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The Growth CMO’s Summer Reading List

This is not your typical summer reading list.

The growth challenges facing marketing leaders are anything but typical.

Marketing executives face new challenges around data fluency, organizational design, talent and training, effective C-suite communication, enterprise-wide strategic planning, and measurement, to name just a few. Any summer reading list worth its salt needs to take these into account.

CMOs need to perform when it matters most, whether it’s showing the CEO how marketing supports revenue goals or justifying the martech budget to a skeptical CFO. These professional challenges amplify the need to grow personally and as a leader. The personal skills in high demand include leading with confidence, effectively managing conflict, career development amidst role uncertainty, and how to perform under pressure, to name just a few. 

The list includes articles by leading engagement researcher Brene Brown and details for applying the growth mindset to upgrade team culture. There’s also an article to help pay down “conflict debt” for teams that need to disrupt themselves before a competitor does it for them.

Happy summer from the Persado team and here’s to a summer of growth.

In the Line of Fire, Jerry Weissman

A must-read for those who want to upskill their executive Q&A skills for critical presentations. Former Cisco CMO Sue Bostrom said it was spot on and provided “straightforward ways to be on the offense in all communications situations.” The abstract says it all: “Answer even the toughest, most hostile questions brilliantly.” Find all of Weissman’s books here.

Bonus: Quickly bolster your presentation skills with Richard Butterfield’s Power of Persuasion. Don’t miss his explanation of the Powerbite.

CMOs on Boards: Is Change Coming?, Spencer Stuart

Boards offer CMOs important career development and networking opportunities. From a leading executive search agency, this report includes specific steps for how marketers can increase their chances of getting onto boards and a list of CMOs on Fortune 1000 boards. Read more.

Drumbeat of Digital – How Winning Teams Play, McKinsey

Want to know why some businesses harness digital to pull away from the competition while others languish? Want to use digital to accelerate your company’s growth engine? Then analyze customer data weekly instead of monthly, say the authors of this report on what sets leaders apart. McKinsey found that nearly half of digital leaders and top economic performers collect and analyze customer data weekly. Digital laggards analyze customer data monthly. Read more.

Do You Speak Data?, Smarter With Gartner

Attribution modeling. Programmatic advertising. Training an algorithm. Data-driven marketing requires marketing leaders to learn a new lexicon and be fluent with data. Grow the business by speaking data and speaking it well. This short article gives concrete examples and action items to upgrade your vocabulary. Read more.

Read More: How Dell Used AI to Grow Revenue 63%

Help Your Team Feel More Comfortable with Conflict, Harvard Business Review

Growth is not business as usual which means conflict and tension are the new normal. Learn how to pay down your organization’s “conflict debt” and build a culture that works with differences and doesn’t put them in the “parking lot” after a meeting. Read more.

Apply the Growth Mindset to the Enterprise, NeuroLeadership Institute

To grow the business a leader needs to cultivate a growth mindset. Here is a short list of insights from 20 interviews of leaders implementing a growth mindset in their culture. Skeptical that a growth mindset is important? Look at this graph of student performance after a failure. Is your management team praising effort so your team is resilient in the face of a failed innovation project? You can bet your industry’s main disruptor is hiring for a growth mindset. Read more.

CMO’s Summer Reading List

Source: MindsetWorks

The Power of Vulnerability & Dare to Lead, Brene Brown

41 million people watched this video. The only way leaders are going to navigate today’s challenges is through deeper engagement with customers, employees and executive partners argues researcher Brene Brown. She presents moving research on the power of human connection and why vulnerability is so key to engaging and connecting with others. Visit the dare to lead hub when you’re ready to get started. Read more.

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, Tim Wu

This was a top choice among CMOs we polled at Cannes in 2019. Wu outlines the history and current chaos that is the advertising-fueled attention economy. Marketers would be well served to take heed of Wu’s arguments to gauge which way consumer winds are blowing and adjust media strategies accordingly. Read more.

Manage Your Energy Not Your Time, Harvard Business Review

This is from the archives and as relevant as ever. “The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource,” says Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy. “Energy is a different story.” Teams and leaders are stretched to the max trying to keep the ship afloat while simultaneously retooling for a new digital future. The authors argue that managing the four sources of human energy – mental, spiritual, physical and emotional – will unlock the creativity, engagement and drive needed to succeed in this new era. Read more.