You can have the best and most innovative company in the world, but if you are not managing to get your products out there and in front of potential customers, you are going to go bust. There is no magic bullet to marketing and each and every company will have to take a slightly different route to success.
This being said, knowledge is power and understanding the world of marketing will set you up with a strong foundation to develop your marketing strategy regardless of whether you’re selling socks or private jets.
We asked marketing experts around the world to suggest the best and most cutting edge marketing books. Here are their suggestions.
The Messenger Is The Message (which was an Amazon marketing bestseller in the first month of its release) is the first book that provides a blueprint into the rapidly growing world of advocate marketing. Advocate marketing is for the modern consumer—more informed and less likely to trust a company's marketing than ever before. Instead, they actively seek reviews and recommendations before buying. Companies that have caught onto this trend are implementing advocate marketing programs which help them discover and nurture happy customers, and turn them into advocates who readily spread the word, leaving reviews and providing referrals.
And here's what Ted Malley, Chief Customer Officer of Ceridian had to say about the book:
With The Messenger is The Message, Mark explores the network dynamics underlying every successful sale and brand today. He skillfully combines discussion of technology with best practices from real-life case studies, examining businesses at the leading edge of transformation. Mark demonstrates how leaders have been able to build powerful networked communities, and codifies key lessons into helpful best practices. The Messenger is The Message is full of actionable insight drawn from decades of experience, and it's an invaluable guide to customer advocate marketing.
- Ted Malley
Contributor: Chris Newton (VP of Marketing at Influitive) | Twitter
About: The Messenger Is The Message, was recently written and published by our CEO, Mark Organ. Mark is an authoritative voice in the marketing world, having previously founded marketing automation company Eloqua, which was acquired by Oracle for $871M in 2012.
In his Amazon best-selling book, which is also a 2018 Axiom Business Book Silver Award winner, Kocina outlines a six-step process called Strategically Aimed Marketing, or SAM 6. “Following SAM 6 will assure creative people stay focused, on track and doing their best work. If you give creative people structure, they will produce amazing results,” he explains.
Have you ever laughed at a funny commercial but had no clue what it was advertising? Or, read a clever story about a product but you still weren’t clear about what it does? He says, “Creative ideas are great, but only if we remember why we’re marketing something. Unfortunately, too many companies allow the creative tail to wag the dog. They allow their marketing folks to go nuts without giving them clear direction. It’s unfortunate how much money is being wasted and sales missed over something that is relatively easy to solve.”
After more than 30 years of product marketing leadership, Kocina has seen the benefits of well orchestrated, integrated campaigns. “Marketing is about the shortest, fastest, least expensive and most direct route to a lead, a sale and a brand. But marketing has always been about being persuasive. You’ve got to tell people what they need, and cause them to desire it more than their money. If you lose sight of that, you won’t see more leads and higher sales. What makes me feel good about the SAM 6 process is that it’s a good fit for everyone in business.”
Hit “pause” long enough to learn and begin using the SAM 6 process.
Kocina explains that the SAM 6 process can unify your marketing team, ultimately leading to a stronger brand. “I’m pleased that feedback from those who are learning of this process has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The six steps are:
- Gain competence in marketing concepts and principles. “Dentists know how to fix and preserve teeth. Lawyers know affidavits from briefs. Architects know how to design strong, aesthetically pleasing structures. A competent marketer has a clear understanding of the broad concept of marketing as well as a working knowledge of specific marketing concepts and principles.”
- Create code sheets about your company and its products. “Code sheets are a means of documenting important information. Elements to include might be your product positioning, vision, mission, primary messaging themes and value points. Having all of these compiled in one place helps direct and control your creative staff.”
- Select the appropriate channels for each project. “The promotional mix channels you choose to employ depend on many variables including your message, the market and your resources. On any given day, for example, we are helping clients tell their stories through publicity, websites, social media and advertising, as well as providing support content for their personal sales team. But the actual messaging and approach may differ by the channel we’re using.”
- Maintain a schedule calendar. “Your marketing calendar is a trusted guide to ensure you cycle through each product and its primary value points. Its purpose is to assure that you are delivering a constant and maximum flow of on-point promotional messages. You need to figure out which products and messages should get the most attention. Scheduling will keep your promotions organized and help with budgeting.”
