We have updated this list and added more books that every marketer should read cover to cover if they want to accelerate their growth in this field. Below this first list, we have added more marketing books that you should add to your reading list immediately.
Suppose you are in the business of online marketing. In that case, you already know that regardless of how many academic courses you took in college or how many hours you spent listening to your teachers, the most you will ever gain is some basic knowledge that will not take you to the cutting edge.
Online marketing is a highly evolving field with new techniques, theories, tactics, and tools emerging every day, and the only way to stay on top is to stay tuned and on standby, ready to grab anything new and useful.
However, a Google search won’t suffice since the internet is full of bullshit; and although thousands of marketing books are published each year, most of the books are destined to stay on shelves collecting dust.
This is why I compiled this list of books for you. My objective is to put you on a rail; the rest is, however, up to you. As a Ph.D., I’ve developed a good sense of the type of books that will elevate you and the ones that keep you grounded. Remember, it is never too late to learn.
In this article, I have outlined the ten marketing books of all time, plus some other books that are great to have in your library; I have also added a section on 5 of the most powerful marketing tips, four types of marketing strategies, and resources you’ll love section.
10. Buy.logy by Martin Lindstrom
How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them?
In Buy.logy, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed regarding: what sparks our interest and what drives us to buy.
Key Takeaways From Buy.logy
1. Our brains respond to branding and advertising in complex and often unconscious ways, which can influence our purchasing decisions without realizing it. (Chapter 1, page 10)
2. Many commonly-held assumptions about what drives consumer behavior, such as the importance of product quality or price, may not be accurate. Instead, emotional and subconscious factors can have a more substantial impact. (Chapter 2, page 28)
3. Neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI can provide insights into how our brains respond to marketing stimuli, but various factors limit their usefulness in predicting consumer behavior. (Chapter 4, page 67)
4. Using product placements in movies and other media can effectively create positive associations with a brand. Still, the impact can be weakened if the placement is too obvious or forced. (Chapter 7, page 131)
5. Companies that focus on creating strong emotional connections with their customers rather than simply promoting product features are often more successful in building lasting brand loyalty. (Chapter 8, page 150)
9. Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pullizzi
Joe Pullizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), one of the leading content marketing educational resources for enterprise brands, and a fast growing business since its creation.
It is safe to assume that Pullizzi knows a thing or two about content marketing, and in this book, he gives plenty of great advice about how to do it right.
“Epic Content Marketing” takes you systematically through the process of developing stories that inform and entertain customers to act without actually telling them to. Epic content enables you to position your business as a trusted expert in its industry, and it is what customers share and talk about.
There are six principles:
1. Your content must fill an unmet need or answer a question for your customer
2. You must deliver your content consistently
3. Your content needs to be written in your voice, preferably with some humor
4. You need to express an opinion rather than giving a balanced history report
5. You must avoid sales speak, as it destroys the value of your content
6. You must aim to produce the very best content relating to your content niche
Key Takeaways From Epic Content Marketing
1. To create effective content marketing, you must start with a clear understanding of your target audience and their needs and then create content that addresses those needs in a unique and valuable way. (Chapter 1, page 6)
2. Successful content marketing requires a strategic approach that includes setting clear goals, developing a focused content mission statement, and creating an editorial calendar to guide your content creation efforts. (Chapter 3, page 34)
3. To make your content stand out in a crowded marketplace, it must be “epic,” – meaning it should be exceptionally high-quality, original, and valuable to your audience. This requires a commitment to ongoing creativity and innovation. (Chapter 5, page 77)
4. Content marketing is not just about creating content – it’s also about promoting and distributing that content effectively. This includes leveraging social media, email marketing, and other channels to reach your target audience and maximize the impact of your content. (Chapter 8, page 149)
5. Ultimately, the success of your content marketing efforts will depend on your ability to measure and analyze your results and use those insights to refine your strategy over time. This requires a focus on key metrics such as website traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. (Chapter 10, page 191)
8. Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard
Top branding and marketing expert Olivier Blanchard attempts in this book to demystify the biggest question that sits on top of the minds of many business managers: what exactly is the return on investment of social media, and more importantly, why should my business be using social media? And finally, how do we justify the investment?
Reading this book, you will learn about the best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization in Social Media. You will also learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for and how to achieve them.
Key Takeaways From Social Media ROI
1. Social media ROI is not just about financial returns but also about non-financial returns such as customer loyalty, brand awareness, and reputation. (Chapter 2, pages 30-31)
2. The ROI of social media can be calculated by identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), setting goals, and measuring the impact of social media on those goals. (Chapter 4, pages 61-62)
3. Social media initiatives should be aligned with business objectives in order to have a measurable impact on the bottom line. (Chapter 6, pages 97-98)
4. Social media should be viewed as an integrated part of overall business strategy rather than a standalone activity. (Chapter 7, pages 111-112)
5. The success of social media initiatives depends on having the right people, processes, and technology in place to execute and measure those initiatives. (Chapter 9, pages 154-155)
7. The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen
In The Anatomy of Buzz, former marketing VP Emanuel Rosen pinpoints the products and services that benefit the most from a buzz-a universe that embraces everything from high-tech equipment to books, various consumer and entertainment products to legal and other support services and offers specific strategies for creating and sustaining effective word-of-mouth campaigns.
Drawing from interviews with more than 150 executives, marketing leaders, and researchers who have successfully built buzz for major brands, Rosen describes the ins and outs of attracting the attention of influential first users and “big-mouth” movers and shakers. He also discusses proven techniques for stimulating customer-to-customer, selling-including how companies can spread the word to new territories by taking advantage of customer hubs and networks on the Internet and elsewhere.
Key Takeaway From The Anatomy Of Buzz
1. Buzz is created through a combination of factors, including the product itself, the context in which it is launched, and the way it is marketed. (Chapter 1, pages 5-6)
2. Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing and can be encouraged through strategies such as creating a unique product or experience, leveraging influencers, and providing exceptional customer service. (Chapter 3, pages 29-31)
3. Buzz can be measured and tracked using metrics such as the number of mentions, the sentiment of those mentions, and the level of engagement generated. (Chapter 4, pages 44-45)
4. To sustain buzz over time, companies must continue to innovate, evolve their products and marketing strategies, and actively engage with their audience. (Chapter 7, pages 113-114)
5. Creating buzz requires a deep understanding of the target audience and the ability to effectively communicate the unique value proposition of the product or service. (Chapter 9, pages 142-143)
6. Made to Stick By Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Chip and Dan Heath tackle in this book why some ideas thrive while others die and how to improve the chances of worthy ideas. They reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”
Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick will show you the vital principles of winning ideas and how to apply these rules to make your own messages stick. Made to Stick is simply a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas.
Key Takeaways From Made To Stick
1. Ideas that stick are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and tell a story. (Chapter 1, pages 15-16)
2. In order to make an idea stick, it is important to focus on the core message and strip away any unnecessary details or jargon. (Chapter 2, pages 39-40)
3. A message that is unexpected or violates people’s expectations can capture their attention and be more memorable. (Chapter 3, pages 68-70)
4. Concrete details and examples make a message more memorable and help people understand and remember it. (Chapter 4, pages 91-92)
5. Emotion is a powerful tool for making a message stick, as people are more likely to remember and act on information that elicits an emotional response. (Chapter 6, pages 143-144)
5. Conversion Optimization by Khalid Saleh & Ayat Shukairy
I might be cheating by adding Khalid’s and Ayat’s book to this list, but you will forgive me once you go over it and read it. Based on the authors’ broad experience in helping businesses attract online customers, this book addresses every aspect of the process, from landing visitors to finalizing the sale. You will learn several techniques for blending successful sales approaches with the particular needs of the people you want to attract.
Conversion Optimization offers practical advice on how to persuade visitors to make a buying decision without driving them away through data overload or tedious navigation. You will learn how to use marketing principles, design, usability, and analytics on your site to increase your buyer-to-visitor ratio, whether you are involved with marketing or designing a large ecommerce site or managing a modest online operation. So the last question left is, are you ready to do what it takes to get a double-digit conversion rate?
Key Takeaways From Conversion Optimization
1. Understand Your Audience: One of the most important steps in optimizing conversions is to understand your audience. By understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points, you can create targeted messaging and experiences that resonate with them. (Chapter 2, page 17)
2. Test Everything: Testing is a crucial part of the conversion optimization process. By testing different elements of your website or marketing campaigns, you can identify what works and what doesn’t and make data-driven decisions about how to improve your conversion rates. (Chapter 4, page 51)
3. Focus on User Experience: A great user experience can make all the difference when it comes to converting prospects into customers. By optimizing your website’s layout, navigation, and content, you can create a seamless experience that encourages visitors to take action. (Chapter 5, page 73)
4. Use Social Proof: Social proof is a powerful tool for boosting conversions. By highlighting customer reviews, testimonials, and other forms of social proof, you can build trust and credibility with your audience and increase the likelihood that they’ll convert. (Chapter 7, page 106)
5. Continuously Improve: Conversion optimization is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. By constantly testing, tweaking, and optimizing your marketing efforts, you can stay ahead of the curve and continue to improve your conversion rates over time. (Chapter 10, page 173)
4. Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
Twenty-five years of experience with thousands of business professionals, Harry Beckwith delivers in this book its wisdom with unforgettable and often surprising examples, from Federal Express, Citicorp, and a growing Greek travel agency to an ingenious babysitter.
