What CMOs Are Reading Right Now

The best marketers are always learning, so it’s no surprise that CMOs are big readers.

Below we explore the top five books that every CMO should have by their bedside.

Audience by Jeffrey Rohrs

Long gone are the days of “build it and they will come.” Instead, we have to change our marketing strategies to seek out customer relationships and offer value where we can.

In Audience, Jeffrey Rohrs argues that without an audience, there’s no business. This is because your audience is your greatest asset. It’s where you find and develop all profitable customer relationships. Yet most companies treat their email, mobile, and social media audiences as afterthoughts.

Rohrs asks CMOs to focus on their audience as a priority by adopting ‘The Audience Imperative’. This powerful mandate challenges companies to think of all paid, owned and earned media in the long-term as vehicles that can grow size, engagement, and value. 

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Despite government statistics showing that women make up more than half of university positions in Australia, they still struggle to hold more than a quarter of key management positions. This means women’s voices are going unheard in the decisions that affect our lives.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and regular fixture in Time and Fortune’s most influential people, examines why women’s progress has stalled. She builds on her hugely popular 2010 TEDTalk by encouraging women to push through barriers and notice when they are unintentionally holding themselves back.

Written in good humour, Sandberg uses personal anecdotes, data and research to provide practical advice to women concerning all aspects of career, family and daily struggles. She also focuses on negotiation techniques, mentorship and goal setting to equip women with the best tools for career and personal development. 

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

There’s perhaps no more enigmatic business figure than Steve Jobs. In this book, author Walter Isaacson traces the story of the wildly creative and intense entrepreneur by using interviews he collected over a two-year period (over 40 of which were with Jobs himself and over 100 with his friends and family).

The breadth of research and the fact that Jobs asked for no editorial control sets this book apart. Jobs and others speak candidly throughout the book offer unforeseen insights into the passions, artistry and obsessions which shaped his approach to business and innovation.

It’s no secret that Jobs’ personality could infuriate others. But so much of himself were in his products. His tale is as much instructive as it is cautionary, and this book and provides valuable lessons on leadership, innovation and character in business. 

Z.E.R.O. Paid Media As the New Marketing Model by Joseph Jaffre and Maarten Albarda

According to Joseph Jaffre and Maarten Albarda, the world has changed and marketers have failed to keep up. Technology disruption, consumer activity and the innovation evolution are all forces which can be used by marketers. But we’re not doing anything about it.

The authors argue that under the current trend, the industry is unsustainable and heading for a complete crash due to financial underperformance. Luckily, however, they have a solution.

The Z.E.R.O. Marketing Model works by cutting your advertising budget and investing in four main areas. These are: zealots, entrepreneurship, retention and owned assets. This is well-researched and has a strong emphasis on the future of digital.

Blockbuster by Anita Elberse

For more than a decade, Anita Elbese of the Harvard Business School has undertaken pioneering research on media and sport and its impact on popular culture. In Blockbuster, Elberse explains how the biggest businesses can be built and sustained around the world of entertainment.

Elberse uses her unprecedented access to the entertainment industry to provide answers to some of the questions that baffle us, such as why entertainment executives are so eager to spend outrageous fortunes in searching for the next blockbuster or superstar.

She also explains in great detail how the rise of digital technologies will transform the industry. Blockbuster provides insight to anyone seeking to navigate the world of high-stakes business.

Although these are the top five books for CMOs right now, the list of great material available is really endless. So get reading and grow your knowledge base.

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