August 17, 2020 •

5 min reading

This summer's Marketing ‘Must Reads’ and more

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If a course in Hospitality Marketing is calling you this academic year, please consider the following shortlist of books, podcasts and documentaries as your inroad to the subject. Selected by EHL’s top Marketing strategists, the list is full of influential authors who lay down the basic foundation - both practical and psychological - on what marketing is all about, how it functions and how to use it effectively.


1. ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ – Robert B. Cialdini

Dr. Valentina Clergue – Assistant Professor of Marketing

In the world of marketing, understanding human behavior and psychology is critical. Good decision-making is a key part of starting and running a successful business. Dr. Robert B. Cialdini has spent his career trying to understand the science of influence and in Influence, he summarizes his findings by presenting six principles of persuasion. By understanding these principles, people will not only be better in persuading others, but they will also be able to defend themselves against being easily manipulated. This book reveals the answers to why people make the decisions they do.

influence persuasio

2. ‘Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise’ – Horst Schulze

Dr. Florent Girardin – Assistant Professor of Hospitality Marketing & Luxury Brand Management

In this book, Horst Shulze, co-founder and former President of Ritz-Carlton, shares his view and many insights on delivering excellence in customer service. The book is pleasant to read as it is full of interesting tips and anecdotes based on Shulze’s impressive career. His perspective is highly customer-centric and completely aligned with the marketing approach we teach at EHL. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning how to concretely apply a customer-centric approach in the Luxury Hospitality industry.

Listen to related podcast here


3. Consumer Behavior and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising’ – Marieke de Mooij

Dr. Alessandro Inversini – Associate Professor of Marketing

My chosen book and documentary are both about culture and marketing. The book is a type of text book that in my opinion a ’must have’ for marketeers in the global world. The author uses her own model of consumer behavior to try and answer the fundamental questions about consumption - what people buy, why they buy it and how - focusing on consumers as real people with real differences. Essential reading for becoming an international marketing professional.


4. ‘American Factory’ documentary – J. Riechert & S. Bognar

Dr. Alessandro Inversini – Associate Professor of Marketing

What happens when an American labor force grounded in the values of collective bargaining and safety standards confronts younger colleagues schooled in the discipline and punishing self-denial of China’s command-control form of capitalism? A great insight into one almighty culture clash when a Chinese billionaire re-opens a derelict factory in Dayton, Ohio. Showing compassion for every one of their subjects, the filmmakers leave it to the viewer to decide whether the self-sacrifice demanded of Chinese laborers is dangerously oppressive or merely the new capitalist normal. 

american factory

5. ‘Talk to Me: How voice computing will transform the way we live, work, and think’ – James Vlahos

Dr. Maggie Chen – Assistant Professor of Marketing & Strategy

I recommend this book because the topic is more relevant than ever, given the contactless future. The author is a great storyteller. Through stories, he avoids engineers’ jargon and provokes readers’ imagination. He also discusses the relationship between voice, machine learning and artificial intelligence.  

Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant can find you the weather forecast, play you some Lady Gaga and keep you company with a joke. How do they know the difference between these tasks? What happens when a user asks them personal questions, e.g. which gender are you? Well, my Google Assistant quickly answers, “I don’t have a gender.” But Siri and Alexa are female. Which factors contribute to these answers? Want to know the competition between Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant? This book tackles all these issues. And if you like, you can chat with the author yourself? Just ask Alexa to “open the voice computing book”.


6. ‘Digital Vortex - How today’s market leaders can beat disruptive competitors at their own game’ - J. Loucks, J. Macaulay, A. Noronha & M. Wade

Dr. Luca Triacca – Visiting Lecturer in Marketing & Digital Marketing

Digital Vortex is a book that portrays the importance of strategic marketing decisions within digital transformation. Nowadays, digital transformation is redefining the centrality of customers: technologies and new business models allow firms to strongly shape their offers around the customer needs, creating value for both parties.    

The book also explores the concept of value vampires (the disruptors) able to find and exploit a value vacancy (a market opportunity that can be profitably exploited via digital disruption). It compellingly explains the competitive strategies that companies can implement to face digital disruption and the capabilities to effectively implement a digital transformation change.


7. ‘Abundance: The future is better than you think’ – Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler

Dr. Francesco Derchi – Visiting Lecturer in Marketing, Branding & Innovation

This book explores the potential of exponential technologies to prove their role in creating a positive impact on the world. According to their provocative thesis "the future is better than you think", Diamonds and Kotler document how information-based technologies create an abundance paradigm that meets and exceeds the needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a new view on the direct impact of technologies in the most diverse markets of the future - and their potential to impact the world for good. I consider it essential reading for both future entrepreneurs and managers in today’s interconnected world of hospitality and travel.

Listen to related podcast here

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EHL Insights content editor