I usually wish I had more time for reading for ideas -- you know, just emptying your mind and letting ideas free form around what you read in a magazine, for example. The facts are, however, that a) I don't usually have that kind of time, and b) while I don't mean to be needlessly critical, I don't find a lot of good raw material to use in most media nowadays.
However comma I was just flipping through the December edition of Business 2.0, where there's a section titled (not "entitled") "How To Succeed In 2007," and they have various advice from a lot of people you know of. I don't buy all of it, but the one that really jumped out at me was this cut from Jeff Hicks, president of Crispin Porter & Bogusky (emphases mine):
There are three things I think about the most when it comes to making it as a marketer these days. The first one is there's no amount of money I can pay to get my commercial in front of you, because you can powerfully edit what you spend time with. So my job as a marketer is no longer to interrupt, but to produce content that is so relevant, interesting, entertaining, and involving that my best consumers won't want to live without it. The second thing is understanding that instead of brochures and trade shows, marketing now really begins with the product. Great companies are investing a lot of time and attention into trying to make products that market themselves. The last piece is that user-generated content has made it possible for consumers to own your brand, and if they don't, you're not doing your job. The brands that are adopted, blogged about, and parodied the most are the ones that are going to win because they're involved in the evolution of pop culture. If you're scared to have your brand played with, you're going to be left behind.