If You Could Only Have One Book on Marketing…
Let’s say you were stranded on a desert island, as in our previous scenario, but luckily managed to land a number of marketing consulting gigs with your remote internet connection, so you could earn some money helping companies straighten out their marketing (and receive Dr. Pepper etc. via parachute drop by transferring money to some shipping company via PayPal). And let’s say you could start out with only ONE book on marketing.
My choice would be Ries and Trout’s “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”.
This classic book makes the point that any company, service, or product, should aspire to own a position within the prospect’s mind – at least by owning a phrase, but more ideally owning a single word. Volvo owns the word “Safety” for instance, while Starbucks owns the word “coffee”.
The big takeaway from this book for me was, although you can work hard on your go-to-market, your marketing materials, sales presentations, ads, etc. – if you have not gotten your positioning right, why are you bothering? All the explaining in the world to your prospects cannot correct the (mental) deficiency of an ill-positioned product. And if you do get the positioning right, many of those items in the marketing arsenal naturally flow out of it.
What book would you choose? And please don’t respond with Kotler’s textbook on marketing; although it is comprehensive, it’s a terrible read and I think I would more likely use it start a fire for coconut-roasting!