Take 2019 by the horns and add these books to your reading list.
From The Art of War by Sun Tzu to more Purple Cow by Seth Godin, these books will give you a well rounded view of marketing.
#1 The Art of War by Sun Tzu
This book was recommended by Mark Ortiz from Reviewing This
“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu is an important read for any business owner. Sun Tzu was known as one of the greatest war strategists to ever exist. His philosophy on leading, and prospering, can easily be transitioned to the work space. After all, it was Sun Tzu that said “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
This book was recommended by Chrissy Bernal from Chrissy Bernal
Bryan Kramer is forward-thinking and has a pulse on Communications. Marketers would be foolish to not read this and begin to apply its teachings in their practices.
#3 Making Websites Win: Apply the Customer-centric methodology that has doubled the sales of many leading websites by Dr. Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson
This book was recommended by Kelly Mantick from SolidProfessor
A super easy-to-read, easy-to-reference book, Making Websites Win provides actionable advice from conversion experts on how to grow profits by optimizing your website for conversions. After diving into the explanation of CRO (conversion rate optimization), the authors explore how to get more web traffic (for free!), how to design your website with CRO in mind, and how to leverage testing to better understand what works and what doesn’t. For anyone interested in maximizing their website conversion rate and revenue, this book will get you there as will the digital marketing agency hamilton!
This book was recommended by Josh Engalla from Regex SEO
Rangappa gives readers incredible insight into how some of greatest branding campaigns have become so successful. You learn how to develop key insights into your business so that you can develop more insightful messaging that will render your marketing and advertising more impactful. As the owner of a digital marketing company in Houston, this process has been immediately implemented at our agency and have since fueled our brainstorming sessions on new campaigns.
This book was recommended by Ernests Embutnieks from ernestsembutnieks blog
This book gives you unusual ideas & strategies [on] how to develop your marketing. It is also full with case studies from very successful companies. Definitely a great place to look for an inspiration.
This book was recommended by Nate Meadows from Digital Radar Marketing
UnBranding is smart and witty – as you would expect from Scott and Alison Stratten. I loved how the book breaks down over 100 real examples from various brands, what they did good and not so good… One of my favorite lines from the book regards creating a logo. Scott and Alison hilariously share examples we can all relate to.
This book was recommended by Stephanie Hooper from Infront Webworks
This book by Jern Lyseggen shows you how to use actual data and practical examples to make data-led decisions. It includes actual data based decisions that were made by brands like Apple, Facebook, Obama. It provides insight and a detailed plan for corporate decision-makers to improve the company decision making process.
#8 SEO for Growth in 2019: Strategies to Stay Ahead in the Changing World of Digital Marketing. Rank Well On Google & Maximize ROI. Mobile First Index, AI, Google Snippet, Content & Influencer Marketing by Matthew Bartnik
This book was recommended by Stephanie Hooper from Infront Webworks
Marketing companies understand the importance of SEO in the digital marketing world. Search engines are constantly changing and learning. It is important to stay up to date with all of the algorithm changes and to make sure your SEO strategy is still current and relevant. Most of the information to learn about the latest SEO is online via blog posts etc. But this book includes most of the latest pertinent information.
This book was recommended by Mr. Rithvik Musuku from Advancing Science Worldwide
In 2019, social media is officially the top activity on the Internet. For businesses, this has meant that social media marketing has gained tremendous importance (for some types of businesses, even more than other forms of marketing, such as email, direct mail, etc.). This book teaches entrepreneurs how to most effectively use social media as a marketing tool and with social media being extremely important in 2019, I believe this book will be particularly useful to entrepreneurs.
This book was recommended by Jim Wasserman from Your third life
In a world of media saturation, children today are not future consumers of information and goods, but targeted participants involved in a game in which they don’t know the rules or even that they are playing, yet one that will affect them throughout their lives. The books are teaching manuals that help teachers not only explain the concepts of consumer economics and media literacy to students but supply lessons to get hands-on experience recognizing, deconstructing, evaluating, and choosing for themselves whether to accept the tangible product or intangible message offered. Teachers can use the lessons to help students build a toolbox of analytical skills that they can carry with them and develop further throughout the rest of their lives to distinguish information from persuasion, from what people tell them they should believe to what the students, through critical thinking, decide is worthy of their belief.