- Develop a control template. “Your control template provides the guidelines for your writers, designers and other creative staff to follow. It allows these imaginative professionals to create attention-getting content without losing sight of the marketing necessities. Recommended elements of your template include the audience for the content, the channel and keywords. It’s also helpful to include AIDA (an acronym for the time-honored promotional format). It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.”
- Engage your creative team. “You need to assemble the right people for the job, and then let these creative souls work their magic within the parameters you set. The composition of your creative team will depend on your calendar.”
Learn from someone with 30 years of practical working knowledge.
Kocina says those who follow these steps will feel more empowered by their marketing. “Following these steps brings a clarity and process to this tension-filled field. I’ve been CEO of Media Relations Agency for three decades. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients across the country. I get to see what’s behind the scenes. I can tell you, the companies that follow a logical process are the ones getting the most bang for their marketing dollars.”
He outlines those who might benefit most from SAM 6 include:
Marketing managers will discover how to get their whole team to work together efficiently. They’ll learn how to produce the most effective content, with the fewest rewrites and redesigns. They’ll also discover where to share it to get the best return on their investment. “With SAM 6, marketing will be fun again.”
CEOs will appreciate this academic-based process. When you understand SAM 6 you can quickly determine what types of marketing your company needs and what it doesn’t. You can also use SAM 6 to assess the competence of your marketing team.
Industry professionals such as graphic designers, writers and web designers will discover marketing secrets that will put them miles ahead of their peers. “SAM 6 will help them use their talents to create content that gets results. It can add rocket fuel to their marketing career.”
Kocina predicts that following these six steps will bring order and clarity to your marketing. “It will lead to more leads, higher sales and a stronger brand.” To order your copy of “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing”, available for $29.95, go to Amazon.com or Publicity.com.
Contributor: Lonny Kocina
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself. - Peter Drucker Nothing summarizes the objective of marketing as well as this Peter Drucker quote.
Marketers are influencers, sellers, and persuaders and the customers are at the center of it all. I love Daniel Pink's book for the story form he uses to put the customer at the center of it all. Daniel starts the book by saying we are all in sales and sales is the profession that continues to move the economy forward.
1) Without sales, everything stops. Gone are the days of sales practices explained around a slimy car salesman. Customers are researching and buying products and services with information on hand like never before. So there is a rise of the invisible sales men in us, the guy who created the Amazon iPhone page, for example, is a good visualization of this evolution. She is selling to us with new information, images, videos, text and what not!
2) Lawyers, Doctors, Consultants are all selling all the time without having the sales title to their name. Daniel quotes a commissioned study that the average worker is spending 40% of their time selling something.
3) So how does one influence and sell in this new world of information - first show and sell, Daniel illustrates the story of how Otis, demonstrated the safety of his elevator by putting himself on the line and disengaging the top shaft and how the safety mechanism kicks in. This wowed the crowd that gathered and set the way for his ascent. Second, improvise all the time, agree with the buyer, say yes and. Third, have a service mindset, best sellers today care about the customer and want to improve their life by helping them and not aggressively pushing them.
Selling, I've grown to understand, is more urgent, more important, and, in its own sweet way, more beautiful than we realize, Pink says towards the end, and calling sales as a human nature is more apt today then ever before!
I've been in marketing for just over five years now and as an avid reader, I've enjoyed my fair share of books for both entertainment and professional development. I first heard from Jay Baer at a Content Marketing World conference and was immediately hooked on his philosophy. He's all about content, but he also believes that you should pay attention to all of your customers.
Eighty percent of companies say they deliver outstanding customer service, but only 8 percent of their customers agree.
I've worked with a lot of businesses who were scared to create a social profile because they didn't want to deal with the negative comments. That's no excuse! Embracing your haters and providing the best customer service will show results for your brand.
If you're a business owner, managing your business and your online reputation, this book is a must read!
