Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan
The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
Unmarketing by Scott Stratten
They Ask, You Answer (2nd edition) by Marcus Sheridan
Conversational Marketing by David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
Traction by Gino Wickman
Content Warfare by Ryan Hanley
Think with Type by Ellen Lupton
Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge
Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead by Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
The New Rules of Marketing and PR (7th Edition) by David Meerman Scott
Editor's Note: This article was originally written and published by Carolyn Edgecomb in June 2017. It has since been updated to include new titles based on the latest best practices and marketing landscape.
The marketing industry is constantly evolving, which can make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, with the right resources in place, you can effectively set yourself and your company up for success now and in the future.
But, which resources are best for you and in which medium?
As an avid reader, I find books to be the best way to absorb valuable information.
From topics content marketing and social media to general business tips and tricks, over the past six years, I’ve read dozens and dozens of books to help advance my career as a marketer. Getting lost in a good book is often an optimal method to improve your own personal knowledge base.
I’ve used my passion for reading and pulled together some of the best industry books (and some of my own personal top picks) you can read to amplify your marketing career this year.
How do some brands attract word-of-mouth buzz and radical devotion around products as everyday as car insurance, surfboards, and underwear? They embody the most powerful marketing force in the world: die-hard fans.
In this essential book, leading business growth strategist, David Meerman Scott, and fandom expert, Reiko Scott, interview young entrepreneurs, veteran business owners, startup founders, nonprofits, and companies big and small to pinpoint which practices separate organizations that flourish from those stuck in stagnation.
Whether you realize it or not, video has become a critical component of the modern sales processes. While being on video doesn’t come easy to many people, consumers are demanding for more visual content than ever before.
Hot off the press in 2020, Sheridan shares step-by-step tips to build a culture of video. In it, you’ll learn how you can incorporate video in a natural way to improve your sales numbers, marketing strategy, and overall customer experience.
We're living in a culture of listeners and teachers, which is where an effective content marketing strategy comes into play.
In order for you to be effective, you can't rely on keyword stuffing and link building. You need to produce quality content.
In his book, Sheridan shows you the structure for a quality content strategy that will boost your web presence while generating trust amongst your audience by answering their questions.
The second edition, released in late 2019, was greatly expanded to include massive sections on video marketing, making the perfect inbound marketing website, and so on. Also, the new audiobook version (released on Christmas Eve 2019) is narrated by Marcus himself!
Finally a guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive. Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.
If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry out marketing messages. We are all writers.
In this book, Godin outlines a set of five principles that you must follow, as a Permission Marketer, to be effective:
As a Permission Marketer, you are a farmer and constantly need to work at harvesting your crop/customers. An Interruption Marketer is just a hunter and tries to kill something once with a single bullet.
Permission is a process, not a single moment.
Never breach the trust of your customer once they grant you permission to speak with them by selling their data to someone else.
Frequency is always better than reach.
Give a prospect a reason to pay attention –- you have to offer an explicit reward, information, education, entertainment, or even cold hard cash to get the customer to opt-in to the message.
The way companies operate has shifted, especially in more recent years. This means the way people within organizations lead and prefer to be led has evolved as well.
The Second City overviews how organizations can improve speed, social communication, and decentralization based on eight principles of improvisation in the modern age.
Marketers can get hit with things they didn’t anticipate at any minute — just look at the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketers reading this book can adopt this method to help improve creativity and collaboration by staying open-minded and learning to work with what’s in front of them.
While serving clients should be simple, that's not always the case.
In his book, Solomon describes what client service teams of all industries to build deeper relationships with clients and shares tips to help clients understand what they can expect and demand from their marketing agency.
Growth doesn’t happen overnight. But, how does it happen?
Ellis and Brown showcase how powerhouses, such as Airbnb and Pinterest, experienced explosive growth and rose to the top. In this book, you’ll dive into the concept of “Growth Hacking” to increase your customer base and market share.
Why should consumers choose your product over others?
It’s all about effective positioning.
If you’re having trouble positioning your product or service, it could be due to the lack of effective communication. In their book, Ries and Trout walk you through the importance of effective communication when it comes to positioning your brand and how you can use it to frame yourself in your persona’s head.
“Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems. Their tactics rely on empathy, connection, and emotional labor instead of attention-stealing ads and spammy email funnels.”