This book was recommended by Dave Munson from Saddleback Leather Co.
This book by Donald Miller describes how to find out what the customer is really looking for deep down when they’re looking at what you offer and then how to message it so they see that it fulfills their need. It follows the stories we all know. You make them the hero and you become their guide. It’s really a great great fundamental marketing book.
This book was recommended by Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple
With hundreds if not thousands of books written on growth hacking this is the only one that worth reading. Sean Ellis looks at growth hacking as a mindset rather a list of ‘secret’ strategies. It will help to get ideas on acquisition, data and retention. Probably a must-read for a marketer in a tech start-up.
This book was recommended by Christopher Martin from FlexMR
The Choice Factory is most aptly described as not just a book to read, it’s one that yearns to be used. By combining a plethora of anecdotes and creative examples, Shotton brings the topic of behavioural science to life and demonstrates it’s role in marketing communications. Throughout, the book describes the behavioural biases that underline basic human behaviour, the ways in which these biases inform our decision making, and marketers can use these psychological shortcuts in their work. But, as if this isn’t interesting enough, it’s also a whistlestop tour of real life ad campaigns, industry-altering research and the thoughts of the most influential advertisers of our time.
This book was recommended by Kimberly Ihekwoaba from Kihek Creations
This book addresses the importance of content marketing for Authors and how they can leverage the internet to promote their books. Burke covers various platforms for writers to utilize regardless of your experience as a writer. The creation of content comes with the end in mind – know the target audience of your book, the purpose of your book, and what your audience would be interested in learning. Lastly, add personality in your content, people buy from people they know, like, and trust.
This book was recommended by Ogilvy on Advertising from Cleveland Marketing King
David Ogilvy is known as the “Father of Advertising.” Even though this book was published in 1985, there are so many core principles that carry over into 2019. This book shows you that storytelling is the key to good marketing and is a must read for anyone in the profession.
This book was recommended by Dane van Zyl from Uku Inbound
Scaling Up is an excellent book about growth! Based on Verne Harnish’s first book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” this 2.0 version explores how fast-companies or “gazelles” as he calls them are fueled by innovation and create a majority of the jobs in the global economy. In Scaling Up, Verne provides valuable tools to help companies accelerate growth and achieve their goals. The One-Page Personal Plan (OPPP) and Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) have helped us align our marketing and business goals. If you only read one business book in 2019, this would be my pick!
This book was recommended by Kraig Martin from Storage Vault
This book seeks to get to the core of why some products, services, and stories become so popular, almost contagious, whilst others do not. It explores the social drivers of information sharing and adoption, getting to the crux of how our identification with the world around us and the people surrounding us affects our reception of marketing messages. The conclusions he draws offer some real, actionable ways for marketers to develop messages that will stick in consumers’ minds, generating a contagious overall marketing campaign.
This book was recommended by Erik J. Olson from Array Digital
“Anomaly is a fresh spin on what is usually a boring business book. A companion of his Zack Miller Says podcast and conference talks, Anomaly provides unorthodox business advice that helps you stand out from the competition.
There are no recommendations for marketing automation, flooding the internet with spam, or creating complex data drive funnel.
Instead Zack refocuses us on the fundamentals. Things like walking up to someone and saying hi, having a conversation to create a relationship, asking if the person could use your services, sending handwritten note cards, and sending short video messages on people’s birthdays rather than clicking the Happy Bday button to auto generate the same canned birthday message that someone receives from hundreds of of others.
He teaches you how to stand out from the crowd.
Blend in with the crowd and you’ll get nowhere. Separate yourself from the pack and you will achieve your goals. ”
This book was recommended by Christopher Chung from Founder of Locate 852
Unlike a lot of the dated marketing books out there, GIVE by Nicholas Kusmich is a simple yet detailed and practical book that outlines the proper way to do Facebook Marketing. The core concept of how you first must give before you ever take is why this book is a must read for anyone in the marketing industry. The book outlines his exact process and steps needed to turn cold traffic into buying customers. Everything from crafting the perfect AD, to proper targeting, and the building an efficient lead magnet is all laid out. Although focused on Facebook marketing, most concepts are easily adaptable to other marketing platforms with little to no change. GIVE has really given me a lot of insights to efficient digital marketing and has really helped take my business to the next level.
