Top Business Books on Strategic Marketing
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Top Business Books on Upstream Marketing

UPSTREAM MARKETING IS THE CULMINATION of our life’s work, and the platform would not have been possible without the contribution of so many. Of course, some of the underlying concepts expressed in Upstream Marketing are not new, but rather draw on proven principles developed by others, including authors, consultants, and colleagues.

The following business books contributed to our thinking, consulting, and writing on upstream marketing:

  • Ram Charan’s Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business coined the term “upstream marketing,” which led us to a “eureka moment” in distinguishing it from downstream marketing.
  • Jim Collin’s books Built to Last and Good to Great draw on case examples and organizing frameworks to demonstrate best practices in business strategy development.
  • A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin’s Playing to Win establish a strategy-as-choice approach, including where-to-play, how-to-win, and other cascading questions.
  • W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s Blue Ocean Strategy and Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s Business Model Generation demonstrate the power of business strategy canvases in strategy development and tracking.
  • David Aaker’s series of books, including Managing Brand Equity, Building Strong Brands, Brand Leadership, and Brand Portfolio Strategy, all contributed important concepts and examples of identity development.
  • Philip Kotler’s Marketing Management and dozens of other titles helped us zero in on the fundamentals, current methods, and future direction of marketing.
  • Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First advocates a principles-centered approach to leadership, including prioritizing end-in-mind and important-though-not-urgent thinking.
  • Al Ries and Jack Trout’s Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind illustrates the power of frameworks and structured thinking in marketing, specifically, in this case, for positioning development.
  • David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising shaped our early thinking and careers, including adopting a business approach that balances consumer insights, brilliant creative work, and bottom-line business impact.

In addition to these titles, we read dozens of books about Amazon, Apple, Google, Nike, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and The Walt Disney Company. We'll provide the details in an upcoming post, so make sure to stay connected.

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