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Last year’s EffWorks marketing reading list on effectiveness proved popular. Here’s an update for 2018, with recommendations chosen by some of our advisory board and previous speakers.


Media in Focus by Peter Field and Les Binet

The cover of 'Media in Focus' by Peter Field and Les BinetOkay, so we have a vested interest in this one. Peter Field and Les Binet’s work forms one of the cornerstones of the EffWorks effort to promote effective marketing. In it, Peter and Les revisit the 60/40 brand-building vs activation rule they authored in ‘The Long and Short of it’. But this time they look at the data with an eye on the digital revolution that has taken place in marketing over the last decade and a half.

The result is an evidence-based look, fueled by data from the IPA Databank, at the modern rules of effective marketing. They test whether methods such as tight targeting work better than mass marketing, and discover how traditional media and digital media together in a campaign affect its impact.

Essential reading for any marketer, but particularly if you are planning on attending or following EffWeek 2018, where the pair will be presenting the next instalment of their research.

Marketing and the bottom line by Tim Ambler

Cover of marketing and the bottom line by Tim Ambler

In an interview at EffWeek 2017 Professor Patrick Barwise and Martin Deboo, Financial Analyst, described the gap of knowledge between marketers and their finance colleagues. The finance community, says Martin, often lack an understanding of the defensive nature of marketing spend and are nervous about digital. Marketers, says Patrick, just need to get an understanding of finance. It’s not that hard he tells us, “you can get a book.” So, as Patrick’s book on leadership featured in our last reading list, we asked him which one he would recommend.

Tim Ambler’s Marketing and the bottom line works for both camps. The book serves as a primer for marketers looking to understand the numbers that matter to the CFO and the CMO, and how to translate marketing success into the right kind of metrics. And for the more analytical financial colleagues, it explains how to understand the value that marketing brings and how it generates shareholder wealth.

The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton

Cover of the Choice Factory by Richard Shotten

This recent publication from Richard Shotton uses 25 short chapters to break down the behavioural biases that affect our buying choices. The result is a book that delivers a lot of knowledge in a digestible way.

A lot has been written about behavioural science and consumerism, but Richard’s book is one of the easiest to read and most actionable. Importantly it is based on evidence and Richard’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject as well as his research and experience. Richard is Deputy Head of Evidence at Manning Gottlieb OMD, the most awarded media agency in the history of the IPA Effectiveness awards. He runs behavioural experiments and writes about them for titles such as WARC, The Drum, Campaign, Admap and Mediatel.

The book comes highly praised by some big names. Seth Godin described it as “actionable, memorable and powerful. Shotton has taken the jewels of behavioural economics and made them practical.”

Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland and Ben Goldacre

Cover of Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland

If books like The Choice Factory, or Decoded: The science behind why we buy by Phil Barden (which appeared on our previous reading list) pique your interest, then you might want to delve a bit more into the realms of behavioural science. We asked Richard Shotton, author of The Choice Factory for his recommendations.

Top of his list was Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland. “If I had to recommend just one pure psychology book, it’d be this,” says Richard. “It was written a full 16 years before Nudge. Somehow, in the early 2000’s, it went out of print. Before it was re-issued second-hand copies were so sought after that, they traded for a hundred quid. Whatever brief you’re working on there’ll be a relevant experiment in here. Best of all it’s a joy to read.”

Richard also recommends The Anatomy of Humbug by Paul Feldwick, for those who‘d like to get a historical overview of the different theories that have been applied in advertising.

Culture First by Fran Cassidy

Cover of Culture First by Fran Cassidy

Another cornerstone of our research at EffWorks is business culture. Culture First is essential reading for anyone with a role to play embedding marketing effectiveness at their organisation.

Knowing the rules of marketing effectiveness is all very well, but you need a business-wide culture that promotes it. Culture First documents research undertaken last year to find out what that means in practice. Leading brands were interrogated to see how they are tackling marketing effectiveness.

The report includes a particularly interesting discussion about the language of marketing, which the author, Fran Cassidy, argues has become divorced from value.

Value-Based Marketing by Peter Doyle

Cover of Value-based marketing by Peter Doyle

This book comes recommended by the IPA’s Marketing Strategy Director Janet Hull and is an excellent complement to Marketing and the Bottom Line . It seeks to reposition marketing in the territory from which marketers often bemoan their exclusion – the boardroom.

It provides a clear, practical introduction to shareholder value analysis for marketers and gives them the tools to develop the marketing strategies that will create the most value for a business.

For top management and CFOs, the book explains how marketing generates shareholder value.  It demonstrates how senior management can evaluate strategies and stimulate more effective and relevant marketing in their companies.

Econometrics Explained 2 by Louise Cook

Cover of Econometrics Explained 2

This list wouldn’t be complete without a focus on measurement.

Econometrics and Marketing Mix Modelling is now being used by more companies than ever to address an ever growing set of questions. Econometrics Explained 2’s rationale is to enable readers to hold a conversation about econometrics confidently.

It provides an introductory guide to what econometric techniques can and cannot be used for, the planning and processes required to undertake an econometric analysis and explains the model development and analysis outputs.

Written by Louise Cook, one of the UK’s leading econometricians, it features practical examples from the IPA’s Effectiveness Awards Databank.

“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA