Marketing and the customers it serves have drastically changed over the past 10 years. A decade ago, people looking to purchase a product or service generally visited a couple of websites, talked to a few friends, and then made a decision. But today, prospects can tap into extensive online data, read customer reviews, and reach out for other opinions and recommendations through social media.
A decade is a relatively short period of time — yet the game has changed dramatically. And it’s a darn good bet that it will continue to change dramatically in the coming years.
Marketers are smart people; they want to keep up, so they’re constantly reading, learning, and self-educating. But have you searched for marketing books online lately? Amazon alone yields 373,150 results when you type in the phrase “marketing books.”
So, where should you start? Well, how about right here? We’ve removed the “overwhelmed by a bazillion books” factor by narrowing down a very long list to a handful of real gems. Check out these seven must-read books to up your game and squeeze more success out of that next campaign.
1. Digital Influencer: A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online
What do Neil Patel, Grant Cardone, and John Rampton all have in common? They’re some of the top marketing influencers in the industry and they make creating an influential brand look easy. Most marketers, however, know better — getting your brand to this level takes a strategic and labor-intensive process.
The author, John Lincoln, takes readers behind the scenes of becoming a digital influencer to help them understand the exact methods that work. Lincoln draws on his experience of working on more than 400 successful internet marketing campaigns, including many for top Fortune 500 companies, where he generated millions for his clients.
The book takes a deep dive into the mind of an influencer, reveals the nuts and bolts of becoming one of these tastemakers, and describes how to create an effective plan of action. If you want to help your brand develop more influence this year, check out this book.
2. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
Does your brand have unhappy customers? Most do. According to Jay Baer, best-selling author of Hug Your Haters, 80 percent of companies claim they deliver outstanding service, but only eight percent of their customers agree. This creates a large gap between perception and reality. So, what can marketers do about it? Baer has revealed key strategies to close those customer service gaps and deliver “knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark” experiences.
Baer shows the most common approach that companies are using to deal with complaints … and why it’s a huge mistake. The author explains not only how to deal with the haters, but also why marketers can’t afford to ignore them and should, in fact, embrace them.
3. Contagious: Why Things Catch On
As marketers, wouldn’t you love to launch a new campaign and have it go viral, maximizing results and delivering outcomes that only the lucky seem to achieve? New York Times best-selling author Jonah Berger explains that going viral isn’t magic — proven and time-tested strategies make it possible. But you need to understand what they are.
Berger shows in great detail what makes a campaign popular and reveals the six principles that drive marketing to become contagious, whether the source is customer products, workplace rumors, or YouTube videos.
The author details intriguing case studies that show, for example, how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through an otherwise average cheesesteak, and how anti-drug commercials may have actually increased drug use. Plus, he dissects the strategies behind getting more than 200 million consumers to view and share a video about a product that otherwise seems boring: a blender.
This book provides actionable and specific strategies you can start using now to design messages and content that people will share.
4. The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t
Content marketing pro Ann Handley has said, “Good content isn’t about good storytelling. It’s about telling a true story well.” The best-selling author of Talk Like TED recently published The Storyteller’s Secret, which highlights why people with ordinary backgrounds end up experiencing amazing success. For example, how did an immigrant who didn’t have a college education transition from a beach T-shirt vendor to television’s most successful producer? Or how did a quiet, timid pastor’s son with a paralyzing fear of public speaking sell out a Yankee Stadium — not once, but twice?
The book explains that both of these people have one thing in common: They told brilliant stories. Storytelling is a key skill for marketers because a well-told story “hits you like a punch in the gut and triggers a light bulb moment.”
The book offers a variety of strategies from visionary leaders who show how storytelling is a critical element in success.
5. Humanize Your Brand: How to Create Content That Connects With Your Customers
Customers today no longer tolerate being “talked at,” but instead want to have a conversation with the brands that serve them. However, to become more engaging and effective, brands must stop acting corporate and start showing their human side. Author Jessica Ann shares cutting-edge insights and guidance for how to infuse more human elements into your marketing. She dives into specific strategies for humanizing a brand, how to write from your “core,” the importance of creating context, and what technology teaches us about humanity.
The author helps marketers “take off their corporate masks” and get real by getting to the heart of what makes their brand feel personal, friendly, and familiar to customers. Reading this book will put you on the right track for developing more engaging and trustworthy relationships with those you serve.
6. The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales
Do you need more traffic and leads? If so, marketing expert Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, recommends The Conversion Code. In fact, the co-founder of Unbounce, Oli Gardner, says, “We’ve helped 11,000+ businesses generate more than 31 million leads and consider The Conversion Code a must read.”
The Conversation Code provides a detailed blueprint for increasing sales during the digital age. A manual to help you generate more conversions, the book includes strategies that drive massive traffic and leads and let you prioritize your content and social media efforts, and much more. Each method is practical, down to earth, and highly effective. The Conversion Code is one of the best books available on getting more results from your internet marketing.
7. Content Chemistry
There’s no shortage of books about content marketing, but what makes Content Chemistry valuable is that it cuts to the chase, giving you the exact strategies required to get the job done well.
Written by Andy Crestodina, co-founder of an award-winning web design company, the book is divided into two sections: lecture and lab. The lecture section covers the theory of web marketing, and the lab section covers web marketing in practice.
The book is called the “first and only comprehensive guide to content marketing” and delves into the social, analytical, and creative aspects of modern marketing that businesses need in order to succeed. The best part is that time-starved marketers can jump around, reading the sections that are most interesting to them now, and then use Content Chemistry as a reference tool in the future.
Reading Your Way to Success
Marketing maven Seth Godin has said, “Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.” Marketers work hard to accomplish this, but with everything changing so quickly, they need tools and resources that help them keep up.
Reading stacks of books may not be practical, but when you select even just a few to read each year, you’ll be armed with new tools and strategies that help you reach customers and drive more powerful results for your brand.