This book was recommended by Abby Chinery from Reboot Digital Marketing
Content is becoming increasingly important in marketing, giving prospective customers genuinely useful insights into your industry, and increasing your brand’s visibility in the SERP, driving conversion. This book looks at marketing from a modern-day perspective, with actionable insights on how to write great content that traverses the pillars of marketing, including SEO, social and email. Particularly good for visual learners!
This book was recommended by Greg Antonioli from Out of the Woods Construction & Cabinetry, Inc.
“Long before the internet and collecting email addresses was possible, the Grateful Dead wrote the book on building a tribe of loyal followers. When newsletters were on paper and delivered via snail mail, the band established the foundation and basic principles of what later came to be called “”viral marketing”” and “”social media””. Deadheads felt a bond with the band that no brand has been able to duplicate and the communication medium was no more than the US Mail and a telephone “”hotline””…..and subsequent word-of-mouth.
Confession: I am a veteran of 70+ Grateful Dead shows and own a business that generates $3M/yr in revenues purely on word-of-mouth. Reading this book made me realize I was an unknowing marketing student of the Grateful Dead!”
This book was recommended by Jeffrey Forbes from Elite Ethics
Purple Cow is a book that focuses on the need to stand out in order to be a great marketer. Today, consumers have advertisements shown to them everywhere they look. Seth Godin urges the need to not only dive deeper into finding what your audience interests are, but also creating something they have never seen before. This book provides inspiration to those starting out, and motivation to those who have started their journey.
This book was recommended by Kameron Helmuth, CFP® from State Bank
“I’ve read numerous marketing books and often time the strategies are similar from one book to the next and eventually all blur together. This book, Shift, is the most
practical marketing book I’ve ever read. It offers dozens of plug and play strategies that you can implement, today. No matter your industry this is a MUST READ. ”
This book was recommended by Jonathan Alonso from CNC Machines
This book teaches a valuable important aspect in the process of growth hacking. His analysis and case studies are incredible and can be used for Good or bad but to a marketing point of view it can scale earn media by 100% even with a shoe string budget.
This book was recommended by Dave Poulos from The Marketing Doc
If you want a broad but comprehensive marketing education, this book offers it in spades. Chapter after chapter of background and helpful practical advice and anecdotes about the craft and practice of marketing, both B2B and B2C, for SMB, enterprise, Trade and Professional Associations, Agencies, Federal and State contractors – if you have products or services to market, this is the place to start your education. Broken into easily digestible chunks,you’ll learn everything from direct marketing and digital outreach, content marketing, tradeshow and conference marketing, marketing research, PPC, SEO, and much, much more.
This book was recommended by Josh Gallant from Foundation Marketing
If you want to be successful in marketing you need to know how to persuade people. Rather than just throwing darts hoping something hits, this book from Noah J. Goldstein is full of science-backed insights to help you be more persuasive in your everyday life. It’s packed with 50 small and simple techniques that can have a drastic impact on your persuasive abilities.
This book was recommended by Andrew Golden from Andrew Golden – SEO/Digital Marketing
While it was originally published in 2008, the principles laid out in CA$HVERTISING deal with the psychological drivers of sales and conversions. The author’s accessible way of explaining human psychology during the conversion process (supported by advertising agency case studies and additional data) has certainly had an impact on the way I approach inbound campaigns – from paid advertising, copywriting, user interface design, and overall campaign strategy. It is most certainly worth a read.
#28 The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business by Mark W. Schaefer
This book was recommended by Cory Hedgepeth from Direct Online Marketing
“When it comes to marketing, copy/content is now the primary focus. Whether you are writing to social media audiences, blogs, landing pages, or pitching for link insertions, your content must be spot-on. You need what’s known as “content engagement;” and the competition for such is extremely high (so you must stand out).
Schaefer’s book teaches the idea that you must create influential content via a brand, make it shareable, infuse it with social proof, and make sure it is properly distributed.
The book also talks content philosophy and strategy in today’s market which is evermore complex. Now, content marketers must consider shareablity, the brand’s values and directives, and the SEO aspect of the content they produce. Schaefer breaks down the power of influence and the power of being shared. In other words, content that isn’t read is not content at all. ”
#29 The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In and Build Credibility by Gregg L. Witt and Derek E. Baird
This book was recommended by Gregg Witt from Engage Youth Co.
