Professional development is essential, especially for those in dynamic fields like marketing and technology. Practitioners working where these fields overlap must keep pace with constant changes and developments.
Here are some marketing technology professional development books and podcasts that I find useful. This is not a comprehensive list, just what I’ve recently read and currently listen to.
‘Hello $FirstName: Profiting from Personalization’ by Rasmus Houlind and Frans Riemersma
This is a brand new book from European martech thought leaders Houlind and Riemersma and it’s badly needed. Personalization is a buzzword that typically isn’t precisely defined and a strategy that’s far more complex than it seems.
“Hello $FirstName” is a great guide on how to develop organizational readiness, find appropriate personalization opportunities, procure necessary systems and develop a solid business strategy. This is a great starting point for anyone looking to use this tactic.
‘The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World’ by Max Fisher
I reviewed this book more deeply in my recent column about martech ethical concerns. Fisher dives deep into chronicling what’s happened in the social media and greater tech space during the past decade or so. He highlights several examples of the societal damage that has occurred.
Granted, most of us didn’t get into martech to do evil, but our work has consequences — some of which aren’t known until too late. This book is an excellent reminder of why we sometimes don’t deserve nice things and what we need to do to keep the ones we have.
‘No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls.’ by Latané Conant
An excellent book about B2B and account-based marketing, it is the foundation of 6sense’s product certification program, which makes sense as Conant is the CMO there.
While there are specific references to 6sense’s products, plenty of information is applicable regardless of whether a company uses that platform. For anyone who needs to brush up or learn more about modern B2B marketing and sales, this serves as a great foundational text.
‘The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Attract and Retain Customers’ by Darrell Alfonso
I would have added this book to my list of tips to host a martech intern if it was available back then. Alfonso does a great job of laying a solid foundation for both B2B and B2C marketing technology management.
He discusses strategy, skills and systems and places each in a helpful context. This would make a great book for anyone interested in the field and it is a great refresher for those already in it.
‘Traffic: Genius, Rivalry and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral’ by Ben Smith
Semafor’s Smith has had a front-row seat to many internet trends, especially from his time as the founding editor of now-defunct BuzzFeed News. In “Traffic,” he starts in the 1990s and follows several prominent people who helped spark and mold the trends, tactics and platforms that allow people to go viral today.
Of interest to martech practitioners, Smith discusses the evolution of metrics that are so important to us, like page views and unique visitors. While it has a broader media focus, the history he chronicles directly affects martech. In his concluding chapter, Smith observes that gas can produce both energy and destruction — so can virality.
‘Land of the Giants’ from Vox Media
Each season, this podcast focuses on a tech giant or sector. Topics so far include Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Meta, Netflix, dating apps and food delivery apps.
Episodes cover everything from company founders, major product developments, regulatory challenges and the societal impact of these companies and platforms.
Understanding these companies’ histories and ambitions is critical for martech practitioners as they either exert considerable control or heavily influence our work.
‘WSJ Tech News Briefing’ hosted by Zoe Thomas
Episodes drop each weekday from this general technology news podcast. The vast majority of episodes have some applicability to martech.
This podcast typically covers hot and emerging trends like generative AI, the metaverse and social media. Practitioners trying to stay abreast of our changing field will find this podcast helpful.
Those are two more general business and technology podcasts, but there are also several martech and marketing operations podcasts out there, including:
- “Humans of Martech” with Jonathan Taylor and Phil Gamache.
- “Making Sense of Martech” with Juan Mendoza.
- “OpsCast” from MO Pros.
- “The Stack” from McGaw.io.
Some vendors provide relevant workbooks. For instance, marketing technology stack management platform CabinetM provides:
- “Attack Your Stack: A Guide to Building & Managing Your Marketing Technology Stack” by Anita Brearton.
- “Merge Your Stacks: A Guide to Integrating and Optimizing Marketing Technology Stacks Post Merger or Acquisition” by Anita Brearton and Sheryl Schultz.
They’re helpful for a hands-on approach for on-the-job needs.
Martechbase even provides many sample martech stacks created by community members. They can help practitioners looking to start or augment stacks.
Keeping up with all things martech
The marketing technology field is constantly evolving. There’s always something new in regard to marketing tactics, technological capabilities, regulations and societal trends.
That’s why it is important always to stay abreast of such changes, and reading books and listening to podcasts are great ways to accomplish that.
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