101 Things I Learned in Advertising School
by Tracy Arrington with Matthew Frederick
“To some, advertising has no soul, no center… It’s the art of lying.” Advertising executive Tracy Arrington writes, “I would argue the opposite. Advertising is the art of telling the truth. An ad campaign succeeds when it brings forward an embedded truth—about the product or service, our needs or idiosyncrasies as consumers, our daily foibles, or the fixations and biases of our culture. An ad campaign resonates when it shows us, at some level, who we are.”
Here’s a sampling of the expertise shared by the author. Continue reading
Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me: How to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience
by Greg Koorhan
Greg Koorhan’s main message is to “stop sounding like everyone else and tell your own, unique story.”
“A study by the Emory Institute in Atlanta… found that just thinking about an action triggers the same emotional and sensory area of the brain that performing the action does… So by telling a story associated with you or your business, you can trigger the emotions that make your customer feel, even for a brief moment, as if they’ve experienced the same benefit… Assuming it’s a good experience, don’t you think they’ll want more?”
“When looking at data, the language areas of the brain light up, but not the emotional and sensory areas. These areas are triggered only by stories. This means that your story can engage your audience in ways data can’t… When data and stories are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.”
“Your Story IS Your Brand… Your brand is actually tied closely to your values. And by nurturing your values, you develop a theme. And out of your theme grows your story… Start with your values, then your theme, character archetype and emotional tone. Once you’ve got the elements of your story in place, your entire marketing and advertising platform can grow out of it.”
Everyone’s a Critic: Winning Customers in a Review-Driven World
by Bill Tancer
I must admit that I approached this book with a certain bias. Having read a lot of Amazon reviews, it becomes apparent there are a lot of games being played in the world of online reviews. Bill Tancer acknowledges the shenanigans, but focuses on using customer reviews to drive revenue and to provide competitive intelligence.
One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering
by Marty Sklar with introductions by Richard M. Sherman and Glen Keane
Marty Sklar was hired by Walt Disney in 1955, prior to the opening of Disneyland. He rose through the ranks to president of Imagineering, the group responsible for Disney’s theme parks worldwide. He retired in 2009 after a 54-year career with the company.
The first part of the book explains Mickey’s Ten Commandments, guiding principles developed by Sklar in 1983. The second half of the book consists of career advice from 75 Imagineers. The most prominent recurring theme in this book is storytelling. Continue reading
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
“Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have are enough customers.”
“Traction is a sign that something is working. If you charge for your product, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it’s a growing user base.” Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares draw from their own startup experience as well as interviews with some 40 other founders and marketing experts. The book starts with five foundation chapters followed by chapters explaining each of the 19 traction channels.
PayPay founder Peter Thiel says, “It is very likely that one channel is optimal. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution—not product—is the number one cause of failure.” Continue reading
Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business
by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
“Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company. Once you understand that, you can manage your business from the outside in… To achieve the full potential of customer experience as a business strategy… you must manage from the perspective of your customers, and you must do it in a systemic, repeatable, and disciplined way.”
The benefits of providing exceptional customer experience are “higher revenues resulting from better customer retention, greater share of wallet, and positive word of mouth, plus lower expenses due to happier customers who don’t run up your service costs.” One example from the book is a $1.7 billion per year savings in customer service costs and bill credits as a result of Sprint simplifying its confusing plan options. Continue reading
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
by Jonah Berger
Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has studied why certain ideas and products get talked about and shared more than others. He refers to the “psychology of sharing” and identifies six common attributes: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.
Berger puts the hype of viral marketing in context. “Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.” However, “Research by the Keller Fay Group finds that only 7 percent of word of mouth happens online… Continue reading