In this book, Godin offers ways for marketers to connect with their audiences in a more meaningful way. Learn how to build more trust, better position your company, new branding techniques, and more in his book.
Weinberg takes classic sales methods, such as cold calling, and adds a modern spin that makes them more effective and less abrasive. His methodology for identifying targets aligns perfectly with the inbound marketing approach to creating your buyer persona.
Learn how you can simplify your sales process just by being more selective, in this book.
Sometimes even the biggest companies fall -- especially if they’re not disrupting their industry and embracing new technology.
Christensen believes there are ways for big companies to stay agile and compete with the up-and-comers in disruptive innovations. In fact, he argues management is the primary contributor to why many companies fail and it has nothing to do with their engineering or tech teams.
To succeed in content marketing, you need to create quality content guided by a comprehensive strategy that can serve multiple channels.
In this book, the duo develops a content marketing framework that works for businesses of all sizes in all industries -- and you can rest assured these Content Rules will, well, make your content rule.
As the Head of Community at Airbnb, Douglas shows you how to extract the same principles of major brands, religions, and actual cults to get people excited about your brand and turn them into lifelong customers.
Reflecting on these, Atkin outlines a simple 10-step formula for elevating a brand to cult status:
Are you looking to improve the sharing of your brand?
In his book, Bryan Kramer analyzes how and why people share experiences and information, as well as what makes people share things. The goal of Shareology is to figure out how to make your brand more human and shareable.
What are you passionate about? Did you know you could use your passion to crush personal branding?
The biggest point Vaynerchuk wants you to take away from this book is the importance of building your personal brand and leveraging it in your business endeavors. -- No one knows personal branding better than Gary Vee!
An important step in developing your inbound strategy is knowing who your buyers are.
Brainfluence utilizes psychology, neuroscience, and neuromarketing to better understand how consumers make decisions. And, through those practices, Dooley outlined how they could be applied to your marketing.
People today are inundated with nonstop content, broken promises, endless product extensions―and pressure from articles titled, “The 7 Things That Successful People Do Every Day.”
They don’t know where to look or who to trust. So, how do you win their time, and their confidence?
From renowned advertising creative director, Ron Tite, comes a powerful approach to cutting through the noise―three words: Think. Do. Say. Ditch the jargon, and start making good things happen for you and your organization
Conversational Marketing is the definitive guide to generating better leads and closing more sales. Traditional sales and marketing methods have failed to keep pace with the way modern, internet-savvy consumers purchase goods and services.
Modern messaging apps, which allow for real-time conversations and instant feedback, have transformed the way we interact in our personal and professional lives, yet most businesses still rely on 20th century technology to communicate with 21st century customers.
Online forms, email inquiries, and follow-up sales calls don’t provide the immediacy that modern consumers expect. Conversational marketing and sales are part of a new methodology centered around real-time, one-on-one conversations with customers via chatbots and messaging.
The most innovative companies around the world have achieved remarkable marketing results by fundamentally changing their approach. By creating value for customers through, the use of owned media and the savvy use of content, these businesses have dramatically increased customer loyalty and revenue. Some of them have even taken it to the next step and developed a marketing function that actually pays for itself.
Killing Marketing explores how these companies are ending the marketing as we know it―in favor of this new, exciting model.
Is your company winning the content battle in your industry?
With numerous outlets and forms of content available, ensure you’re not spamming your audience, but rather telling a story and engaging with them.
In this book, Hanley shows marketers why the scammy and spammy tactics that worked in the past are no longer effective and how today's buyers value the authenticity, transparency, and honesty that comes with content marketing.
Marketing is constantly evolving, which means marketers must continuously push to keep up with the pace. This book provides tips for marketers to sort through the digital clutter and leverage technology to create success for their company.
Since being originally published in 2007, this book has been updated several times over the years to help marketers stay ahead of the curve. The latest addition includes how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be applied to marketing strategies in the modern age.
Use this to keep up with the latest techniques and trends with David Meerman Scott on topics such as live video, social media, podcasts, and so much more.
The Power of Reading
No matter what type of marketer you are, reading should be a critical component of your professional development plan. By incorporating some of our favorites from the above list or turning to articles, you provide yourself and your company with new ways of thinking to develop fresh ideas and skillsets to fuel success in 2021 and years to come.
So, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to get lost in a great book.