Contributor: Amber Ooley | Twitter
I know (the book) one our team has used extensively is Robert B. Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Our Director of Digital Marketing Wes Marsh recommended it to me, and it's helped immensely since I've made the switch from traditional journalism into content marketing. Here's a bit more about why Wes loves it from Wes's perspective:
One of the most important marketing books I've come across isn't a marketing book at all. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion classifies as a psychology book, but I firmly believe it should be standard reading for all marketers. It gives readers an insight into the psychological triggers that drive most human behaviors -- and thus helps marketers unlock their target audiences. Understanding those triggers give marketers the opportunity to create unique buying experiences and brand interactions.
Robert B. Cialdini presents the most powerful principles that drive human behavior: reciprocity, liking, authority, social proof, commitment/consistency, and scarcity. Not only does Cialdini offer various scenarios in which we experience these principles each day, he also gives defenses to them. These tips can easily be applied by a savvy marketer to both reach a target audience and also understand their potential hesitations with your product (without manipulating them, of course). Just think of the small phrases we use in marketing every day that drive people to act through these basic principles: 'sale ends this week' (scarcity), 'Only 5 tickets left' (scarcity), Social Proof - testimonials, using brand icons.
It is a biography on the legendary Apple founder's life, but more than that is a marvelous look at how to build a brand that has authenticity, identity and personality. One of the great examples from the book is the '1984' commercial that is still regarded as one of the most notable television commercials of all time. Steve was full of great ideas that can be relevant to any business owner.
Contributor: Paul Burke | Twitter
About: Paul Burke is the CEO and Founder of RentHoop. Named as one of the most promising housing apps of 2018 by Forbes and featured in NBCNews, USA Today and MTV it is being called the Tinder for Finding Roommates.
Without a doubt the most influential marketing book I've read is Purple Cow by Seth Godin.
The book explains how today's world has a shortage of available attention and as such, to be an effective brand, you must do things that are actually interesting to your customers.
Put another way, customers have tons of choice but small amount of attention, so creating products, promotions, etc that capture attention is the best way to sell products.
Contributor: Jake Smith (Founder of ProductViz)
Of all the marketing books I've read, How to Win Friends and Influence people truly stands a cut above the rest. I find that successful marketing is highly dependent upon a deep understanding of human psychology, persuasion, and a penchant for sales.
Of course, these skills don't come naturally to everyone. And even for those that it does, they're skills that can be honed with a little practice and extra knowledge. This book will revolutionize the way you understand your interactions, both personally and professionally.*
Despite being an old book at his point, the advice still rings as true as ever. Read it. Live it.
Contributor: Sam Warren | LinkedIn
About: Sam Warren is the Director of Marketing at RankPay, a top-rated SEO service that helps thousands of small businesses earn higher search rankings.
I just finished reading this book and it might be my favorite marketing book yet. It really shines a light on the concept of any business becoming a media company, creating endless amounts of content to build an audience as well as creating multiple different revenue streams throughout your business. I probably learned more in this book than any other marketing book I’ve read so far. I took a bunch of ideas from this book and it’s already starting to prove out for us.
About: Andrew Maffettone is the Director of Marketing and Operations at Seller’s Choice. They are a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers.
My latest favorite marketing book would be Known by Mark W. Schaefer, in which he shares how our reputation and 'fame' in our industry impacts our business and our ROI. Whether one is a lawyer, or a doctor, or a fitness coach, our personal brand decides who others perceive us and our value to them.
He shares some great case studies (and interesting stories such as that the grandpa who shoots things on YouTube. He also shares a step by step plan that one can use to be known in one's niche.
About: Syed Irfan Ajmal is a growth marketing manager at Ridester - a ridesharing blog which he has helped grow to 350,000 visitors/month. He also shares his insights on stage (locally and internationally) and via his columns at Forbes, the World Bank, SEMrush, HuffPost, Business.com and several other publications.
This book is worth its weight in gold, its written by the worlds leading expert on Google AdWords, it tells you how to dominate your niche by just focusing on the 20% of activities that provide 80% of your revenue. You will look at your business in a completely different way after reading this it is life changing.
Contributor: Adam Watson
About: Adam Watson is the marketing director at hollywoodmirrors.co.uk and has been for 13 years. He owns 100s of business and marketing books and the one that stands out above them all and he always refers back to is 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less.
