Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Can Keith Richards Teach You About Marketing Influencers?

Keith Richards has said that all music is derivative. His quote is “There's only one song, and Adam and Eve wrote it; the rest is a variation on a theme." All music is building upon that theme or putting your spin on it. With that thought, to better understand your favorite musicians, you can learn a lot by exploring the artists that inspired them. You’ll hear a lot of those influences in their own music.

Marketing can be looked at in much the same way. The main themes and concepts have been around for a long time. While technologies and the form of the message may evolve, marketers tend to put their focus on certain aspects that form their style and beliefs. And, similar to musicians, if you look at those that influenced them, you’re likely to see that influence in the marketing style and messaging.
I started thinking about this as I was listening to Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose on their podcast, This Old Marketing. They were talking about an article by Robert M. Sacks, who they mentioned is someone that Pulizzi really likes. I’m always interested in knowing who the experts enjoy reading. This led me to thinking about who influenced them as they were shaping their viewpoints.
Here are three examples of top content marketers (all who happen to be from Cleveland) that definitely influence me and who influenced them. The first is Jim Kukral. I first saw him speak at a conference three years ago. He was talking about his book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money. He talked about how he was influenced by the book Marketing Outrageously by Jon Spoelstra. I was inspired to read both books and did so shortly after. I reviewed both books on my blog (read the Marketing Outrageously review here and the Attention! review here). The main point here though is that by reading Spoelstra’s book first, I was able to see how it influenced Kukral in his writing of Attention! I got a much broader aspect of Kukral and his viewpoint by understanding his influences.

The next example is Joe Pulizzi (again). One of his influences is Don E. Schultz from Northwestern University. He was one of the key note speakers at last year’s Content Marketing World (I mentioned him in my Content Marketing World recap). His presentation was one of the most thought provoking of the conference. His point was that content marketing would bring the industry back to true storytelling and understanding what our customers need...points that Pulizzi preaches regularly.

Finally, Jeff Rohrs, author of Audience – Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers (see my review here), is someone I’ve seen speak multiple times. He talks about being influenced by the books The One to One Future by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, PH.D., Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe and Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. Now, I haven’t had a chance to read these yet, but they’re on my reading list for this year and I can’t wait to get to them. Especially with Rohrs’s lawyer background, I’m curious to see how that frame of reference combines with his marketing influences to shape his overall viewpoint.
So, who influences you? Have you looked back to see who influenced them? Tell me about it below. Thanks for reading and click here to Tweet this blog. Sign up to receive my blog in your email.


  1. Thanks for including me. Glad to have been of some influence!

  2. Thanks for reading, Jim! We're lucky to have such great marketers in Cleveland.

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  4. Thanks, Jeremy, for including Martha Rogers and me in this short list of key marketing influencers. But as for our books, my suggestion is that our latest one, Extreme Trust, will have more contemporary relevance. Yes, by all means read The One to One Future, but realize that it was published in 1993. We did a pretty good job of imagining the world of interactivity (which hadn't yet arrived!), and the lessons are still relevant. But Extreme Trust includes modern examples, social media implications, and more current technologies.

    1. Thank you for reading and for recommending Extreme Trust. I'll definitely check that out!