
Douglas helps people understand that the marketing universe is different from what they’ve previously believed.
Rather than focus purely on content marketing, the angle here is the importance of continual development and learning being a key part of how you look at the world.
Six questions, six answers, lets get down to it:
Is the ability to immerse ourselves within a book on a different level from reading a blog, when it comes to self learning?
Yes. It has to do with scanning versus reading. Online we tend to scan. With a book, we read. There’s a difference.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg agrees with me (although he didn’t mention my name specifically) when earlier this year he launched a book club and said:
“I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”
Can a commitment to continuous learning become competitive advantage?
Yes but to varying degrees of advantageousness. If your field is changing a lot, continuous learning is a significant competitive advantage. As Erasmus said, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
Continuous learning has become important to marketers who want to keep their jobs. This is because marketing is changing so much, so quickly. In a survey of marketing professionals, 76% said marketing had changed more in the last 2 years than in the previous 50.”
Are marketing books playing an even more vital role today in helping shape how the discipline is evolving?
Marketing books are playing a more vital role but, paradoxically, it’s because of the Internet. Most marketing books are now written based on an author having tested out an idea online first. The author can monitor the analytics behind it (comments, links, social sharing, mentions, etc.) and know if an idea has struck a chord.
One example was when Mark Schaefer authored the 2014 blog post “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” The post garnered over 1,000 comments and generated over 800 articles about his post. Sensing that he had struck a nerve, he has published the widely-acclaimed book “The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business.”
Another paradox of the success of books is that authors are no longer required to have publishers. Publishers are just one example of gatekeepers whose gates have been flung open by the Internet (similar to industries like news, music and travel). Seth Godin and Mark Schaefer are just two examples of marketing book authors who are successfully self-publishing their books.
As marketers do we need to be relentlessly curious (I love that word from Chris Andersen, the TED Talk curator) rather than thinking we know the answers?
If someone claims to have all the marketing answers, run away from them. Quickly. These are most likely the same people Guy Kawasaki derides because they describe themselves with terms like “expert” or “guru.”
Successful modern marketers generally have a lot of humility and curiosity. It brings to mind Charles Darwin’s comment about change: “It is not the strongest… nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
On a personal level, what have been your stand out marketing books from the past three years (and why)?
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing, and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott (now in it’s 4th edition) – This is the book I often recommend when people ask what one marketing book they should read to understand the modern marketing universe. The first edition came out in 2007 and it helped rewire my marketing brain.
Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It by Mitch Joel – This book is a tour de force. It brilliantly explains how the DNA of business and marketing has changed forever, and what companies and marketers must do to survive and thrive.
If there was anyone, past or present that you would like to have with you as a guest on the Marketing Book podcast, who would it be?
Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion
Huge thanks to Douglas for being part of the Talking Content family. Make sure you listen to the Marketing Book Podcast, a great listen on how other people see how the world is changing.
Marketing Book Podcast: click here
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