Book Review: 'The CMO's Periodic Table' Reveals the True Elements of Marketing
Book Review: ‘The CMO’s Periodic Table’ Reveals the True Elements of Marketing
Book Review: ‘The CMO’s Periodic Table’ Reveals the True Elements of Marketing

When my boss, Drew Neisser, asked me to review his marketing book he requested I pay specific attention to my position as a young marketer fresh out of university. For me, The CMOs Periodic Table was really an introduction to marketing, a true Marketing 101.

In 64 interviews, I got read some of the country’s top marketers tell their story: what practices were used, what risks were taken, what turned out to be mistakes and what resulted in success. While going through this crash course, I kept thinking to myself, “When else will I hear from CMOs of the likes of JetBlue, IBM, MasterCard or J. Crew?” And so what was a once menial task from the boss became the ultimate teaching experience for this young employee.

Learning From the Best

Much like Mendeleev’s periodic table, The CMOs Periodic Table is divided into sections of similar elements. This breakdown allows you to digest all the meaty lessons of the book in an organized and effortless manner. Each of the seven sections is jam-packed with brief but stimulating interviews that make you leave with something new to think about.

Moments such as the one in the “Setting Expectations” interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett, where he says that The Four Pillars of Marketing theory is actually incomplete (Jeff shows that there are actually five pillars), highlight the thesis of the book. Marketing is an evolving industry, and the most successful marketers catch on to this very quickly.

“The biggest mistake you can make in business is to do nothing.”

The Power of Influencers

Of the 64 interviews, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have clear favorites, specifically ones that altered my marketing purview in some capacity. A favorite of mine was “The Power of Positive Influencing” with Tami Cannizzaro of IBM. Before reading, I thought influencer-brand relationships were simple tradeoffs. A brand hires an influencer to better reach its target audience, and the influencer gets some compensation or incentive from the brand. Easy, right? However, Cannizzaro’s words showed me that I was thinking quite small.

Influencer partnerships aren’t living up to their full potential if they are acting as tradeoffs: “Make these people part of your overall brand strategy, treat them like VIPs and give them insider access to your strategy and brand.” Cannizzaro’s words really resonated with me because, let’s be honest, influencer relationships aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Thus, knowing how to make the most of them will prove to be essential as I work with brands in the future.

Err Towards Edge to See Real Results

Coincidentally, another interview with Mr. Hayzlett of C-Suite Network grabbed my attention. His strong words of advice to fellow marketers in “Making Sure Your CEO Gets the Picture” caused me to think about the kind of marketer I plan to be. Hayzlett cautioned against the dangers of staying on the safe side: “If you want to grow, you’re going to have to take risks.

Risks may work or they may not, but you just won’t know until you try it. The biggest mistake you can make in business is to do nothing.” This advice was similar to a conversation I had with Drew as a mere intern. Drew, like his interviewee, basically said, “You’re either gonna have a safe career or an interesting one.” I think I’ll listen to these two and be more welcoming of risks and chances.

An Essential Read for New Marketers

The CMO’s Periodic Table is just as much for the young marketer as it is for the seasoned exec. For us rookies in the game, this marketing book is a gold mine of information from all the people with which you wish you could score an informational meeting. For the established marketers, the 64 interviews are case studies that can inform and inspire your next marketing challenge. Wherever you are in the field, you can’t read this book and not learn something from one of its 64 thought leaders.

Happy reading, everybody!

SME Paid Under

About the Author

Kristina Brown
Kristina Brown is a Marketing Associate at Renegade LLC, a NYC-based social media marketing agency. She was raised in Kingston, Jamaica and tries to find Jamaican food wherever she goes. Kristina is a recent grad of Duke University and would love to connect with you on LinkedIn!

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