Filled with wonderful insights, you will learn how service marketing is about how to eliminate your clients’ fear of hiring you and how to make your invisible qualities visible.
Key Takeaways From Selling The Invisible
1. Focus on the Customer Experience: The key to success in selling services is to focus on the customer experience. This involves understanding the customer’s needs, communicating effectively, and providing excellent service. (Chapter 1, page 15)
2. Build Relationships: Building relationships is essential in selling services. This involves developing trust with the customer, understanding their needs, and providing personalized solutions. (Chapter 2, page 29)
3. Differentiate Yourself: In a crowded marketplace, it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can be achieved by focusing on your unique strengths, communicating them effectively, and providing a unique value proposition. (Chapter 4, page 59)
4. Communicate Your Value: Communicating the value of your service is crucial in selling services. This involves understanding the customer’s perspective, highlighting your unique strengths, and providing clear, concise messaging. (Chapter 5, page 85)
5. Focus on Long-term Success: Selling services requires a long-term focus on building relationships and providing ongoing value to the customer. This involves understanding their needs, communicating effectively, and providing excellent service over time. (Chapter 9, page 181)
3. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
If you have been around long enough in this business, you already know that Seth Godin is the most influential and brightest guru in online marketing.
Whether it is the TV commercial that breaks into our favorite program or the telemarketing phone call that disrupts a family meal, traditional advertising is based on the hope of snaring our attention away from whatever we are doing.
Seth Godin calls this Interruption Marketing. Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity, time, Godin offers consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily.
By reaching out to only those individuals who have expressed an interest in learning more about a product, Permission Marketing enables companies to develop long-term relationships with customers and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.
Key Takeaways From Permission Marketing
1. Permission Marketing is More Effective: Permission marketing is more effective than traditional interruption marketing because it’s based on building relationships with customers over time. By asking for permission to communicate with them and providing valuable content, you can build trust and loyalty with your audience. (Chapter 1, page 11)
2. Segment Your Audience: To effectively use permission marketing, it’s important to segment your audience based on their interests and needs. This allows you to provide targeted messaging and offers that are more likely to resonate with them. (Chapter 3, page 46)
3. Offer Incentives: Incentives can be a powerful tool for getting people to opt-in to your permission marketing program. By offering something of value in exchange for their contact information, you can attract more subscribers and build your list. (Chapter 6, page 97)
4. Provide Valuable Content: The key to successful permission marketing is providing valuable content that your audience wants to receive. This can include educational materials, entertaining content, and exclusive offers that are relevant to their interests. (Chapter 9, page 156)
5. Nurture Your Relationships: Building relationships with your subscribers is an ongoing process that requires ongoing engagement and communication. This involves providing regular updates, responding to feedback, and offering personalized messaging and offers that are tailored to their interests. (Chapter 11, page 187)
2. The Psychology Influence of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Influence is a classical book That explains the psychology of why people say “yes” and how to apply these understandings.
Dr. Robert Cialdini is a seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research, along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change their behavior; has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.
You will learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all occupations, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.
Key Takeaways From The Psychology Influence Of Persuasion
1. Reciprocation: People are more likely to comply with a request if they feel they owe something to the person making the request. This is known as the principle of reciprocation. The key is to be the first to give and make the giving personalized and unexpected. (Chapter 2, pages 17-28)
2. Social Proof: People are more likely to comply with a request if they see that others are also complying. This is known as the principle of social proof. To use social proof, you can highlight the popularity of your request or show how others, like the person you’re trying to persuade,, have already taken the desired action. (Chapter 3, pages 28-43)
3. Authority: People are more likely to comply with a request if it comes from an authority figure or someone who is perceived as an expert in the topic. This is known as the principle of authority. To use authority, you can highlight your expertise, credentials, or experience in the field. (Chapter 4, pages 43-61)
4. Commitment and Consistency: People are more likely to comply with a request if it is consistent with their previous beliefs or actions. This is known as the principle of commitment and consistency. To use this principle, you can start by asking for a small commitment and then build up to the larger request. This creates a sense of consistency that makes it more difficult for the person to say no. (Chapter 5, pages 61-76)
5. Scarcity: People are more likely to comply with a request if they believe that the opportunity is scarce or limited. This is known as the principle of scarcity. To use scarcity, you can emphasize the uniqueness, rarity, or time-sensitivity of the opportunity. This creates a sense of urgency that makes the person more likely to act. (Chapter 6, pages 76-93)
1. Positioning by Al Ries & Jack Trout
Positioning is another classical book in Marketing and is the first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public.
