Best Marketing Books You Need To Read
It is likely that one of the best marketing books on this list will change and improve the way you market. A list of best-books in marketing would likely include many classics, but this list only includes marketing titles from the past five years. Marketing professionals should read at least ten educational and industry-related books a year (2,500 pages) to keep their skills up to date. You’ll be able to make a case and prioritize traffic efforts based on this one digital channel’s growth. We suggest the best marketing books that you should read this year.
Great marketing books for this year
1. Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives Sales by Samantha Stone
In keeping with other marketing books, the subtitle is a good indication of the key point of the book. Stone offers a 15-chapter playbook that includes frameworks, questions lists, and templates that make you want to put it down and implement the advice. Stone does an excellent job of defining product marketing without getting bogged down in too much theory or a lot of worksheets, and that is very rare among books on the subject. A solid go-to-market plan is one of her practical tips for moving beyond profiles. Another great section covers account-based marketing, in which she discusses the unique role marketing plays in the development and implementation of significantly different programs. She brings her extensive experience and expertise as a consultant to the challenges of creating a Marketing Playbook that Drives Sales.
2. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See By Seth Godin, 2018
Here’s the latest from an industry leader. Change comes from creating tension, which leads to new choices. Change comes from creating tension, which leads to new choices. Marketing is the job of picking a story and repeating it long after we as marketers have grown tired of it. It is lazy marketers who over-rely on ad spending. As a lazy marketer, he disembowels companies that cut prices and compete to the bottom. If the marketer has run out of generous ideas, or if he or she never had any in the first place, then low price is the last resort.
3. Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success By Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, 2017
There are a few marketing books that are completely new every year; most are old wine in clever new bottles. This is my favorite book of 2019: Hacking Growth. In 2010, after his successes with Dropbox and Logmein, Ellis named and launched the growth hacking movement. How to run a successful business growth program is the subject of the book. If you are in digital marketing and are not evolving to grow and away from channels and marketing activity, you are in danger of being left behind. A must-read. Very helpful.
4. Play Bigger: Create New Categories and Dominate Markets By Maney et al, 2016
This is a book that every marketing executive needs to read. It describes how category kings are created and how to become one. You’ll learn how to discover a category, how to create a flywheel, how to overcome the innovator’s dilemma, and how to create and define categories throughout your career. The entire company must embrace category creation, starting with the CEO, if it is to succeed.
5. Data-Driven Marketing with Artificial Intelligence: Harness the Power of Predictive Marketing and Machine Learning by Magnus Unemyr, 2018
According to the author, he searched for marketing books that introduced and explained the products and companies that use artificial intelligence to help us do our jobs, but couldn’t find any, so he wrote this one. For the first section of the book, he interviewed each company in order to identify the top two dozen products. Product categories include Competitive Intelligence, Predictive Pricing, Ads Strategy, E-commerce, Content Marketing, Lead and Customer Acquisition, Customer Relationships, Segmentation, and Customer Journey. As such, it is an invaluable tool for evaluating and implementing AI solutions.
6. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller, 2017
It’s as if a tidal wave washes over drab beaches cluttered with self-promotional, feature-centric marketing – storytelling is the focus of so many marketing books and assets these days. Using his 7-step StoryBrand framework, Miller adds his expertise to a topic that seems obvious. In his book, he examines the structure of good stories: character, challenge, meeting a guide, developing a plan, driving to action, and avoiding failure. Miller differs from Duarte in that he applies the storytelling structure to the business cases that marketers like me and you can relate to.
7. Marketing: A Love Story, How to Matter to Your Customers by Bernadette Jiwa, 2014
It’s important not to be deterred by the “love” in the title; instead, focus on the subtitle “How to Matter to Your Customers.” Making an emotional connection with your customer will benefit your company. Business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers can all benefit from these types of marketing books. You will find more insight, ideas, and inspiration in this book than in any other book, if you’ve been uncertain about how to include emotion in your sales or marketing communications. Selling a story rather than a product, she says, is what you do to sell a product.
8. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Scott, 2017
In this book, the author introduces the importance of social media marketing and public relations. An argument is made in the first part of the article for why organizations, especially nonprofits and small businesses, should use social media, and how a different mentality is required to use social media efficiently compared with traditional media.
He also discusses how this affects website content.
9. Don’t Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability By Steve Krug, 2014
The book was originally published in 2000 by Krug, and has become the bible of user experience since then. Websites are the primary contact point between businesses and their customers. Therefore, no matter how good a marketing campaign is, it won’t work well if the site cannot handle the customers that marketing brings. In the book, the title is the recurring theme: customers shouldn’t have to figure out or interpret your website, it should just work. He uses the principles he recommends in this short book of 191 pages. The layout is very clear, the writing is colorful, and the headlines and subheadings are easily skimmed. It is a book every website marketer should read periodically.