The Gen Z Frequency offers a comprehensive guide for any brand or organization trying to reach this demographic, covering fundamental truths, content creation, engagement strategies and tactics such as social media, experiential, emerging technologies, and much more. It is woven with fascinating case studies and real-world stories from the trenches, plus key insights from leading youth brands and Gen Z themselves. Whether you are new to marketing or a seasoned expert, The Gen Z Frequency is the ultimate resource for tuning in to Generation Z.
This book was recommended by Jason Brewer from Brolik
This book focuses on creating new, untapped markets instead of fighting all the competitors in a current, inundated market. The phrase, “Work Smarter, Not Harder” is a great way to encompass what this book is about.
This book was recommended by Lisa Fox from Lead Gen Hype
Using neuroscience and behavior research to better form and deliver your message. This book breaks down human behavior and how people make decisions. Marketing now is all about applying the data to your strategy. By using the latest in neuroscience research it is possible to create marketing that captures that half a moment a business gets to attract a customer.
This book was recommended by Angelo Sorbello from Astrogrowth
Time goes by, but Breakthrough Advertising always remains a masterpiece present in many marketers’ library and often recommended. Despite the rise of digital and now physical voice interfaces to interact with, the basics inside this classic by Schwartz are always evergreen and necessary to be implemented by every marketer or business interested in selling more or up-leveling his marketing operations.
This book was recommended by Francesca Roveda from SixthContinent
The Power of Habit, though not strictly about marketing, can provide many useful insights about human habits that can be harnessed my marketers. By understanding what triggers individuals and how to create habit loops, marketers can use the research and provided mental tools to build campaigns and products that ensure that customers keep coming back.
This book was recommended by Lauren Hilinski from Shred Nations
In competitive marketplaces how can we make our voice stand out and gain the trust of our customers? This book gives you practical guidance on communicating with people, understanding others, and being a good leader, with an emphasis on being honest, genuine, and kind. While it may be geared towards the salesman, the tips are undoubtedly applicable to marketers.
#35 Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers by Khalid Saleh and Ayat Shukairy
This book was recommended by Mark Ortiz from ReviewingThis
Thisbook by Saleh and Shukairy is a must read for any ecommerce business. The two of them discuss all sorts of tactics for improving your conversion rate. From building trust to your users, to ways to engage your users.
#36 Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…about Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni
This book was recommended by Raitis Purins, Head of Marketing from Printful
“While we can’t eliminate meetings, we can make them more productive. Death by Meeting shares helpful advice on how to prepare, organize and lead meetings so that everyone in the team would be heard, informed, and engaged. Inspired by this book, I introduced weekly kick-off meetings for the marketing team. Knowing what everyone’s priorities for the week are helps avoid misunderstandings and organize work more effectively.
This book was recommended by Tatiana Morand from Wild Apricot
This book gave me a lot of insight into the ways marketing has to work together with the other parts of a business in order to succeed in the long run. I think a lot of my fellow content marketers will also have used Moz, so it was fascinating to see the background on how it’s developed over the years and the strategies that Fishkin used to get it off the ground.
This book was recommended by Melissa Paterson from Gurus4You
In an age of marketing about digital transformations, social influence and overflow of marketing distribution channels it is wonderful to get grounded in a classic. Creativity, independent thought and conviction shine through this compelling read. It is a classic marketing book that constantly provides new ways of thinking about current situations.
#39 Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi
This book was recommended by Nooria Khan from GigWorker
In this book, Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi give plenty of real-world cases for marketers to use as inspiration. They explain different methods and possibilities of marketing that will elevate your business content strategy. This books will give one a lot to think about. An interesting, accessible and engaging book that will keep marketers busy. I would say, if you want to read something good about marketing, then this book is a very good investment.
This book was recommended by Sharlrita Deloatch from Expert Secrets
“Expert Secrets Is The Map That Will Allow You To Turn Your Specialized Knowledge, Talents and Abilities Into A Business That Will Work For You! This Is One Of The Shortcuts of The New Rich”
This book was recommended by Carla E. Campos from Carprincess
“The Marketing Gurus” by Chris Murray is a comprehensive book that is meant to pass on the wisdom that marketing experts have learned in their years of experience to their readers. It is also a great way to delve into the world of marketing since it summarizes various marketing books that are out in the market into one book.