I am suggesting this book not just because I am the author (well, mostly for that reason...) but also because this is NOT your typical boring marketing book. It is fun and funny and an entertaining and inspiring business and marketing book that presents real, practical business and marketing tips I gleaned from spending 7 years making low-budget action/horror films.
Today I am an accomplished CMO, but I attribute much of my success in the C-suite to my experiences making B-movies for the legendary studio, Troma. Fun Fact: when I left Troma in 1994 they hired a kid to replace me named James Gunn... yes, the same James Gunn behind the successful GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movies - who also attributes Troma to giving him his start in the movie business. So, if I hadn't quit Troma...
The marketing and branding lessons in the book are things that can and should be applied to any business in any industry, but they resonate well when wrapped around my firsthand experiences making wild and crazy low-budget action/horror/comedy films.
About: Jeff Sass, Chief Marketing Officer, .CLUB Domains and author of "Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER."
Jeff has over 30 years of experience in the technology and entertainment industries and has co-founded several start-ups including mobile commerce pioneer BarPoint.com in 1999. Jeff joined the .CLUB team in March 2012, and has led the company's marketing efforts throughout the process of acquiring and launching the .CLUB top level domain. Previously, as Vice President, Chief Evangelist at Myxer from 2007 to 2012 Jeff played a significant role in growing the mobile entertainment company into one of the top 15 mobile websites in the U.S. He is a Co-Founder of EntrepreneurWiki, and Social Object Factory. Jeff has also written and produced for film and television and has a deep understanding of the content business that is unique for a tech executive.
A graduate of Cornell University, Jeff is a frequent speaker and panelist on domain names, mobile marketing, digital music, entrepreneurship and social media. He has been an online instructor for the University of San Francisco’s Mobile Marketing Program. Jeff has had articles published in AdAge, Forbes, Entrepreneur, DMNews, Mobile Marketer, iMedia Connection and others. He was a co-host of the Cast of Dads podcast and has written regularly for a number of blogs including Dadomatic.com, SocialNetworkingRehab.com, and his personal blog, Sassholes! He also served as an Intel Advisor and Sony Digidad and is currently a member of the board of directors of The Domain Name Association (TheDNA.org).
This is the book written on the total chemistry of buying. Before setting your marketing strategy you must know what actually drives us to buy. Is our buying influenced by an attractive ad campaign or common trend or there lies some more deep psychological inference in our subconscious minds which we don’t even aware of? The writer introduces and explains all the impulses of buying in this book. Moreover, you will learn to possible ways scientifically measure these impulses and how to use them for your marketing campaign.
Contributor: Andrei Vasilescu (CEO and Digital Marketing Specialist)
About: Andrei Vasilescu is the CEO and Digital Marketing expert of a Money Saving platform DontPayFull.
The book summarises insight from consumer psychology research and offers practical takeaways all companies or non-profits can use in their marketing. It is based on Robert Cialdini's seminal work on influence and provides straight-forward takeaways about their practical implications. I have been using it in my marketing classes for years. Students love the insight while they take the class but also, more importantly, report that they remember and apply the material in their jobs long after the class is over.
Company: California State
About: Vassilis Dalakas is a marketing professor and Chair of the Department of Marketing at Cal State University San Marcos.
This is an excellent resource for preparing compelling presentation pitches.. It helps refocus our mindset from lecturing and simply providing information to story-telling that engages and wins over the audience. The author writes about many of his own agency's pitch experiences along with several other good or bad cases. They have inspired both me and my students to rethink our approach to presentations to now give more meaningful and exciting pitches. As someone who has attended many bad presentations over the years, I think this book is necessary for everyone who ever needs to make a pitch.
Company: California State
About: Vassilis Dalakas is a marketing professor and Chair of the Department of Marketing at Cal State University San Marcos.
Every creative entrepreneur should read Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out by Marc Ecko as this book is a mix of storytelling with strategies and tactics to grow your brand. Ecko shares how to build an authentic brand from the ground up and recover during shortfalls while maintaining the vision. In addition, Ecko provides insight on the value of relationships and multiple aspects of financial management for business growth. This book has helped me grow a personal brand by sharing impactful stories that resonates with my community by speaking to organizations or through my books and podcast.
