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Gurus and their field

Philip Kotler Marketing
David Ogilvy Marketing
Michael Porter Strategy
Derek Abell Strategy
Jim Collins Strategy
Gary Hamel Strategy
Regis McKenna Strategy
Clayton Christensen Strategy
Theodore Levitt Marketing
Geoffrey Moore Strategy
Al Ries Marketing
Jack Trout Marketing
Neil Rackham Sales
Larry Friedman Sales
David A Aaker Marketing
Jay Levinson Marketing
Edward de Bono Analysis
JK Galbraith Market behaviour
Stafford Beer Cybernetics
Hugh Mackay AUS Insight

The Accenture list of
Top 50 Business Gurus

Business.com listing of "management theorists"

The Marketing Minds list of Marketing Gurus is subjective.

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Top 20 Marketing Gurus

 

Here is Marketing Minds' list of the top 20 Marketing Gurus and the books and articles they have written.

These people are the most influential contributors to the field of marketing, sales and related strategy. Reflecting marketing's importance in business strategy, the list includes many of the greatest management thinkers of any type.

The Marketing Minds Top 20 Marketing Gurus list includes links to other websites which will help you to research these marketing thought-leaders a little further.

Where possible, we have also linked to the Marketing Guru's own websites and other contact information - in case your business might be interested in consulting with them.

Philip Kotler

Philip Kotler is Professor of Marketing at J.L.Kellog Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Illinois. Marketing thought leader for over three decades. Popularised the "4 Ps of marketing". Author of Marketing Management, The New Competition, Marketing Models,The Marketing of Nations, and Kotler on Marketing.
Biography: www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/bio/Kotler.htm
Kotler's Homepage: www.kotlermarketing.com

David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy is the man who virtually invented advertising as we know it today. His book Ogilvy on Advertising is pretty much a "how to" book on print advertising copy writing and is an absolute "must read" by anyone who wants to learn the art of advertising.
See reviews and read a couple of chapters of the book on Amazon.com.
www.marketers-hall-of-fame.com/1-david-ogilvy-marketing.html

www.ogilvy.com/history

Michael Porter

A highly esteemed Professor at Harvard Business School, Michael Porter is a leading authority on competitive strategy and the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states, and regions. Author of Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, and The Competitive Advantage of Nations (which developed a new theory of how nations, states, and regions compete and their sources of economic prosperity).

Also author of numerous articles and papers, including: Strategy and the Internet, The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy, Industry Transformation, What is Strategy?, From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy, End Game Strategies for Declining Industries (with Kathryn Harrigan), How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy, and Note on the Structure of Industries

Overviews of some of Porter's work:
Many Worlds knowledge network
Fast Company

Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, led by Porter: http://www.isc.hbs.edu/
Harvard Business School's Profile of Michael Porter

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Derek F Abell

Derek Abell is founding President of European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin. Not so well known, but an HBS contemporary/precursor of Michael Porter. Established leading insights into the business fundamentals driving marketing strategy.

Great analysis of how to answer the very basic question of "what business are we in?" in his book Defining the Business - the Starting Point of Strategic Planning, and the techniques described here which has been widely adopted. Also wrote Strategic Market Planning - problems and analytical approaches (with John Hammond).
ESMT Profile of Derek F Abell

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James (Jim) Collins

If you believe a company's mission is intimately correlated with the company's marketing strategy, then Jim Collins has had a huge impact on the way corporations approach the marketing big picture. Author of Good to be Great, and of the earlier book Built to Last - Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (with Jerry Porras). Built to Last, based on 6 years research, argued that long lasting companies share a common trait: an almost cult-like devotion to a "core ideology" or identity, and active indoctrination of employees into "ideological commitment" to the company. The emergence of senior management roles with titles such as "Director of People and Brand" and "Director of Organisational Renewal" has resulted from this work. Good to Be Great continues this idea, and mixes it with insights about how existing and aspiring executive managers sometimes evolve into becoming great leaders. Links to many other publications and ideas on his website:
www.jimcollins.com

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Gary Hamel

Gary Hamel is an influential business strategist and a visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management at the London Business School. Author of Competing for the Future, Leading the Revolution, and Competence Based Competition (with Aimé Heene). His company Strategos consults on business innovation. Gary Hamel currently writes the Wall Street Journal blog: Gary Hamel’s Management 2.0
www.garyhamel.com
www.strategos.com

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Regis McKenna

Considered the marketing guru of Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna is a well-known technology marketing consultant, advisor to entrepreneurs, venture capitalist and author. Over the past 30 years, he advised and consulted many of the leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs helping them develop their marketing infrastructures.