This book was recommended by Adam White from Jasper Holland Co
This book by story expert Donald Miller clearly explains the need to treat your customers like the hero of their story while you are the guide showing them the way to solve their problems by doing business with you. It’s a must read for anyone looking to engage more potential customers.
#43 Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession by Mary Potter Kenyon
This book was recommended by Mary Potter Kenyon from Mary Potter Kenyon
If you want to understand the workings of the minds of extreme shoppers, this ethnographic history of the cultural phenomenon of extreme couponers gives a background history of coupons, the science of shopping, and the secrets behind company premiums and incentives.
#44 They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan
This book was recommended by Kevin Phillips from IMPACT
One of the biggest challenges business have with blogging is choosing the right topics to write about. This book proposes such a simple, but often overlooked approach to deciding what to write about: answering all of the questions your audience has about the products/services you sell. Every question a client or prospect has asked you, or one of your sales people, can be used as a blog topic. If they’re asking these questions, it’s because they want honest, straight-forward answers they’re not getting elsewhere. And, while some of these questions may be tough to answer, doing so will help you better establish trust with the people in need of your services. The book also includes the “Big 5” which are the most important questions you need to answer for your audience to gain their trust, and ultimately, their business.
#45 Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest Growth Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown
This book was recommended by Adam Thompson from Sectigo Store
This book shares a framework for combining UX, product development, and marketing to drive customer acquisition, retention, and revenue growth. The book pulls from real-life campaigns at Airbnb, Facebook, Pinterest, and other well-known brands.
This book was recommended by Anton Kraly from Drop Ship Lifestyle
“Most of the time when I’m reading books, I’m reading ones that share deep insight and give me real takeaways. However, I saw Disrupted: Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons the other day and, not to judge a book by its cover, I felt it would be a different. I’m glad I decided to buy it and bring it home with me.
This book is written by one of the guys that writes for the HBO show, Silicon Valley, and is about his real life experience working at different tech startups in Silicon Valley. It’s a good inside look into what that culture is actually like and how it is to run that type of business.
You’ll get a lot of takeaways and unique insight, but it’s also hysterical. I’ve never laughed reading a book until I read this. Disrupted more of casual, fun read, but definitely check it out!”
This book was recommended by Gabe Hernandez from ROI Swift
This book by Donald Miller goes over what makes a compelling story and provides a framework to improve a brand’s messaging and prevent it from becoming easily ignored noise. With this book’s framework, brands can easily shift their messaging that often makes their products or brand the hero of the story but rather make the customer the hero and the brand or product as the tool the hero needs to be successful.
This book was recommended by Mike Khorev from Nine Peaks Media
This book by Robert Cialdini Ph.D gives some very powerful lessons in the psychological power of persuasion when it comes to marketing. Cialdini outlines this through six principles that sound simple at the outset, but dig deep into what makes every consumer tick. You can apply these persuasion tips in any sort of business category, even when working in the digital marketing arena.
A quick read about the deceptively difficult task of turning your venture into an admired brand. Inspired by a new wave of commodity brands that is winning hearts, using the eight traits and their commandments in this book will guide you to your specific path to turning your venture, may that be a commodity product or a hot startup, into a better, more beloved brand.
This book was recommended by Adam Mitchell from We Buy Houses Fast in Dallas
Seth teaches a unique approach to uncover how customers buy and how to develop a marketing plan to solve their problems. In the current age of mass marketing, spam and uninteresting marketing tricks he outlines a plan to reach customers emotionally no matter the industry.
#51 The 25 Cognitive Biases: Understanding Human Psychology, Decision Making & How To Not Fall Victim To Them by Kai Musashi
This book was recommended by Christopher Conley from Instagram
This book describes the tactics used by marketing strategists that trigger cognitive switches in their target client to invoke emotional and logical reasons to buy the product or service, which promote sales in an ethical, yet extremely effective way. The best part? The client will never realize they are being sold to, because the process of creating a buyer/seller relationship happens subconsciously.