The Best Marketing Articles, Books and Lectures of the Decade

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Well, as we approach the end of the year, we also approach the end of the decade of the twenty-tens. In that time we saw the Arab Spring; revolution and protest; a rise in political polarisation; the deaths of Nelson Mandela & Margaret Thatcher; the Occupy movement; the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in America; the election of Donald Trump; four prime ministers in Britain; the release of Aung San Suu Kyi; the Notre-Dame de Paris fire; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; the global recovery after the financial crisis; the discovery of the Higgs boson; the Rosetta and New Horizons comet missions; the birth of AlphaGo; the discovery of gravity waves; the first SpaceX and Blue Origin rocket flights; the iPad; the creation of Instagram, Tinder, and Netflix's streaming offering; the launch of the Tesla Model S and more.

And we saw a giant pile of thinking, both good and not so good, across the marketing industry.

We therefore decided to look back over the last ten years, and pick out some highlights covering marketing and customer experience generally. We'll undoubtedly have missed a lot, but here's our favourite blog posts, articles from the Harvard Business Review, books, and talks and lectures, that we could remember.

Blog Posts & Articles

The Complete Guide to the Kano Model

From Folding Burritos

You want to create a product roadmap with the right features. There are many different reasons why you might need to include a given feature, but what do you do in order to know which ones will make your (future) customers happy and prefer it over others?

Adidas: We over-invested in digital advertising

From Marketing Week

Plus, while Adidas thought only performance drove ecommerce sales, in fact it was brand activity driving 65% of sales across wholesale, retail and ecommerce, while performance also drove wholesale and retail sales. This was a problem because Adidas’s advertising split was 23% into brand and 77% into performance.

Meaningful Brands

By Havas

People wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared
Great content drives meaningfulness
58% of brand content is not meaningful

Five essential principles of design-driven organizations

From Cooper

...our clients know they want to adopt some combination of design thinking’s core principles: empathy, collaboration, creativity, experimentation, and a holistic mindset. In our new Journal series, we’ll unpack each of these principles and suggest concrete, actionable steps you can take to make them part of your company’s DNA and build a culture of innovation. But first, let’s break down what each principle means in a business context.

Microinteractions: The Secret of Great App Design

From UX Planet

The best products do two things well: features and details. Features are what draw people to your product. Details are what keep them there. And details are what actually make our app stand out from our competition.

Humane by Design

By Jon Yablonski

A resource that provides guidance for designing ethically humane digital products through patterns focused on user well-being.

The Dangers of Overpersonalization

From NN/g

In particular, one of the problems with a personalized experience is that users are placed into a niche and start experiencing only information that goes into that niche. However, individuals are often multifaceted and change over time. A system that caters to a single user facet risks becoming boring or even annoying and can miss opportunities.

Why Infield Top Aligned Form Labels Are Quickest to Scan

From UX Movement

The ideal form is quick to scan before and after the user fills it out. Users need to feel that the form won’t take much of their time and effort. They also need to feel certain that they’re submitting the correct information. When your form meets both these needs, the chances of users completing it are high.

The real impact and effectiveness of Gillette’s ‘#metoo’ ad

From Marketing Week

There are a few criteria which need to be met for strategic brand purpose work and stand a chance of delivering. The first is choosing a meaningful issue to address. The second is asking whether your brand can connect to the issue in a relevant and distinctive way? And finally, it must focus on an issue that your brand can do something significant about, rather than just ‘raising awareness’.

The Complete Guide to Digital Customer Experience

From Tough & Competent

OK, we're biased, we wrote this one. But still...

Our view is that the digital initiatives of the past (and even often of the present) are problematic, because they view the organisation as the primary agent in the relationship. Organisations have still yet to truly embrace a view of the world where the user comes first, ahead of the organisation itself. After all, as Bill Bernbach said, “it’s not a principle until it costs you money”. You’re not serious about customer experience until you’re willing to put the end users ahead of everything else.

From Harvard Business Review

Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers

Consumers’ impulse to punish bad service—at least more readily than to reward delightful service—plays out dramatically in both phone-based and self-service interactions, which are most companies’ largest customer service channels. In those settings, our research shows, loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic, even plain-vanilla promises than on how dazzling the service experience might be. Yet most companies have failed to realize this and pay dearly in terms of wasted investments and lost customers.

Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything

Start-ups are not smaller versions of large companies. They do not unfold in accordance with master plans. The ones that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, iterating on, and improving their initial ideas as they continually learn from

The Truth About Customer Experience

In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.

The Value of Keeping the Right Customers

The bottom line: keeping the right customers is valuable. One of the key metrics in understanding whether your company is retaining customers is customer churn rate. But what exactly is that? And how to do companies use it?

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

More recently my lab wondered if we could “hack” the oxytocin system to motivate people to engage in cooperative behaviors. To do this, we tested if narratives shot on video, rather than face-to-face interactions, would cause the brain to make oxytocin. By taking blood draws before and after the narrative, we found that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others; for example, donating money to a charity associated with the narrative.

Design Thinking Comes of Age

If you were around during the late-1990s dot-com craze, you may think of designers as 20-somethings shooting Nerf darts across an office that looks more like a bar. Because design has historically been equated with aesthetics and craft, designers have been celebrated as artistic savants. But a design-centric culture transcends design as a role, imparting a set of principles to all people who help bring ideas to life.

Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive

A large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.

Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter

In recent years a body of research has revealed another, more nuanced benefit of workplace diversity: nonhomogenous teams are simply smarter. Working with people who are different from you may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance. Let’s dig into why diverse teams are smarter.

The Most Desirable Employee Benefits

What should a business do if it can’t afford Google-sized benefits? You don’t need to break the bank to offer attractive extras. A new survey conducted by my team at Fractl found that, after health insurance, employees place the highest value on benefits that are relatively low-cost to employers, such as flexible hours, more paid vacation time, and work-from-home options.

High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It

He knows the results of the tech giant’s massive two-year study on team performance, which revealed that the highest-performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety, the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake. Studies show that psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — just the types of behavior that lead to market breakthroughs.

Books & Publications

How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know

By Byron Sharp

Building Distinctive Brand Assets

By Jenni Romaniuk

The Long and the Short of it: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies

By Les Binet and Peter Field

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

By Richard Rumelt

One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking

By Dave Trott

Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion

By Nathalie Nahai

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

By A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

Creating Great Choices

By Jennifer Riel & Roger L. Martin

Blue Ocean Shift

By W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

Talks & Lectures

Mark Ritson - The 10 Key Factors Driving Advertising Effectiveness

Rory Sutherland - My Advertising Is so Efficient It No Longer Works

Interview With Renée Mauborgne, Professor Of Strategy At INSEAD & Co-Author Of Blue Ocean Shift

A.G. Lafley - Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series

Brian Solis on the future of customer experience design

John Lewis 'Making the Nation cry... and buy' - IPA Effectiveness Awards case study

Les Binet and Peter Field present 'Effectiveness in Context' at EffWeek #2018

Aaron Dignan - Digital Isn't Software, It's a Mindset

Jeff Bezos and brother Mark on growing up and the secrets to success

Karen Boswell - Everyone's Favourite C Word

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