Imagine a professional contact sport where apart from guidelines to follow for spectator safety and the end goal everything else is open to interpretation. From the size of the team you field, the composition of the team, the way you choose to play or even the field itself. That is modern marketing for you. A contact sport (pun intended) where we make the rules as we go along! So how does one create the perfect marketing team for a world where the game is changing faster than ever? Let’s stay with the sports analogy. Imagine you are playing an online fantasy league where the aim is to create a winning marketing team. As you build your team you have to follow a few simple rules. You will draft your team from a list of authors and their books on business and marketing. The author and book combination is critical to the game, the specific book defines the position/role of the author in your team. If you are choosing an author of multiple books make sure you select the book that is most relevant to your team. The author and book cannot be currently (or in the past) identified with a company/agency. So don’t go ahead and create a team with David Ogivly (Ogilvy on Advertising), Piyush Pandey (Pandeymonium) and Gary Vaynerchuk ( Jab, jab , jab, Right Hook). And finally your team cannot have more than 10 people. Here’s my team. We begin with Strat, the team that will lead strategy for the team. Geoffrey A. Moore is player number one with his work Crossing the Chasm. Marketing is all about context and while the book focuses on different kinds of technology consumers, Mooreoffers a unique perspective on the world we live in. Even more fascinating is the fact that a book was written in 1991 remains relevant even today! It is a great starting point to understand positioning and how that can influence the transition of a brand from inception to mass market success. Joining Moore are Chip and Dan Heath with Made to Stick.They reveal the anatomy of ideas and how ideas can be communicated most effectively. What makes an idea stand out? Why does some communication work better than others? Having the right idea guys on the team is critical to bringing alive the positioning. From guys who crack the idea code to a codebreaker of a different kind. Martin Lindstrom helps us crack the code of why people buy. Buyology is based on his very interesting, three-year, multi-million dollar neuromarketing study with 2,000 volunteers from all around the world. Lindstrom helps us understand why and how people buy with a very unique perspective on the modern consumer. From strategy to creating effective marketing plans. In Contagious, Jonah Berger a Wharton marketing professor deciphers why products get word of mouth, and how influence drives everything from our choice of clothes to the cars we buy. Berger captures his thoughts in six basic principles that make things contagious. A critical member when it comes to crafting an execution plan. From six principles on what makes things contagious to six strategies for content. Mark Schaefer’s The Content Code lands him a spot on the team because of his deep understanding of content as a marketing tool in the digital age. One may argue that Schaefer’s strategies are more tips but that doesn’t take away from the rich insights of The Content Code. With our strategy and planning in place, it’s important to get the right people to lead execution. Scott Brinker in Hacking Marketing does just that. Brinker provides a framework for the evolved digital landscape we all inhabit. He adroitly describes the need for an agile marketing process and the relevance of analysing data to achieve marketing success. Brinker’s hacks are a must for any marketing team. From the digital to the physical world, Bernd H. Schmitt in his book Experiential Marketing focuses on the need for engaging customer experiences in a world where consumers no longer distinguish between the physical and digital. It’s time for marketing to also embrace the phyigital experience and that makes Schmitt a very important member of the team. With Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs rounds up the execution team. If anything, a marketing team needs to tell compelling stories that connect. Sachs relies on insights from mythology, advertising history, evolutionary biology, and psychology to explain how the modern marketer can create memorable stories that break through the noise and the clutter. The modern marketing team is incomplete without analysts. Barry Leventhal leads the analytics team with Predictive Analytics for Marketers, and no points for guessing what this book is about! From data mining, statistics, modelling, machine learning and artificial intelligence, Leventhal demystifies how data can be used to make predictions about future events. And finally the Devil’s Advocate for the team is Micah Zenko with Red Team: How to succeed like thinking like the enemy. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Red Team is tasked with challenging organisations by presenting contrary points of view. Zenko makes a powerful case for alternative analysis within the organisation.