Regis McKenna helped launch some of the most important technological innovations of the last thirty years including the first microprocessor (Intel Corporation), the first personal computer (Apple Computer), the first recombinant DNA genetically engineered product (Genentech, Inc.), and the first retail computer store (The Byte Shop). His book, Relationship Marketing, was a pioneering work in the concept of one-to-one marketing. Regis McKenna was the author of the Apple Macintosh Product Introduction Plan in 1983.

His most recent book, TOTAL ACCESS, Giving Customers What They Want in an Anytime, Anywhere World, published by Harvard Business School Press in March 2002, addresses the future of marketing as computers and the network do most of the work, from data gathering to customer care and response. The marketing function disappears into a network of relationships and responsibilities between man and machine throughout the value chain. Total consumer access to-and interaction with-the marketplace replaces the archaic broadcast model.
www.regis.com

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen is a thought-leader for his work on innovation and its ability to disrupt successful business strategies or create competitive advantage, particularly in mature markets. The themes of his original work are the impact of disruptive technologies and innovation waves. Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and principal of consulting firm Innosite. Author of: The Innovator's Dilemma, The Innovator's Solution, Innovation and the General Manager, and Seeing What's Next (with Scott Anthony & Erik Roth). Disruptive innovation principles are summarized at: www.innosight.com/template.php?page=basics
Christensen page at Harvard Business School Publishing website
www.claytonchristensen.com
www.innosight.com

Theodore Levitt

Theodore Levitt was Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business School and former editor of the Harvard Business Review. Most recently an "ally" at consulting firm Hamilton Co. Professor Levitt was at his most prolific 20 years ago, but is still vastly influential.

Author of The Marketing Imagination, and numerous thought-leading Harvard Business School articles including The Globalization of Markets (link to recent seminar), Marketing Myopia, Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles ("Brand" starts here, if you think about it), Marketing Success Through Differentiation - Of Anything, Exploit the Product Life Cycle. Credited with coining the phrase "globalization", in his The Globalization of Markets article.
Theodore Levitt's obituary in Business Week June 2006
Theodore Levitt's obituary and profile at Harvard Business School

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Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey More is the author of Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, The Gorilla Game, and Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution. He is the leading thinker and practitioner on marketing and selling technology products, currently consulting to many absolute industry leaders. Articles include Darwin and the Demon: Innovating Within Established Enterprises and Bridging the Chasm Between Volume and Complexity.
Geoffrey Moore's biography
www.tcg-advisors.com
www.chasminstitute.com
www.chasmgroup.com

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Al Ries

Al Ries is the author of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (with Jack Trout), Marketing Warfare (with Jack Trout), Bottom Up Marketing (with Jack Trout), The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (with Jack Trout), Focus, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, and The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. With Jack Trout, Al Reis is commonly thought of as the father of "Positioning". Both are thought leaders in marketing strategy.
www.ries.com

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Jack Trout

With Al Reis, Jack Trout is commonly thought of as the father of "positioning". Both are thought leaders in marketing strategy. Came up with original concept of "positioning" in 1969. Books includeThe New Positioning, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (with Al Ries), Differentiate or Die – Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition, Marketing Warfare (with Al Ries), Bottom Up Marketing (with Al Ries), The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (with Al Ries), Big Brands Big Trouble.
www.troutandpartners.com

Neil Rackham

Neil Rackham is widely credited with bringing research and analytical methods to the field of sales force management. Founder and CEO of Huthwaite, Inc, a leading sales consulting, training and research firm. Author of:Spin Selling, Major Account Sales Strategy, Managing Major Sales, Getting Partnering Right (with Larry Friedman and Richard Ruff), Psychology of Negotiating, and Rethinking the Sales Force (with John De Vincentis).
http://gtmpartners.com
www.huthwaite.com
www.neilrackham.com

Larry Friedman

Larry Friedman is widely credited with establishing go-to-market strategy as a corporate focus. He is a pioneer in multi-channel integration, and an expert on sales channel strategy. Managing Consultant at LGF Group. Author of Go To Market Strategy, The Channel Advantage, and of Getting Partnering Right (with Neil Rackham and Richard Ruff).