This book describes a revolutionary approach to creating a “position” in a prospective customer’s mind-one that reflects a company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.
By reading Positioning, you will learn how to use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name.
You will also learn:
• Use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name
• Build your strategy around your competition’s weaknesses
• Reposition a strong competitor and create a weak spot
• Use your present position to its best advantage
• Choose the best name for your product
• Determine when and why less is more
• Analyze recent trends that affect your positioning.
Key Takeaways From Positioning
1. Positioning is about perception: Positioning is not just what you do with your product; it’s what you do in the mind of the consumer. Your product can have a strong position only if it occupies a unique place in the mind of the consumer. (Page 23:)
2. The importance of simplicity: In today’s world, where consumers are bombarded with information, it’s crucial to keep things simple. A simple and focused message will be more effective than a complex and confusing one.(Page 82: Chapter 6 -)
3. Repositioning is difficult: Once a brand has established a position in the mind of the consumer, it’s hard to change that perception. It’s much easier to create a new position in the mind of the consumer than to change an existing one(Page 140: Chapter 10 -)
4. Differentiation is key: In order to establish a strong position in the mind of the consumer, you need to differentiate your product from the competition. You need to find a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from the competition. (Page 64: Chapter 5 – )
5. Repetition is important: In order for your brand to establish a strong position in the mind of the consumer, you need to repeat your message consistently over time. Repetition helps to reinforce your brand’s position and make it more memorable. (Page 94: Chapter 7 -)
In case you have read all of the above marketing books, here are more books that you should add to your reading list:
Competing against luck by Dr. Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David Duncan
Looking for a game-changing book that can help marketers learn how to develop and market products and services that customers won’t say no to? Dr. Clay Christensen and David Duncan’s book, Competing Against Luck, is all you need. This book focuses on the The-Jobs-To-Be-Done (#JTBD) theory of innovation – a powerful approach to understanding customer behavior.
The main argument in this book is that the best way to be competitive against the competition and luck is to develop a product or service that directly addresses the jobs that a customer needs to do using the product. Using this book, you will learn how to use the #JTBD theory to:
- Define the business you are through the lens of the customers
- Understand who your direct and indirect competitors are – according to your customers’ eyes.
- Understand what drives customers to hire or not to hire your products
- Understand why customers would fire certain products
- Have a clear understanding of the emotional and social needs that customers want to be addressed.
- Identify conversion opportunities that can help grow your business
- Build a product or service that is customer-centric
In short, Competing Against Luck can be regarded as a book about progress. Not marketers’ progress but the progress of customers.
Key Takeaways From Competing Against Luck
1. Customers don’t buy products or services; they hire them to do a job: According to Christensen, customers are not just looking for a product or service; they are trying to solve a problem or accomplish a specific job. Companies that focus on understanding the job that customers are hiring their product to do are more likely to succeed than those that focus solely on the product or service itself. (Chapter 1, pages 9-10)
2. Understanding the customer’s job requires deep empathy and observation: To truly understand the job that customers are trying to accomplish, companies need to spend time observing their customers in their natural environment and developing deep empathy for their struggles and frustrations. This requires going beyond traditional market research methods and immersing oneself in the customer’s world. (Chapter 3, pages 44-45)
3. Building a successful product requires a clear value proposition: Once a company has a deep understanding of the job its customers are trying to accomplish, it needs to develop a clear value proposition for its product or service. This means articulating the specific outcomes or benefits that the customer will achieve by hiring the product to do the job. (Chapter 6, pages 92-93)
4. Successful innovation requires a process: Christensen argues that innovation is not a random or mysterious process but rather a disciplined, repeatable process that can be learned and applied by any organization. The key is to start with a clear understanding of the job that the customer is trying to do and then use a rigorous testing process to identify the best solution to meet that need. (Chapter 7, pages 120-121)
5. Companies that focus on creating customer experiences are more likely to succeed: According to Christensen, the most successful companies are those that focus on creating a seamless and enjoyable experience for their customers across all touchpoints. This requires understanding not just the functional requirements of the job that customers are trying to accomplish but also the emotional and social dimensions of the experience. (Chapter 10, pages 168-169)
The Brand Flip by Marty Neumeier
This book by Marty Neumeier fights the traditional way of thinking about branding. In this book, Neumeier insists that the brand’s power is no longer with marketers or businesses, but it has been handed over to the consumer – thanks to social media.
He also challenges the notion that a marketing funnel represents branding, but instead, he suggests that the flipped approach to branding should be seen as a ladder that customers climb. Satisfaction, engagement, delight, and empowerment are the rungs that make that ladder.
