Book Club: This Little Pinot Went to Market

July 6th, 2016 

Book club is a monthly series where we highlight the most informative and inspiring books on marketing, advertising, and business strategy.

This Little Pinot Went to Market Book Cover - Larry Lockshin

Follow the link to buy This Little Pinot Went to Market

Whether you’re dishing out a second course, or a second helping of advertising, we can agree that everything goes better with wine.

From the earliest pages of this book, Professor Larry Lockshin eloquently explains the core ideas of effective strategy, “Marketing, in a sense, is the philosophy of satisfying the buyer that must permeate successful competitive companies . . . the perception [that customers] have of your company is carried by your products and your people in every interaction.” From this vantage point the book takes the reader on a guided tour of wine marketing. Through the lens of wine, the author examines key ideas from marketing science, and how they apply throughout the marketing mix.

The beauty of this approach is that the lessons from these articles can be applied to many categories aside from wine. They reflect fundamentals truths about marketing science and consumer behavior.

The book is structured as a compilation of short, easy-to-read articles. The writing is concise. The examples are direct. The analysis is smart. And if you want to learn how to tell a story that weaves complex theories and research findings into an engaging narrative this book is a useful template.

Lockshin takes on challenging marketing topics like Double Jeopardy theory, salience, segmentation, and market based assets. Throughout the book he somehow manages to convey the significance of these ideas, without burying the reader in data, or sacrificing nuance. As a reader you come away with the impression that, like wine that develops subtleties over time, this straightforward approach reflects his mastery and deep reflection on the subject.

Some of the key ideas/topics covered in this book:

  • Marketing’s role within a company (seems obvious, though it’s often misunderstood)
  • Straightforward explanation of market based assets
  • Identifying factors in the market that contribute to the growth of the category
  • Common mistakes committed by small wineries, which conveniently apply to small brands in other categories
  • A simple way to measure market penetration and see if a brand is on the right growth trajectory
  • The influence of wine labelling and package copy, and strategies for effective packaging
  • Price and pricing strategy
  • Fundamental questions for marketers to answer, and act on (e.g., When and where do people buy? What role does the product play in their lives? Do different groups buy for different reasons? Do they rely on different kinds of information when they buy?)
  • Distribution, and how to form an effective partnership—an aspect of the marketing mix that’s often overlooked, but critically important to building a brand
  • Most importantly, this book makes empirical generalizations from marketing science meaningful by showing how they apply in an actual category

This book is on Plannerzone’s reading list because reading these articles is more engaging than considering theories in abstract, or through the heavy-handed anecdotes that fill marketing textbooks. It’s also very well written, and a good reminder on how to make complex ideas accessible.

As usual, it’s better to let the author speak for himself. The following are two videos, one on the book, and a presentation on the author’s research in wine marketing.

This is a useful primer on the types of things to mention in a book pitch, although I deduct style points for not including a clickable link in the YouTube video or its description.

Edward Tufte: Clear Thinking, Clear Seeing

December 15th, 2013 

If they ever put a price on inspiration, I expect I’ll owe a great debt to Edward Tufte.

I’m currently reading Envisioning Information (1990), and re-watching some of my favorite videos from his work.

Tufte’s great at capturing the revelatory feeling of science.

His self-published books convincingly elevate weather charts, transit maps, and mechanical drawings to the realm of high art.

Out of these scraps and scribbles, he’s able to reveal a world of elegant and precise communication.

For me, this speaks to the core of what research is about.

The big and profound ideas—the kind of ideas that stick with us—aren’t a product of divine inspiration; they come from small, incremental steps (and an occasional leap) to find a pattern in human experience—any experience.

An outdoor sculpture by Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte sculpture: Love Bunny with 6 Hearts 2012, steel, 9 x 2 x height 6 feet

To put it another way:

At some point in time, a group of people decided that food tasted better when cooked over a fire.

Perhaps, in the hopes of starting and controlling more fires in the future, some waited for lightening to strike, or followed the clouds waiting for the next thunderstorm to emerge. Is Prometheus in the house?!

Still, others chose to muck around in the dark, thumbing through the dirt, looking for dry grass and twigs to make kindling, and from it, fire.

Suffice it to say: History belongs to those who muck around in the dark.

