Interview with Marketing Veteran Drew McLellan: 'Books Have Helped Me Do Everything'
“I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read to learn. I read to relax. I read to cleanse my palette so I can be creative. I read to find perspective. I read to entertain myself. Books have helped me do everything from learn about my mom’s dementia, to keep current with trends that impact my clients, to cope with loss, to raise a daughter, to find some balance in my life and by helping me fall in love with characters, places and ideas.”
The quote above belongs to Drew McLellan, a marketing veteran with more than 30 years of experience, author, podcast host, blogger and speaker.
Drew launched the McLellan Marketing Group in 1995, a branding and marketing communications agency. Additionally, he owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which offers management training for small to mid-sized agencies who want to take their business to the next level.
Drew’s an important voice in the marketing and agency space. He’s been sharing his insights on multiple mediums: he writes a personal blog (WSJ named him one of the “bloggers worth reading by entrepreneurs”), and hosts the Build a Better Agency podcast, where he talks to interviews from this space and ends every episode with actionable next steps you can take to immediately apply what you’ve heard – be a doer, not just a learner!
He’s also written the book “99.3 Random Acts of Marketing” and co-edited “The Age of Conversation“, that brought together over 100 world leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators from 10 countries to explore a single topic: how marketing evolved into a dialogue from a monologue, thanks to social media (all proceeds were donated).
We reached out to Drew, eager to know more about the books had the biggest impact on him, the ones he’d recommend to those interested in a marketing career, his reading habits, and more.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Favorite business book — Radical Leap by Steve Farber.
Favorite non-business book that I would argue can teach you a ton about business leadership — The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read to learn. I read to relax. I read to cleanse my palette so I can be creative. I read to find perspective. I read to entertain myself. So books have helped me do everything from learn about my mom’s dementia, to keep current with trends that impact my clients, to cope with loss, to raise a daughter, to find some balance in my life and by helping me fall in love with characters, places and ideas.'I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read to learn. I read to relax. I read to cleanse my palette so I can be creative. I read to find perspective.' - interview w/ marketing veteran @DrewMcLellan #books #entrepreneur #marketing Click To Tweet
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
I would argue that my favorite books (which I re-read every year or so) in question #1 have had the biggest impact on me. Neither probably changed my career path but both have helped me be a better leader, be more creative and serve those I care about better.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
- Radical Leap by Steve Farber
- Becoming a Category of One by Joe Calloway
- Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
- Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
- Waiting for your Cat to Bark by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg
- The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Sorry — needed to add an extra.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I read every day. I have several (both fiction and nonfiction books alike) books going at once. Some physical books at home, some on my Kindle device, some in Audible. I read in snippets — when I am on a plane, in between meetings, at night before bed. When I am getting in my steps. Today, because of the ability to multitask — I prefer audio books.
How do you make time for reading?
We make time for what we want to do. I want to read. I don’t read as much as I’d like and I rarely can sit and read a whole book in one sitting (I’m a very fast reader when I am not consuming it by Audible) but I just do it because I value it.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I email myself notes.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I have stacks (literal and digital) and just let my mood decide which is next.
Last question: what book are you currently reading?
Currently I am reading:
- Subscribed by Tien Tzuo
- The Story Engine by Kyle Gray
- It’s Okay that You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine
- The Fallen by David Baldacci
Links where you can follow Drew McLellan or find out more about his projects:
- McLellan Marketing Group
- Agency Management Institute
- Build a Better Agency podcast
- Connect with Drew on Twitter | Linkedin
All books mentioned by Drew McLellan in this interview:
- The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership, by Steve Farber
- Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
- Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison, by Joe Calloway
- Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, by Harry Beckwith
- Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit, by Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose
- Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?, by Bryan Eisenberg, Jeffrey Eisenberg
- The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, by Chip Heath, Dan heath
- Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future—and What to Do About It, by Tien Tzuo, Gabe Weisert
- The Story Engine: An entrepreneur’s guide to content strategy and brand storytelling without spending all day writing, by Kyle Gray
- It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, by Megan Devine
- The Fallen (Memory Man series), by David Baldacci