The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era by Teressa Lezzi

A fab ideas book, written mainly for copywriters, but is relevant to more general marketers as well. (well it was for me!) idea-writers

As well as a ton of useful advice on generating ideas, good writing and digital stuff – the writer has obviously done some excellent research as it references a range of campaigns, many of which I’ve never heard of. Like?

This Burger King Subservient Chicken. 

(go on make it do something, I know you want to). 

Favourite quotes from the book on ideas and marketing

(headings = me, all quotes are the authors) 

1. On the consumer control era
“Digital Era adequately describes the basic media shift that’s taken place, calling it the Consumer Control Era probably gets closer to the rub…”

2. Nobody reads ads
“The fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”

3. Think about your audience like this
“…the person is like you and wants something that’s going to make her laugh, help her life, make a great story to pass on, make her think, make her feel.”

4. What your company should be doing 
“We believe that every brand must think and act like a media company”

 5. Big ideas
“Continue to seek the big idea. But remember that a big idea doesn’t have to mean a big campaign. Ideas can and often should be iterative, evolving, interactive and nimble.”

Get the book here. 

Happy reading,

C x


The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful by Michael Ellsberg

Not specifically about marketing but interesting all the same! The-Education-of-Millionaires

I picked up this book as I’m going through a ‘should I get another degree or just read more’ phase. (If you’re curious the current decision is just read more).

Education of Millionaires is filled with a range of tips, tricks and advice from interviews with some v. clever people. It’s a little anti-degrees/college but it’s very pro education/learning in general, which I like.

To add in my own 5 cents:

a) depending on your profession a university / tech degree can be absolutely essential

b) never, ever, ever think that it will be enough. Never stop learning once you graduate – unless your goal is to stay stuck in the same job or slowly drift backwards.

Moving on…

8 make-your-life-kick-arse pieces of advice from the book

(headings = my own interpretation, quotes are authors)

1. Read and learn yo
“I am passionately pro-education. There are few things I care more about than reading and learning constantly.”

2. Success has to do with…
It has to do with your drive, your initiative, your persistence, your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives, your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively, your charisma, your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call “practical intelligence”), and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph, throughout all the ups and downs, no matter what the naysayers tell you.

3. Take some risks, be bold
“The bigger the impact you want to make on the world or in your chosen field—the bolder your purpose is—the greater the risks you’re going to have to take.”

4. Get some kick-ass friends
“…you are a reflection of the twenty or thirty people who give you the best advice. Everything is about people. It all starts with you surrounding yourself with great people who you can learn from.” Read More

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

This book went straight onto my recommended list. Like in the first chapter – it’s that good.MadeToStick_Cover

It’s based around (as the title suggests) ideas that stick and they cover it incredibly well via this handy acronym for sticky ideas:

SUCCES (no last s) 


Chip and Dan discuss each of the areas, how they work, how to apply and even provide handy case studies. I won’t go into the thoughts behind each and every area (no, you need to read the book!).

But I will share five of the quotes that stood out for me

(the below are all quotes directly from the book) 

1. “Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.”

2. “The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”

3. “We trust the recommendations of people whom we want to be like.” Read More

No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses by Dan S. Kennedy

Love the titles of these! And yes there’s entire series, so if you like one of them then you’re in luck.
Some of the stuff covering direct marketing does seem quite dated in this as it’s often about mail order catalogues rather than email, which would be more relevant these days.
However the lessons around writing are relevant across multiple channels and I must say I like this no B. S style of writing!

Here’s a few of my favourite pieces:

(all quotes directly from the book)
On big companies 
“It’s also worth noting that, very often, the bigger a company grows, the dumber it gets. This is the result of having more and more people in it spending somebody’s money other than their own…”
On the agenda of big companies 
“Big Company’s Agenda for Advertising and Marketing 1. Please/appease its board of directors (most of whom know zip about advertising and marketing but have lots of opinions) 2. Please/appease its stockholders 3. Look good, look appropriate to Wall Street 4. Look good, appropriate to the media 5. Build brand identity 6. Win awards for advertising 7. Sell something.”

Marketing Insights from A to Z: 80 Concepts Every Manager Needs to Know

by Philip Kotler

If you’re working in marketing and haven’t read one of these books then you = crazy!

Seriously, he’s like the godfather of marketing.

This book of his in particularly, I love because it’s so simple: just summary of different marketing concepts. So every time you’re stuck, or want a bit of a refresher – just palm through the book (or choose a random page)  and get some new ideas from thee master.

Here’s a few of my favourite pieces from the godfather aka Philip Kotler

(headings = mine, all quotes directly from the book)

1. How’s your customer experience?
“Don’t just sell a product. Sell an experience.”

2. Strategy is about choice and what to leave out
“Strategy. Any goal can be pursued in a variety of ways. It is the job of strategy to choose the most effective course of action for attaining objectives.”

3. Marketing should begin before the product (too often it just starts with the promotion)
“Selling starts only when you have a product. Marketing starts before a product exists. Marketing is the homework your company does to figure out what people need and what your company should offer.”

4. It’s the customer control era
“The chant of the Industrial Revolution was that of the manufacturer who said, ‘This is what I make, won’t you please buy it?’ The call of the Information Age is the consumer asking, ‘This is what I want, won’t you please make it?’ Read More

The End of Membership As We Know It: Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Next Century by Sarah L. Sladek

I currently work at a membership organisation and it’s surprisingly hard to find books around this specific area of marketing. EndOfMembership

As an aside: do you know of other membership marketing books? Please post in comments! Thanking you.

Anyway, here’s a few of the things I’ll now be looking @ changing as a result of this wee book.

4 tips on membership marketing

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. Customize your membership
Ours (and most memberships that I see) are one size fits all, the future needs to be fit for one person.

“Customized Membership In the past 20 years or so, there has been a move away from conformity toward customization. It’s now possible to customize everything from your jeans to your laptop, your stamps, music (iPod), and your M&Ms. Why not memberships, too?”

2. Target your audience (of course relevant to all forms of marketing, and yes is stating the obvious, but sometimes needs to be stated)
“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all world anymore. Seek to be meaningful to someone—not everyone—and the rest will follow.” Read More