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David A. Aaker

David Aaker is Vice-Chairman of Prophet, Professor Emeritus of Marketing Strategy at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, Advisor to Dentsu, Inc., and a recognized authority on brands and brand management. Author of Strategic Market Management, Building Strong Brands, The Lure of Global Branding, Building Brands Without Mass Media, Brand Leadership, and Managing Brand Equity.
Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley's profile of David Aaker
www.davidaaker.com

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Jay Conrad Levinson

Jay Conrad Levinson is widely regarded as being the "inventor" of Guerrilla Marketing (or at least of putting a name to certain strategies and tactics). He has written a series of books on the subject, including The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook (Guerrilla Marketing), Guerrilla Marketing Excellence: The 50 Golden Rules for Small-Business Success (Guerrilla Marketing), Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business, and Guerrilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business
www.gmarketing.com

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Edward de Bono

He of the six hats, Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step , valufacture and much more. Edward de Bono is included in this list because of his huge impact in the area of creative thinking - a key ingredient of marketing.
Edward de Bono main website: www.edwarddebono.com
De Bono Institute (Melbourne): www.debono.org
deBono Thinking Systems (his training business): www.debonothinkingsystems.com

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John Kenneth Galbraith

J K Galbraith was not a marketer, but his work as one of the world's leading economists over many decades exemplified absolute thought leadership in business areas that impacted all marketplaces. Author (amongst many other publications) of The Affluent Society (1958), The New Industrial State (1967), The Age of Uncertainty (1977), and The Culture of Contentment (1992).
Harvard University's profile of John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith remembered at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism
J K Galbraith's obituary in the New York Times

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Stafford Beer

Professor Dr Stafford Beer created the field of managerial cybernetics - the science of effective organisation. Cybernetics can be applied to most situations where an enduring viable enterprise is sought. It has much to teach us about how businesses can survive in an ever more complicated world, and how to economically manage the complexity of delivering value to customers in markets which seem to dissolve in to an increasing variety of segments and customer needs.

Although not on his CV, Stafford was one of the few people ever to consult to McKinsey (on their organisational design), as well as to governments and major corporations. His best known books are Brain of the Firm, The Heart of Enterprise, Designing Freedom and Diagnosing the System for Organizations. Warning - nearly all of Stafford's work is hard reading.

A quote on the art of communication: "It isn't what is said, it isn't how it is transmitted. It isn't what is received, it is what is understood."
Quick guide to the Viable Systems Model
The Cybernetics Society's profile of Stafford Beer's work

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Hugh Mackay

Hugh Mackay is a very prominent Australian social researcher, and author of several books on the Australian psyche and current mood (most widely read is Reinventing Australia Hugh Mackay is author of Generations: Baby Boomers, Their Parents and Their Children. He published data (commercially for $$$) in The Mackay Report for many years. Sold this business to Ipsos, which still publishes the The Mackay Report (Hugh Mackay retired to concentrate on writing books at the end of 2006, but Ipsos is continuing to produce reports following his methodology).
Profile of Hugh Mackay (& phone number) by the Whitlam Institute:
www.whitlam.org/people/mackay_hugh.html
Mackay Report at www.ipsos.com.au

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Accenture's List of The Top 50 Business Gurus

If you want another opinion, Accenture published their view on the top 50 business gurus. The Accenture list of the Top 50 Business Gurus was published in 2003. Only 4 names on the Accenture list overlap with the list on this page, but it is fun to compare.

The Accenture list is of broader scope (anything to do with business). Read their methodology too: as the article explains, they have basically used volumes of Google hits and mentions in a couple of online databases to score candidates in the list. Hence their list contains a number of "pop-management gurus" who are good at publicity.

Marketing Mind's list is more subjective, but much more inclusive of thought leaders on marketing.

If you have other suggestions, please use our contact form to let us know!

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