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 / Winter 2013 / Issue 73(originally published by Booz & Company)

Business Literature: Best Business Books 2013

Best Business Books 2013: Marketing

What cloud computing and agile methodology have in common is that they can play a crucial role in making marketing a continuously iterative process, and rescuing it from its traditional guise as a long-lead-time, big-budget ocean liner that is difficult to turn when the waters ahead get choppy or a better course reveals itself.

The cloud takes infrastructure concerns off the marketer’s plate. “You need to think of data centers not as something you build but as something…you rent to keep your costs down, to improve speed to market, and to allow your people to focus on innovation,” explain the authors.

Agile methodology, which grew out of the application of lean production principles to software development, concerns how people work. “An agile marketing organization,” say the authors, “is always on and responsive and is not driven by campaigns locked in a year ahead of time.” During a project for Ford, for example, Razorfish began by focusing its efforts on features that helped Ford’s customers manage high gas prices. But when gas prices declined in the middle of the project, an agile work method enabled the team to shift its focus to other, more germane car-buying concerns, like financing.

Even as many marketers have looked to create real-time advertising, such as Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet during 2013’s Super Bowl blackout, the use of technology as a means of creating real-time experiences that tap into consumer wants and needs holds much greater promise. If that’s not fundamental to effective marketing, then what is?

Considering the sheer magnitude of ad budgets, the vast majority of the interactions most of us have with brands are still going to be through advertising. The problem is, as this year’s best business books on marketing make clear, the vast majority of those interactions will not enable or encourage consumer interaction with the brands that they purport to be building. Taglines be damned, it’s time to address how customers experience your brand.

Author Profile:

  • Catharine P. Taylor has covered digital media since 1994, writing for publications including Adweek and Advertising Age. She currently writes a weekly column for MediaPost, and is a frequent speaker on social media’s impact on advertising, media, and behavior.
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