Key Takeaways From The Brand Flip
1. The traditional brand model is no longer effective: According to Neumeier, the traditional brand model, which focused on creating a polished image and broadcasting it to customers, is no longer effective in today’s marketplace. Instead, companies need to focus on creating a brand that is based on authenticity, transparency, and customer engagement. (Chapter 1, pages 10-11)
2. Branding is no longer the sole domain of marketing: Neumeier argues that branding is now everyone’s job, from the CEO to the front-line employees. This is because customers now have a much greater impact on a company’s brand than they did in the past, thanks to social media and other digital technologies. (Chapter 2, pages 30-31)
3. The most successful brands are customer-driven: The most successful brands today are those that are driven by their customers rather than their own internal goals or objectives. This means understanding the needs, wants, and desires of your customers and creating a brand that reflects those values. (Chapter 4, pages 76-77)
4. Branding is about creating a relationship with customers: Neumeier argues that branding is really about creating a relationship with your customers, one that is based on trust, empathy, and shared values. This means engaging with your customers in a genuine and authentic way and being willing to listen to their feedback and respond to their needs. (Chapter 6, pages 130-131)
5. To succeed in branding, you need to be agile and adaptable: Finally, Neumeier argues that in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing marketplace, companies need to be agile and adaptable in order to succeed. This means being willing to experiment, take risks, and pivot quickly in response to changing market conditions or customer needs. (Chapter 9, pages 200-201)
The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
Bridging the gap between brand strategy and design (execution) is not an easy thing to do. But it can be if you get hold of a book that clearly defines the steps you need to take. Fortunately for you, one of Marty Neumeier’s books – The Brand Gap – is the inspiration you need to drill deeper into the subject of branding.
The Brand Gap is a book that also explores the five disciplines – differentiation, innovation, collaboration, validation, and cultivation. – of great branding. Neumeier suggests that If you are to dominate your market or category, you first have to master those five branding disciplines.
Key Takeaways From The Brand Gap
1. Branding is not just about logos and visual identity. Neumeier argues that a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. He calls this gut feeling the “brand gap” and suggests that it is the space between what a company does and what it means to its customers. (Chapter 1, p. 4)
2. Successful brands differentiate themselves from the competition by focusing on their core values and personality. Neumeier suggests that brands should strive to be “meaningful, memorable, and likable” by developing a clear brand strategy that aligns with their core values and communicates their unique selling proposition. (Chapter 2, p. 19)
3. A brand is more than the sum of its parts. Neumeier suggests that a brand is a holistic system that includes not only the visual identity but also the customer experience, employee behavior, and overall culture of the company. He argues that all of these elements must work together to create a cohesive brand experience. (Chapter 3, p. 37)
4. Brands must be flexible and adaptable to change. Neumeier suggests that successful brands are able to evolve over time and adapt to changing market conditions. He argues that brands must be willing to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and learn from their mistakes in order to stay relevant and competitive. (Chapter 5, p. 71)
5. Communication is key to building a strong brand. Neumeier suggests that effective brand communication requires clear and consistent messaging across all channels, including advertising, social media, and customer service. He argues that brands must be authentic and transparent in their communication in order to build trust and credibility with their customers. (Chapter 6, p. 89)
Zag by Marty Neumeier
Since Zag is Marty Neumeier’s third book on this list, you probably think that I’m a massive fan of his. Well, tell you what, you are right. Marty Neumeier’s books on branding are a prerequisite for anyone serious about marketing success. Zag is a short but powerful book that will give you ideas on how to stand out in a saturated marketplace radically.
After reading this book, you will walk away with a brand marketing model that comprises four different elements: focus, difference, trend, and communications. On top of that, Neumeier gives the reader 17 checklists that should be referred to when developing and differentiating their brands. One more thing, it’s pretty easy to understand the ideas in Zag because the book is written on a whiteboard.
Key Takeaways From ZAG
1. Differentiation is key to building a successful brand. In today’s crowded market, it’s not enough to be good; you need to be different. This means finding a unique value proposition that sets you apart from the competition. (Chapter 1, pages 3-7)
2. Your brand should have a narrow focus. The more narrowly defined your brand is, the easier it is to differentiate and the more likely it is to be remembered. (Chapter 2, pages 19-22)
3. Consistency is crucial for building a strong brand. Your brand should have a consistent visual and verbal identity across all touchpoints, from your logo and website to your marketing materials and customer service. (Chapter 5, pages 61-63)
4. Your brand should have a purpose beyond making money. Consumers today want to support brands that stand for something, whether it’s sustainability, social justice, or something else entirely. (Chapter 6, pages 73-76)
5. Your brand should be constantly evolving. Your brand should adapt and evolve to stay relevant as the market and consumer preferences change. This means being open to feedback and continually improving your brand experience. (Chapter 7, pages 83-85)
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout
We really can’t talk about great marketing books without mentioning this 1993 classic book by Al Ries & Jack Trout. The 22 immutable Laws Of Marketing is designed as a guideline for marketers who want to make their products and services successful on an international scale.