Tufte’s style of work (or craft) charts the space between information and knowledge, which I think is a good standard worth aspiring to as a researcher.

Viva la mucking around!


“The commonality between science and art is in trying to see profoundly—to develop strategies of seeing and showing. This seeing is not about “Aren’t these pictures of molecules beautiful?” Rather, the point is to recognize the tightness between seeing and thinking on an intellectual level not just a metaphorical level. That tightness is expressed in the very physiology of the eye: the retina is made from brain cells; the brain begins at the back of the eye. Seeing turns into thinking right there.”

Edward Tufte

ZZ Smile Sculpture, Light and Color from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.

10 Podcasts for Planners and Strategists

February 7th, 2013 

Ten podcasts with important, provocative ideas for creative business people (in no particular order):



On the Media. The podcast that got me into podcasts—OTM is a pithy and thorough critique of the major issues in the week’s media environment. It’s my digestif for the week’s news. Pairs nicely with those mentioned below.



Studio 360. An entertaining pop-culture podcast with a healthful dose of Nebraskan candor and introspection thrown in. Kurt Anderson is great at  interviewing interesting people.



Nature. This the podcast I turn to when I need a dose of perspective. As ad people it’s easy for us to become obsessed with dish soap, floor tiles, bank accounts—whatever happens to be the brand du jour, but I find that spending 20 minutes engrossed in the intricacies phytoplankton or the Higgs boson provides a welcome breath of (mental) fresh air. More than that, this podcast offers a helpful study on how people with big brains use research to make their point.



RSA Events: Audio. More brains. More British accents. More surprises. This series is something like the great grand daddy of TED talks. Fairly instrumental in popularizing white board animations, too. The RSA can be wonkish at times, but it more than makes up for it at its best moments.



PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge. Each episode takes an in-depth look at a single topic with the goal of broadening the listener’s knowledge and curiosity.



Notebook on Cities and Culture. An under-appreciated gem of a podcast. It is—as the title suggest—a notebook that captures fragments of urban life and culture. It is the turtle-necked, globe-trotting cousin of “This American Life.”



The Economist: all audio. Big ideas on leading news issues in a convenient package.



Sporkful. I put this in as a bit of a wildcard. Sporkful isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got half an hour to spare this podcast is a fun and quirky look at obsessive food sub-cultures. Topics range from strategies to re-heat a meatball sub to gripes about burger joints that don’t optimize their meat-to-bun ratio (yeah, really).



99% Invisible. Roman Mar’s intelligent podcast on design, space, and culture.



Planet Money. Great information combined with great storytelling. Imagine Freakonomics with a better sense of humor and more compelling narratives.


Honorable mention to:

Wired Storyboard Audio Podcast

Six Pixels of Separation

HBR Ideacast

Philosophy Bites

Motley Fool Money

Marketing Smarts from MarketingProfs




Did we miss anything? Let us know»

Rory Sutherland at TED

February 5th, 2013 

This irreverent performance by Rory Sutherland is one of our all-time favorite TED talks:

Account Planning Articles, Papers, Books, Etc.

December 11th, 2012 
Black and white photo of account planner Stanley Pollitt

Stanley Pollitt, pioneer planner at BMP


What’s the best gift for the planner who has everything? A plethora of articles and papers on the planning discipline and its history, of course.

(Updated: 1/29/2013)




Assorted speeches, memos, briefs, and scribbles from the account planning apocrypha.

(Scott Lukas)


The Anatomy of Account Planning.

(Henrik Habberstad)



Talking about briefs.

(Rob Campbell)


An academic paper on thin slicing.



Testing to Destruction by Alan Hedges



The Creation Myth

(Malcolm Gladwell)


Books* on Account Planning, Strategy, and more:

A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King

Does It Pay to Advertise?: Cases Illustrating Successful Brand Advertising by John Philip Jones

Truth, Lies & Advertising: The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel

Learning from Winners: How the ARF Ogilvy Award Winners Use Market Research to Create Advertising Success by Raymond Pettit

The Art of Problem Solving: Accompanied by Ackoff’s Fables by Russell L. Ackoff


*Although the links point to Amazon, I recommend checking on first to see if you can find a lower price.