About: Michelle Ngome is the CEO and Founder of Line 25 Consulting, a marketing firm specializing in content and social media marketing. She is the author of Network, Navigate & Nurture and Success Undefined as well host of the Networking With Michelle Show.
Tired of competition? Tired of swimming upstream with the other salmon? You are operating in a red ocean and your success is hindered! Authors Kim and Mauborgne discovered if you can make yourself different and stand out from the crowd, you are then operating in a blue ocean and have no competition. How do you do this? The book outlines the strategies and tactics for achieving blue ocean status. (Their sequel, called Blue Ocean Shift Beyond Competing, gives the successes of companies that followed their ideas and are now operating in a blue ocean!)
Contributor: Sylvia Allen | Facebook
About: Founder and president of one of New Jersey's top integrated marketing agencies, Allen Consulting of Holmdel, New Jersey; owner of the Historic Butler Building and Aitkin Opera House in Aitkin, Minnesota; and founder of Sylvia's Children, a non-profit doing work in Uganda, Africa since 2003.
For nearly 40 years, Sylvia Allen has worked as a premier marketing and PR professional, organizing events that draw thousands of people and foster economic prosperity in small towns and larger cities. She has held top board positions at countless organizations and associations, and often is asked to speak and present seminars and workshops on marketing, event production and sponsorship sales around the world, including in Malaysia, Singapore, China and around North America.
She is also an award-winning sponsorship expert, who has published several books on the subject. Sylvia has produced hundreds of events and has generated millions worth of sponsorships for her clients.
Here is a list of the awards she has won and her achievements: allenconsulting.com/awards/sylvias-achievements
A fantastic read for anyone working in marketing would be The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book offers insight on the different ways a small change in your efforts, like changing your message or the type of influencer you use, can bring you and your company to the tipping point and gain incredible and valuable exposure.
One part of the book that is quite interesting is Malcolm's Law of the Few. The Law of the Few, basically, explains how social epidemics are caused by a few individuals. These individuals, known today as influencers, are not all the same and add value in different ways. One type explained in the book is The Maven. This type of influencer is beneficial as they are seen by their network as an informed specialist. If they recommend or endorse your company/product, a high percentage of their audience will be willing to learn more. The Maven may not have as wide a reach as other types of influencers, but they generate high-quality leads as they're seen as an expert, and their audience trusts them fully.
Contributor: Jeff Hands (President of Optimum Control)
This book isn't strictly about marketing, but I think it's an important one for digital marketers.
As marketers, it's easy to get caught up in metrics, pricing, campaigns, and more...and forget that our goal is to make our audience's lives better. For anybody involved in digital marketing, Don't Make Me Think will give you principles you can use to make all of your websites, ads, content, emails, and more super easy and intuitive for your audience to use. If a reader has to stop and think how to use my website or get what they want, I've lost half the battle already. I want users focused on my offer, not on trying to figure out how to use my website. This book is a great, fun read for any marketer that wants to make their website a joy to interact with.
Contributor: Adam Thompson | Twitter
My all-time favorite Marketing book is Seth Godin's Permission Marketing.
In this age of information overload, being on customer's side is very important. In Permission Marketing, Seth explains why it is important it is to build a relationship based on customer’s consent and convenience. Instead of interrupting their experience seek permission to educate them about your product or service. The reason Marketers are not the most loved community is that we interrupt people and ruin their experience of watching a movie or driving the highway. Instead, we should focus on building long-term relationships to create trust.
Contributor: Charu Babbar
Aboout: Charu is a newbie in the world of entrepreneurship. After a successful stint of ten years in software Marketing with corporations like Oracle, IBM, and Adobe, she decided to establish her identity beyond big corporations and designations.
I highly recommend 'Hacking Growth' by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown.
Sean grew LogMeIn and Dropbox from startups to massive tech giants and coined the term growth hacking. This book is unique because it gives you a step-by-step growth process to follow, plus proven tactics that you can apply to your business today.
This is hands down the most relevant marketing book of 2018.