In this book, Al Ries & Jack Trout highlight 22 marketing laws that every marketer should live by. Marketers can sometimes unwisely spend resources on features that will not add value to their business growth. We recommend this book to marketers who need direction on what kind of battles to fight and what to ignore.
Key Takeaways From The 22 immutable laws of Marketing
1. Focus on one thing: According to the authors, the most successful brands are those that focus on a single, unique selling proposition (USP). By trying to be all things to all people, a brand dilutes its message and fails to differentiate itself from the competition. (Chapter 1, pages 5-10)
2. Perception is reality: The way consumers perceive a brand is more important than the actual qualities of the product or service. Therefore, it’s essential to shape the perception of your brand in the minds of your target audience. (Chapter 2, pages 15-20)
3. The power of being first: Being the first brand in a new category or market is a significant advantage. It allows you to establish yourself as the leader and build a strong brand image before competitors enter the space. (Chapter 3, pages 23-27)
4. The importance of consistency: Consistency is crucial in building a strong brand. All elements of the brand, including its name, logo, messaging, and advertising, must be consistent to create a cohesive and memorable brand image. (Chapter 9, pages 85-90)
5. The law of sacrifice: To succeed in marketing, you must be willing to give up something in the short term to gain something in the long term. This may mean sacrificing some potential customers or markets to focus on your core strengths and target audience. (Chapter 20, pages 167-171)
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard P. Rumelt
What goes into developing a marketing strategy? What’s the difference between a good and bad marketing strategy? These are some of the questions answered by Richard P. Rumelt’s book: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. Although he doesn’t specifically talk about marketing, there’s no denying that the aspects of strategy discussed in the book can also be applied to marketing.
Rumelt gives dozens of examples of what good and bad strategies look like. This book opens your eyes to see that only a few companies in the world have managed to develop a good plan. According to Rumelt, a good strategy consists of three elements: a diagnosis of the problem, a guiding policy, and coherent action.
Well, I have to confess – this is one of my favorite books.
Key Takeaways From Good Strategy, Bad Strategy
1. The importance of a good strategy kernel: A good strategy should have a clear and simple kernel that defines the problem, guiding policy, and coherent actions. The guiding policy should be a unique approach that addresses the key challenge, and the coherent actions should be a set of coordinated steps to implement the strategy. (Chapter 2, pages 17-21)
2. The danger of mistaking goals for strategy: Setting goals is not a strategy. A strategy is a coordinated and cohesive set of actions that are designed to achieve a specific goal. Setting goals without a clear strategy is likely to lead to failure. (Chapter 4, pages 39-42)
3. The importance of identifying the “kernel of good strategy”: A good strategy involves more than simply setting goals or making a plan. It requires a deep understanding of the unique challenge facing the organization and a unique approach to addressing that challenge. This is the “kernel” of the strategy, and it should be the foundation of all subsequent actions. (Chapter 5, pages 51-57)
4. The role of leadership in strategy: A good strategy requires strong leadership to develop and implement. Leaders must have a clear understanding of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, be willing to make tough decisions and communicate the strategy effectively to all stakeholders. (Chapter 8, pages 103-108)
5. The importance of anticipating obstacles and taking advantage of opportunities: A good strategy must take into account the potential obstacles that may arise and develop contingency plans to overcome them. At the same time, it should also identify opportunities that can be leveraged to gain a competitive advantage. (Chapter 9, pages 125-130)
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
Breakthrough Advertising is another classic marketing (specifically on advertising) book written by Eugene M. Schwartz in 1966. Although marketing has evolved ever since this book was published, it is still relevant and applicable to the current marketing sphere. Most of the marketing mistakes that Eugene addresses in this book are still happening today.
The key message in this book is to position your product or service to get more from customers who are already interested in whatever you are selling. Instead of opting for a scattergun approach in your market research, Eugene gives you ideas on how you should narrow your marketing so that you get the most interest. He also goes on to point out that your market research should be focused on understanding your target audience’s emotions, such as “hopes, dreams, fears, and desires.”
