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Book review: The Mindful Marketer by Lisa Nirell

'The Mindful Marketer' is an enjoyable, refreshingly different perspective on marketing as a profession.

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The Mindful Marketer
By Lisa Nirell
PAGES: 240
PRICE: Rs 1,897
Palgrave Macmillan

Can Buddhist concepts allow us to achieve greater balance and control of our work and personal lives? It is possible, at least according to Lisa Nirell in her latest book. I began reading it with trepidation because it seemed fi lled with fl uffy concepts like mindfulness, aliveness and the inner marketing guru. It took a while getting used to, but once I learnt to fi lter out some of the jargon, it became an enjoyable and refreshingly different perspective on marketing as a profession.

It is much more than a marketing book. It is, in fact, a part "self help" and part "marketing philosophy" book. It is a three-part playbook for bringing the "balance" in the marketer's life. An industry veteran who has helped companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle accelerate growth, Nirell has discovered the 'middle path' between mindfulness, which has been seen as a Buddhist practise, and frenetic marketing action. This book is not high on new marketing theories or concepts, but rather it brings known concepts into a new softer paradigm.

It begins with Nirell coining an interesting new term, the digital intrusion movement (DIM). She believes that the insanely multitasking CMO is today eroding his/her own effectiveness and reducing his/her capacity to engage positively with the customers. Marketing and war have often been compared. Often, marketers use terms like fi ghting for market share and marketing warfare at the drop of a hat. But Nirell reminds marketers to be gentler, stop targeting people and start serving people. Nirell also calls for a balance between data-based, analytical thinking and creative and human approaches to marketing. She says the insane focus on data and analytics needs to be tempered with a more human view of customers. She is courageous to go against the tide and take on Big Data as an overhyped concept and something which cannot work without a balanced approach.

Where Nirell hits the bull's eye is in exploring the issue of how CMOs can improve their relationship with the CEO and increase the infl uence that marketing holds with CXOs. She asks marketers to stop using their unique language and jargon and instead connect to metrics that both the CEO and the CFO understand. Her advice is practical with a chapter each dedicated to improving relationships with the CEO, CFO and CIO. So, go by her advice, reduce those manic commitments and focus on becoming more mindful as a marketer. Or, risk extinction as a CMO.

(The reviewer is an entrepreneur in the Big Data marketing space, and co-founder & COO of Hansa Cequity)

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