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By Cecelia Xu

From the agency world, to loyalty, to the evolving digital landscape, marketing is going through changes. What are the current schools of thought, and how do organizations plan to evolve? Here’s the recommended reading from three of Toronto’s amazing marketing leaders. Start your year with this book list and get inspired on how to take you and your team to greater heights in 2018.

Kristina Cleary, CMO, Ceridian

Book to read: Made to Stick, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Marketing today is bombarded with noise. Why do some ideas thrive, while others die? Today, we as marketers need to share information in a way that is memorable, or “sticky” for our audience. Made to Stick shares six factors that makes ideas stick, and provides analyses that marketers can apply to make sure their own messaging doesn’t get lost. Ideas should be: 1) simple, 2) unexpected, 3) concrete, 4) credible, 5) emotional, 6) storytelling.

Kristina: “one of the key roles that marketing plays within the company is the positioning of Ceridian, the positioning of our products, and how to create awareness in our target market. That’s why this book is great for marketers: it talks about how to ensure your company, services and products remain top of mind. This book presents a compelling message for marketers as they think about how they focus their efforts to differentiate themselves.”

Danielle Brown, CMO, Hubba

Book to read: How F*cked Up Is Your Management?, by Johnathan Nightingale & Melissa Nightingale

Here is an excellent, (local to Toronto!) book that takes an insider look at modern leadership. Jonathan Nightingale, former CPO at Hubba and founder at Raw Signal Group, and Melissa Nightingale, former Head of Creators at Wattpad and founder at Raw Signal Group, share stories from the perspective of startup operators on management issues, biases and lessons on how to build the right team in the tech age.

Danielle: “I love this book because it really makes you think of: am I leading my team the right way, am I creating managers on my team who are going to pull the marketing vision forward.”

Danielle’s second book to read: Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher

This book is old-school, so most of you have read this in school or received it as a gift. If you haven’t – get this on your list! Danielle: “If you think about negotiation from an organizational perspective – how you might work internally with team members, or externally with partnerships – this book helps you structure conversations to make anyone you’re speaking to feel like you’re a great partner to work with.

Danielle’s third book to read: Value Proposition Design

Classic product management handbook, this introduces a concept called “jobs to be done”. To deliver great value propositions, design teams should build what consumers want, rather than the ideal build. Danielle: “we’re trying a new format at Hubba where our product marketers identify problems in the marketing landscape first, then hand the research over to the product team. The product team then adds features and/or retools the product to answer these identified problems. Both teams work together to figure out, did we solve this problem? Then we loop in feedback from the customers, and that’s how we prioritize our department.”


Laura Roland-Pierce, Head of Consumer Marketing, Twitter

Book to read: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, by Clayton Christensen

Christensen argues that it is not understanding customers that drives innovation success. Understanding customer jobs does. This book draws examples of the “Jobs to Be Done” approach in companies like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb.

Laura: “this is a good way to look at your marketing message and how you’re delivering it to your consumers. For Twitter, as an example, this allows us to agree across the entire company on the core jobs to accomplish, and apply it to our local markets.”

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