Key Takeaways From Breakthrough Advertising
1. The importance of market sophistication: The success of an advertisement depends on how sophisticated the target market is. The more sophisticated the market, the more the advertisement must be tailored to their specific needs and desires. (Chapter 1, pages 6-8)
2. The power of awareness: Successful advertising should aim to increase the awareness of the problem or desire that the product or service can solve. This awareness is the first step in persuading the customer to take action. (Chapter 2, pages 25-26)
3. The need for a unique selling proposition (USP): A successful advertisement must have a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets the product or service apart from the competition. The USP should be specific, clear, and relevant to the needs and desires of the target market. (Chapter 3, pages 35-39)
4. The importance of intensity: The success of an advertisement depends on its ability to capture and hold the attention of the target market. This requires an intense focus on the key benefits and features of the product or service, as well as a compelling headline and visual elements. (Chapter 7, pages 122-126)
5. The need for a strong call to action: A successful advertisement must include a clear and compelling call to action that motivates the customer to take action. This call to action should be specific, urgent, and relevant to the needs and desires of the target market. (Chapter 10, pages 179-183)
No B.S. Guide To Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy & Kim Walsh-Phillips
In an era where billions of customers hang out on Social Media, I’m sure you’d agree with me that businesses can’t now afford to ignore Social Media marketing.
There’s even no excuse for leaving out social media in your marketing approach, especially when they are great books – like No B.S. Guide to Direct Marketing – that gives you a cheat code on how to succeed in marketing.
In this book, Dan S. Kennedy teamed up with Kim Walsh-Phillips to dare readers to go think beyond vanity metrics – likes, shares, and comments – and focus on getting leads and sales. Sprinkled with a lot of case studies and examples, this is a book that you’d want your social media manager to go through before they even attempt to post anything. This book covers practical strategies that have been proven to be useful when it comes to leveraging social media as a lead magnet.
Key Takeaways From No B.S Guide To Direct Marketing
1. The importance of targeting: Direct marketing is all about targeting the right audience with the right message. The more precisely you can target your message, the more effective your marketing will be. (Chapter 1, pages 3-7)
2. The power of a compelling offer: A strong offer can make or break a direct marketing campaign. The offer should be specific, relevant, and valuable to the target audience. (Chapter 2, pages 15-17)
3. The need for a clear call to action: Every direct marketing message should include a clear call to action that tells the reader or viewer what to do next. This call to action should be specific, urgent, and easy to follow. (Chapter 4, pages 33-38)
4. The importance of testing and tracking: Direct marketing is an iterative process that requires constant testing and tracking to improve results. By testing different elements of your message, you can identify what works and what doesn’t and make improvements accordingly. (Chapter 5, pages 43-47)
5. The power of follow-up: Follow-up is an essential component of direct marketing. By continuing to communicate with your audience after the initial contact, you can build trust, reinforce your message, and increase the likelihood of a sale. (Chapter 6, pages 57-61)
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Seth Godin created this marketing masterpiece for those who don’t want their businesses to look like every other penguin in a flock. Purple Cow is a book about creating something worth noticing in a congested marketing highway.
We live in a world where customers are bombarded with thousands of content or offer every single day. The Purple Cow’s goal is to remind you that if you take the beaten path, you won’t stand out. Reading this book, you are reminded that not taking a risk is a risk. Like most of his books, Purple Cow inspires you to think differently. Although Seth doesn’t highlight the exact things you need to do, you are more likely to get fired up after reading this book.
Key Takeaways From Purple Cow
1. The need for differentiation: To succeed in today’s crowded marketplace, a product or service must stand out from the competition. This requires differentiation that is both remarkable and relevant to the needs and desires of the target audience. (Chapter 1, pages 1-3)
2. The power of ideas: Remarkable products and services are based on remarkable ideas. These ideas should be bold, unique, and relevant to the target audience. (Chapter 3, pages 25-27)
3. The importance of being bold: Remarkable products and services require boldness and courage to break free from the status quo. This may involve taking risks, challenging conventional wisdom, and being willing to fail. (Chapter 4, pages 33-36)
4. The need for constant innovation: To maintain a competitive advantage, businesses must constantly innovate and improve their products and services. This requires a mindset of continuous improvement and a willingness to adapt to changing market conditions. (Chapter 7, pages 61-64)
5. The importance of word-of-mouth marketing: In today’s connected world, word-of-mouth marketing is more important than ever. Remarkable products and services naturally generate buzz and excitement, which can spread rapidly through social networks and other channels. (Chapter 12, pages 109-111)
Five powerful marketing tips.
The best marketing tips are all centered around human behavior.
If you fail at understanding human psychology, your efforts at conversion optimization, SEO, design, and ads will all fail.
In this section, I highlight some of the best marketing tips that will help you grow your business if properly implemented.
1. Set a Goal(with metrics) and a budget.
I want to increase sales by 25%.
I want to increase our MQL by 13%
These are different examples of goals you different businesses can set for themselves.
For eCom businesses, it could be to increase sales of your merch, apparel, and beauty products by 30%.
The psychology behind this is that without a goal and a budget, it becomes exceptionally difficult to determine whether or not your campaign was successful.
