Reading is the foundation for better marketing and advertising practice, or business owners in any field for that matter. Advertising has gotten easier and more complex at the same time, the expansion of the digital market is proof enough. Marketing campaigns need to be unique and to reach the designated audience, and to do so the creative process, communication skills, and ingenuity need to be in top shape.
Whether you are simply looking for recommendations, experiencing a creative block, or searching where to get started in the marketing industry, we have prepared something for you. We created a book recommendation list, with a selection of classic titles, of reading material focused on digital marketing, and publications for entrepreneurs. You can find any of these titles on amazon.com. Time to add some marketing books to your reading list!
Great books about understanding the consumer
Competing against luck by Dr. Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David Duncan
This piece will help you learn how to develop and sell products and services according to the Jobs-to-be-done theory, or #JTBD as you could find on social media. It’s a game-changing approach, in which the attention is focused on addressing the jobs a customer needs to complete and creating a product or service that helps fulfill the task.
The authors shed light on the benefits of a strong understanding of the consumer and their behavior. They can help you recognize conversion opportunities, and what drives clients to use or not your product. Competing against luck can give you powerful insight into the new type of consumer-based progress in this digital age.
“Data is always an abstraction of reality based on underlying assumptions as to how to categorize the unstructured phenomena of the real world.”
― Clayton M. Christensen
The Brand Flip by Marty Neumeier
After reading this book you will never think of branding in the same way. Neumeier’s take on brand power will force you to engage clients in a different way, as they are the holders of control. He argues that marketers and agencies are not the only force behind branding, it resembles a ladder that must be climbed by the customer, with engagement and empowerment being the way up.
“We just go where we want to go, do what we want to do, and become who we want to become. We want to be unique, but we want to be unique in groups. We want to stand out, but we want to stand out together. In the age of easy group-forming, the basic unit of measurement is not the segment but the tribe.”
― Marty Neumeier
Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, by Donald Miller
Content marketing enthusiast, this one is a must-read for broadening your marketing strategy, as well as giving anyone a deeper understanding of how storytelling can improve your connection with consumers. Miller gives great importance to the power of narrative, describing the seven components every brand needs for satisfying and effective communication.
Miller’s strategy will affect how you are perceived by possible clients and how you portray your brand in a brand new light.
“Oprah Winfrey, an undeniably successful guide to millions, once explained the three things every human being wants most are to be seen, heard, and understood. This is the essence of empathy.”
― Donald Miller
Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers by Bernadette Jiwa
If by any chance you don’t know who Bernardette Jiwa is, you need to get acquainted with her blog, for which she won Australia’s Best Business Blog in 2012. Already a best-selling author, her work highlights the importance of brand storytelling and adding value through storytelling.
Marketing: a love story is not only a great read for your entire marketing team, it will give you insight towards next-level understanding and a more organic way to foster customer relationships. This title will take you by the hand and explain how to make your ideas resonate via a new reapproach.
“Customers don’t often pay for the actual value the product delivers. If they did, $4 cups of coffee wouldn’t exist,”
― Bernadette Jiwa
Books for startups and entrepreneurs
Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler
A bestseller title that will broaden the possibilities of any entrepreneur with its five-phase methodology. This is a data-driven read, with over 50 case studies and multiple brand identity analysis. Wheeler has done an extremely comprehensive job of researching the best way to use a designed and holistic marketing strategy that will bring your brand identity to the next level.
This will be the fourth edition published, with each new iteration the author manages to include the newest branding techniques for online marketing, taking into account social media, up-to-date data on global markets, and the key towards virtual branding.
Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
A dissertation on the key to personal brand: social media platforms. Here we have another heavy-hitting title from the many times successful bestselling author and marketing professional, Vaynerchuk. After the amazing Crush it! In 2009, the author took us on a person-focused marketing journey.
The title can reach anyone trying to improve their brand, be it a small family-owned business looking for a bigger customer base, or a startup well into their financing rounds. Vaynerchuk gives clear and straightforward advice about each aspect of social media, for digital marketers, with the tactical and theoretical insight he encourages anyone to reach another level, with only a few tips on innovation.
“You just have to make the choice to actually do it. I am so tired of excuses. Why not try something new? Be optimistic, exhibit patience, shut your mouth, and execute.”
― Gary Vaynerchuk.
What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint by Nicholas J. Webb
Do you think you know your clients? Well, think again. Author Nicholas Webb forces you to face the ugly truth that the consumer is an ever-changing complex and multi-sided entity, and you will have to work in order to get to know it. Webb gets back to basics with two central questions: What do your customers love? What do they hate?
This title delivers an excellent re-assessing point to multiple enterprises, it is an invitation to reinvent the way you are relating to the client. Taking your customers seriously as an object of study can grant you invaluable data to continue your operation. This book gives step-by-step insight tools and resources, it’s a must-read!
“Remember, whether you’re selling a product or a service, you are in the customer experience business. Customer experience is not just a function of training your staff; it’s a design function.”
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd by Allan Dib
The bestseller title by author Allan Dib has a clear message for you: Planning. Planning for yourself, and not following big business marketing. With his one-page marketing plan Dib invites every sort of business to roll up their sleeves and get things done.