About: Kristen Proctor is the Founder and CEO of Rocket Strategy, a growth strategy consulting partner to innovative tech startups and Fortune 500s. Kristen has several years of experience leading growth at successfully scaled tech startups and public corporations. She is also a contributing writer for GrowthHackers.com, Inbound.com, Fast Company, and Inc.
Over the past few years, I have been drawn to Growth Marketing - the scientific approach to marketing that is coming out of Silicon Valley tech companies and focused on experimentation, viral loops, and customer retention/engagement. The thought process behind this Growth approach to marketing is useful for those in traditional business models outside of the technology industry and I highly recommend it to everybody interested in marketing. I look forward to more books being written on this marketing strategy, but here are a few book suggestions currently available:
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday - This is a short read and a good introduction to the Growth marketing approach.
Traction by Gabriel Weinberg - A good foundational book with interesting examples that categorizes 19 customer acquisition channels available to marketers.
I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago and have been in marketing since 1990. I recommend ANY book written by Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott or my old boss at Coca-Cola former CMO Sergio Zyman. The reason I suggest these authors is because all of them were formerly on the client side in house, in the trenches so speak from first hand experience and hard won lessons learned. They use real life examples from their careers and talk about the mistakes they made, what really worked, what didn't and why. This is not hypothetical, theories from research or a classroom. https://amzn.to/2pBPnab
They are practitioners who know from their own experience. You will learn the unvarnished truth direct from the source in plain English. It will save you from making the mistakes they did and learn from them at least. It is a marketing education you can't beat.
Contributor: Paige Arnof-Fenn (Founder & CEO)
About: Paige Arnof-Fenn is the Founder & CEO of global branding and marketing firm Mavens & Moguls. Before becoming an entrepreneur she was in brand management at Procter & Gamble, held a senior marketing role at Coca-Cola and ran marketing at 3 successful startup companies. She is a graduate ofStanford University and Harvard Business School.
Reading one of the best marketing books listed below is likely to change and improve the way you market. While there are many classic marketing books that could make a best-books list, the recommended reading list below focuses only on marketing books.
Get ready to be inspired while learning key marketing strategies. You do not want to miss these marketing page-turners.
1. Blue Ocean
3. You Tility
These are only some suggestions for learning marketing by books but there are many websites like Joey Crowd. How always updated with the latest trending new and help entrepreneurs by effective influencer marketing.
As a professional speaker and public relations expert, I highly recommend Steal the Show by Michael Port. Today almost everyone that we work with in terms of marketing, positioning, personal branding, business development and media relations asks us for assistance in becoming a better public speaking and presenter. These skills have become even more critical for success in business than ever before with the rise of video.
Being able to successfully and effectively communicate when presenting and speaking creates a competitive advantage and strengthens an individual's personal brand. There are steps that need to be taken, practice and a process that should be followed to sharpen these skills. In Michael Port's Steal The Show he outlines magnificently the process, tactics, and approaches to take. He covers how to overcome fears and other challenges that are important to giving exceptional talks, speeches and presentations. Anyone looking to enhance their skills or build a solid foundation for effective speaking should read this book at least once if not every year.
This might be published almost two decades ago, but it’s still considered as a classic book of marketing. This is probably the first book which enlightens us to how to deal with the situations when interacting with the media-biased and confused people. The dual writers explained how to position yourself in your target audience’s view and how your product properly fits in the best position of the huge market. Moreover, this book teaches us how to construct own marketing strategy to the best advantage targeting your rival’s weak points.
Contributor: Andrei Vasilescu (CEO and Digital Marketing Specialist)
About: Andrei Vasilescu is the CEO and Digital Marketing expert of a Money Saving platform DontPayFull.
An interesting look at how to incorporate psychological marketing for driving customer engagement, it outlines a four-step process for influencing customer behaviour as well as the customer experience. The authors experience within advertising and the video gaming industry provides practical insights on how to motivate and influence consumers behavior in subtle ways through neuroscience. The framework suggests how to evaluate whether a product or service has the potential of habit-forming possibilities and various strategies one can use to utilize such techniques.
Contributor: Mark Nicholson (Marketing Director)
Company: Absolute Results
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