2018 was a year of newness and uncertainty, and 2019 promises to be as well. As we head into that unknown, I try to ensure success with goals on how I’m feeding my brain. Every year, I refresh and evaluate my information sources, trying new ones while keeping proven standbys in rotation.
Books used to be my main source of information, but nowadays I like to augment my daily knowledge with podcasts and videos. This is especially helpful in marketing. The field moves fast, and while books can still give you high-level context for what’s going on, they’re not going to keep you informed of the day-to-day changes in the industry.
A lot of these might not look marketing-specific upon first glance. However, I believe that marketing is a capitalistic form of social science. Just like how sociology, political science, economics, and anthropology all bleed into each other, I believe that any interesting content can be marketing content.
“Factfulness” by Hans Rosling dispels a lot of negative conventional wisdom and develops a framework of how to understand information in context. Rosling provides insight and stories based on his wealth of life experiences, and encourages us to make decisions based on data rather than despair. He also has some of the most riveting TED Talks you’ll ever view.
“Marketers need to understand who people are, and that
sometimes means taking an anthropological view of humans.”
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Marketers need to understand who people are, and that sometimes means taking an anthropological view of humans. It’s worth asking why and how human beings got to our current moment. ”Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari makes me feel like the author is from another planet and is merely observing Earth. It’s an interesting read in that it makes you feel small and puts human behavior in context.
I find podcasts easy to focus in on, and I can listen to them nearly anywhere. They’re an opportunity to learn while commuting or doing other tasks, and they tend to deliver quick, concentrated information in a short time. Listening also helps me take a short break from screens. When I’m absorbed in a podcast, I’m less tempted to check email, the web, or social media.
Must-haves: These are things you need to listen to as a human, and can inform having an empathetic approach when dealing with others.
- TED Radio Hour
- How I Built This
- Hidden Brain
- Masters of Scale
- Revisionist History
Agency owner: These are purely about how to operate an agency, and might be a touch dry for those who don’t.
- Smart Agency Masterclass
- Build a Better Agency
- Agency Advantage
Marketing: These are about where the industry is going, and often inform individual or specific aspects of the craft.
- Agents of Change
- Business of Story
- Marketing Smarts
- Stack and Flow
A big shift in marketing is developing knowledge haves and have-nots, something I’ll touch on in a later blog post. These blogs and companies are a good representation of expertise in marketing team formation, strategy, and execution.
Lattice Engines: predictive marketing, ABM, team alignment
SiriusDecisions: demand gen, ABM (the blog is good; downloads are better)
TOPO: sales/marketing strategy
Take all of these in reasonable doses. Redundancy and patterns will emerge, but the more you learn, the more you will create your own path and understanding of your craft. The world of marketing is changing every second and the future holds great things for those who seek out understanding. It’s impossible to know precisely what 2019 will bring, but we can prepare ourselves for the new year with knowledge, forethought, and a willingness to learn from new experiences.
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