10. PRE-SUASION: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini, 2016
Influence was Cialdini’s seminal work from 1984; Pre-Suasion is the long-awaited sequel, and it delivers. Since marketers aim to influence people to take specific actions, both books belong in a marketer’s library. As Cialdini discusses in Pre-Suasion, there are several elements to persuasion, including privileged moments, attention, importance, focus, causality, identity, place, and crowds. Watching the momentous 2016 US presidential election made the book seem particularly insightful and relevant. Insights like these help marketers accomplish two primary tasks: 1) persuading internal colleagues to support the marketing plan and its initiatives, 2) persuading consumers to react accordingly. This is an interesting read.
11. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Digital Distraction by Derek Thomson, 2017
In his book, Thomson explores what makes something popular. Marketing professionals who are trying to make their products known and loved by as many people in their target market as possible must address this topic. Over the past two centuries, he has covered a variety of media, including Impressionist art, winning political speeches, movies, music, fashion, books, Etsy hit products, and mobile apps. As a result, he concludes there are no hard and fast rules for what makes things pop, but there are some reliable patterns. 1) simplicity, 2) familiarity, 3) frequency, 4) influential supporters, 5) close-knit supportive groups, 6) rhyming and catchy copy, 7) logical balance and intriguing inversion in messaging, 8) cross-channel support, 9) gradual innovation, and 10) ad hoc random influences. Thompson is an excellent writer and a fine storyteller. He has written a useful treatment on a nebulous subject.
12. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley, 2014
Content drives marketing, so our next selection on the best marketing books list is about content creation. If you want to create good content, you need to be able to write engagingly so that your ideas come alive.
A lot of useful information is provided in this book about how to produce really good writing content. I strongly recommend it to anyone who writes or edits content.
13. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson, 2013
The best customer experiences are effortless. According to him, 3 areas need to be addressed: 1) Time on task, 2) Convenience, 3) Simplicity. In the process of improving their products and services, companies tend to lose track of this principle.
With many practical tips and takeaways, the book is an excellent read on design and customer delight which leads to customer retention.
14. Non-Obvious: How to Predict Trends and Win the Future By Rohit Bhargava, 2019
Bhargava looks at the business landscape, identifies trends, and explains how marketers can take advantage of those trends. In addition, he explains how to spot trends and how to curate information. The book is republished every year because Bhargava realizes that trends move fast and he wants to remain current. Among his trends are Enlightened Consumption, Overtargeting, Brand Stand, Backstorytelling, Manipulated Outrage, Lightspeed Learning, Virtual Empathy, Human Mode, Data Pollution, and Predictive Protection.
15. Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong By Eric Barker
An interesting marketing book for more general readers. The author takes well-trodden paths and then digs deeper, adding nuances that are new and interesting. Unlike most business success books, he cites research that is less widely known. Takeaways from this study include: Drinkers make 10% more money than non-drinkers, while smokers earn 7% less because drinking is social, while smoking is usually private. You will be viewed as a leader if you speak early and often in groups. Networking among employees is valuable for companies, with each contact worth $948. People think that you are smarter if you wear glasses. Find out how these data points all work together to make a person successful by reading the book.
16. Digital Marketing for Dummies By Ryan Deiss and Russ Hennesberry, 2017
The book is published by Wiley. In addition to many practical and specific details, insights, and advice, this book is a great reference. Get the free Martech Stack Checklist and learn more about the digital marketing channels. It’s a 300-page document with sections on customer journeys, marketing planning, landing pages, blogging, SEO, SEM, social, display, email, and data and analytics. It is excellent that landing pages are emphasized as a high-leverage link in the funnel chain, which often gets overlooked in channel and media plans. In addition, they emphasize the importance of revisiting and tuning the offer regularly. There are 57 blog categories available, including Lists, How-Tos, Research, Stat Roundups, People to Follow, Parodys, Issues, Comparisons, What-Ifs, Challenges, and Products Tips.
17. Blue Ocean Shift by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, updated in 2017
Blue ocean strategy is the act of creating new markets instead of just fighting over a fixed piece of the pie in your current market. Customers are at the center of blue ocean strategy. Developing and deploying value for customers requires managers to innovate. You should avoid over-focusing on your competition as it can make you more similar to them and less differentiated in the mind of consumers. I prefer Play Bigger to Blue Ocean Shift when it comes to creating new markets.
The books on this marketing best books list are well worth the money and time and will help you plan your year ahead.
April 9, 2022
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