The author has started and grown several businesses in different areas and industries and understands the difficult and time-consuming task of creating a marketing plan, that is why he devised this strategy, making it a pretty straightforward affair.
“Focusing on the cause (value) rather than the effect (making money) will lead to much greater long-term success.”
― Allan Dib
Groundbreaking works by epic authors
It’s likely that you already know these titles if you work in the marketing industry, but for any greenhorns out there, these are some of the classics. Their exemplary ideas are worth revisiting time after time.
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
You are watching TV and a commercial comes up. You are using Youtube, and there are 2 2-minute-long ads on your 4-minutes-long video. Video Games, LinkedIn, radio, podcasts, Twitter, Instagram, any piece of media come with a varied set of interruptions. This is interruption Marketing, as presented by Godin.
In the bestselling book, he calls for a less disrupting and annoying method: Permission Marketing. In which the consumer is offered an incentive to voluntarily accept ads, by targeting people who are genuinely interested in the product, brands can develop long-lasting and better relationships with customers.
If you are a content marketer, work in eCommerce, digital marketing, social media marketing, or any other area, this book is a necessary read. Permission marketing is a truly inspiring and insightful look into the way we consume advertising, this book was originally published in 1999 and it still feels groundbreaking today.
“Frequency led to awareness, awareness to familiarity, and familiarity to trust. And trust, almost without exception, leads to profit.”
― Seth Godin
The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Six universal principles and how to use them to hone your persuading skills. The amount of research and data-driven truths in this title is astonishing. Cialdini is the undisputed expert of influence and persuasion and is able to teach these methods to anyone, profoundly changing their worldview.
We recommend this title not only to marketers but to anyone willing to gain a deeper understanding of how the world works, and how to avoid being just a pawn in today’s landscape. We can truthfully claim it’s one of the best marketing books out there. Cialdini has revisited his work and now offers an extended and revised edition, if you have already gone through Persuasion we encourage you to peruse the new edition and his other works.
“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
How does one communicate to an already information-inundated individual? That’s the underlying question throughout Positioning, Ries and Trout do not disappoint. They deliver a masterclass on everything important, from product naming to identifying an undisturbed niche market.
Making and holding a prominent position in industry seems an easy job when described by the authors. Exploiting competitors’ weaknesses, showcasing your brand strengths, understanding trends, with case studies and analysis you will gain tremendous insight into the industry.
“Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution, or even a person. Perhaps yourself. But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.”
–Al Ries and Jack Trout
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
A truly excellent business book, it will open up your mind in order to search for greener pastures. It’s a classically acclaimed title for a reason, it argues that a good strategy is to conquer a newly identified market space instead of battling every inch of a crowded market area.
Authors Chan Kim and Mauborgne, professors at INSEAD, expand this idea and give strategies and methods for correctly identifying new markets, and tapping them in an effective way.
“Value innovation requires companies to orient the whole system toward achieving a leap in value for both buyers and themselves.”
-W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pullizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), brings us a title that explains how to efficiently convert leads and prospects via engaging content they truly want to consume.
This book’s takeaway is a systematic stroll through the development of stories, entertaining clients and winning them over. It contains thorough research and six basic principles any business worth its salt should follow in order to position themselves as a trusted expert in its field.
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves.”
Made to Stick By Chip Heath & Dan Heath
New York Times bestseller authors, the Heath brothers have managed to write an amazing piece of work, with the anatomy of ideas right in its center. It’s a doorway to understanding why some ideas stick, while others are forgotten. Engaging, provocative, sometimes hilarious, and profoundly relevant today, Made to Stick is a guaranteed must-read on any creative’s book list.
They share success stories and six principles of any long-standing marketing messages along with a page-turning exploration of the simplicity, unexpectedness, emotional and credible facet of remembered ideas.
Conversion Optimization The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers by Khalid Saleh & Ayat Shukairy
A practical step-by-step on attracting online clients, this book takes you through landing to finalizing sales. Conversion Optimization is a great companion for everyone that has any sort of e-commerce presence.
Authors Saleh and Shukairy will give you valuable data regarding marketing efforts, copywriting, design, user-friendliness, and data analysis of your landing page. Learning to cater to your specific audience, and successfully increasing your conversion rate, be it a small business or a grand scale operation.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
Author Handley presents the idea that writing, good, engaging writing, is important, now more than ever. The style of writing under a caption on social media can change the perception of a brand, it can turn a fresh and interesting idea into dreadful and forgettable boredom. It can make the public feel sympathy, trust, anger, or laughter.
Everybody Writes will teach you mind-blowing strategies that can improve your digital writing. We are not talking specifically about SEO, but about the messaging, the imprint a brand can have, about identity and indirect communication.
“The best companies don’t just churn out regular blog posts with the heavy-handedness of an orphanage doling out gruel. Rather, they put the needs of their audience first; they regard the ability to create content as something of a privilege.”
Regardless of work or trade, information is key for a better understanding of the world. A holistic approach to knowledge is an invitation to become a better human being, a better friend, sibling, parent, son, or daughter. From COR we encourage you to read any of our picks, not only to become a better marketer or creative but to become a more informed, engaged, and interested citizen of the world.