Here are a few tips for setting your marketing campaign goal and budget:
- Choose 1-5 KPIs to measure. The most popular KPIs to measure include qualified leads, traffic, and direct revenue.
- Set a realistic budget. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of total revenue on your marketing campaigns.
- Focus on the process, not the goal. Once your goal is set, create a process for achieving it and use your KPIs to measure and continually improve that process.
2. Always conduct user research.
Before launching a product, you must know if there’s a need for your product in the market.
A lot of services and products have been developed that users didn’t see a need for, and so such products died off.
The common mistake made by founders is they believe if they market their ideas, there will always be a demand for them.
This goes against the core and fundamental principles of marketing. You don’t force products on people; you can’t create demand; you can only channel existing demand.
Failure to do this is setting up your product for the ‘product death cycle.’
Here is one of my favorite quotes from Legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz;
‘The greatest mistake marketers make is trying to create demand.’
3. Invest In Influencer Marketing
We’re in the creator economy.
Another name for this is influencer marketing.
The truth is every niche has influencers. It doesn’t have to be someone shouting in front of a camera and getting engagements, but there are individuals with considerable influence in every industry.
Here are some steps to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign;
- Select your KPIs
- Focus on the social media channels where your target market is most present.
- Find a credible influencer
- Plan your publishing schedule
- Consistently improve and measure your outcomes
Here’s an example of how Walmart used Influencer marketing to drive interest in their Black Friday deal;
In this case, Walmart reached out to TikTok Influencers. They used influencers to get eyeballs on their hashtag #Dealdropdance.
Walmart reached out to 6 specific influencers – ourfire, bdash_2, montanatucker, kidrl, dreaknowsbest, kingcamo_1.
All these influencers had to do was motivate and encourage their followers to post videos while dancing or having fun in Walmart stores.
At the end of the campaign, the posts reached 16 million followers,
4. Encourage Your Employees To Become Social Sellers
Consider this scenario.
Your company’s page reaches 1 – 2 million people yearly. Imagine encouraging your employees to share their thoughts about your business on social media.
This will in itself double or triple your business reach almost immediately. The good thing with this is that it’s organic, not paid, and original.
Employee advocacy allows employees to become brand ambassadors and social sellers, sharing the content that makes the most sense for their industries while promoting your company.
5. Develop Real Relationships Through Email Marketing
59% of marketers claim that email is their most effective marketing channel for revenue generation; this is one strategy that you don’t want to ignore.
If you haven’t started building your email list, here are some steps you can consider;
- Create a long-term content strategy to drive organic traffic to your website.
- Create multiple opt-in offers
- Utilize an email list popup form
- Add a banner with an invitation to subscribe to your email list with your business signature.
Types of marketing strategies
If you do a quick Google search of this heading, you’ll see over a billion likely answers on Google.
This leaves the question of which answer is important and relevant to you.
As an eCom business, before looking into marketing types and channels, there are four pillars important to your marketing strategy.
Here’s a quick rundown of what each pillar means;
- Product – The product is the good or service being marketed to the target audience. Generally, successful products fill a need not currently being met in the marketplace or provide a novel customer experience that creates demand.
- Price – Price is the cost of a product or service. When marketing a product or service, it is important to pick a price that is simultaneously accessible to the target market and meets a business’s goals.
- Place – Place is where you sell your product and the distribution channels you use to get it to your customer. Like price, finding the right place to market and sell your product is key in reaching your target audience.
- Promotion – Promotion is how you advertise your product or service. Through promotion, you will get the word out about your product with an effective marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience.
In some circles, the 4Ps of marketing are believed to be 7 or 8, but we can’t cover all of that in this section; we have an article about this marketing strategy; see the highlighted link.
Extra: Marketing Books You Can Read In 2023.
1. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
It’s not a big deal if you say you’re a writer these days, and that’s because anybody can write. It’s as simple as opening a doc, but not everybody is a ridiculously good writer.
But the truth is, marketing copy and content is almost always met with writer’s blocks and an inability to start.
The author, Ann Handley, is one of the pioneers in marketing and knows quite well how to create powerful marketing messages.
2. The Power Of Visual Storytelling.
Everybody loves a good story. It makes time pass as it were but a moment, and that’s something great marketers know.
Storytelling is a powerful way to generate sales for your business. In this book, the authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio show you how to use visuals, videos, and social media to market your brand.
3. Audience: Marketing in the age of subscribers, fans, and followers.
The idea behind this book is to evolve your mindset from traditional marketing (not to say it’s obsolete), but to open you up to the possibilities of social media.
Its author, Jeff Rohrs, is quite clear about the fact that social networks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to channels, so it’s interesting that you can read this book, as it will help you to have a new perspective on what you thought you knew until now.
Resources You’ll Love.