It seems like a new must-read marketing book comes out every day. As conscientious marketers, we have grand plans to read each and every one, but that would probably require us to quit our jobs in order to make it happen. So how do you separate the must-miss from the must-read books?
Well, your first—and only—step is to read this blog post. Whether you need a good resource on big data or tips for content marketing or just want productivity hacks, you’ll find what you need here. Spoiler alert: there are a couple of non-marketing books to give you a break from the business world and help get your creative juices flowing.
Whether you need a good resource on big data, tips for content marketing or just want general productivity hacks, you’ll find everything you need and more in the list below.
1. The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits
By: Russell Glass and Sean Callahan
We talk about data … a lot. And we know that data can help us be more precise in our targeting, expand our reach, and build better businesses, but sometimes it can be difficult to bridge the gap between tons of data and effective optimizations. That’s where this book comes in. Russell and Sean use real-life examples to make data-driven marketing simpler and more accessible. And as a marketing journalist and the CEO of a multi-million-dollar B2B marketing platform, these guys know what they’re talking about.
2. Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences And Create Radically Successful Businesses
By: Joe Pulizzi
Content Inc. takes a whole new approach to content marketing. Essentially, it’s all about developing valuable content, building an audience, and then creating a product for that audience. Even writing that sentence made my brain feel all kinds of confused. The best part is that Joe actually tells you how to create great content and drive more audience interaction using his method. And if you’re new to the content marketing game, Joe Pulizzi is a must-read. He is the founder of Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world.
3. Meaningful: The Story of Ideas that Fly
By: Bernadette Jiwa
When an Amazon book listing has reviews from Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki that say things like “The most important book for your boss to read this year,” it’s probably worth reading. This book takes a very interesting look at innovation. Bernadette interviewed hundreds of innovators, creatives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders and found that successful ideas have less to do with big budgets and marketing and more to do with the story of someone trying to solve a problem. Warning: read only if you want to change the world.
4. Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?
By: Seth Godin
No marketing book list is complete without something from Seth Godin. If you ever want to accomplish something great, you have to leave your comfort zone at some point, and Seth is here to help you do that. This book dares readers to do something they’re afraid of in order to achieve success. As Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, said, “[It’s] half kick in the ass, half cheerleading encouragement.” And that is something we all need from time to time.
5. The Best Damn Marketing Checklist, Period!
By: Stoney deGeyter
For anyone who has started their own website, you know there are hundreds of details that are easy to miss and that can really hurt your online presence. Which is why you need this guide. Stoney’s book includes 36 checklists and 600+ web marketing action points to help you improve your web marketing strategies and make your website perform optimally for both search engines and visitors. The checklists include everything from purchasing the right domain to site architecture, conversion optimization to social media strategy, and more.
6. The Business of Choice: Marketing to Consumer’s Instincts
By: Matthew Willcox
This is where science and marketing meet. Matthew uses the latest research advances to explain how marketers can leverage human intuitions and cognitive mechanisms to make decisions simpler for humans … I mean, consumers. The Business of Choice is all about making your brand the instinctive, intuitive, and easy choice and teaches you how to guide buyer decisions.
7. The Storytelling Book: Finding the Golden Thread in Your Communications
By: Anthony Tasgal
At their core, marketers are storytellers. But it seems that workdays full of spreadsheets and budgets have rid us of our storytelling abilities. Anthony demonstrates how we can make our business presentations simpler, more engaging and effective, and our business lives more rewarding through storytelling. His step-by-step approach shows how to change the way we communicate in order to be more productive.
8. YouthNation: Building Remarkable Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture
By: Matt Britton
It seems like millennials are taking over the world and we’re constantly trying to figure out how to market to them. Matt, Founder of prolific youth marketing company Mr Youth (now MRY), shows us how millennial culture transcends demographics and drives global business. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay connected, authentic, and relevant in today’s marketplace where youth is king.
9. Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
By: Laszlo Bock
Let’s be serious, if Google’s handing out advice, we should probably take it. And as the head of People Operations at Google, Laszlo has some unique insights into how we work. This quote alone should make you want to read this book, “We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It’s not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing.” In Work Rules!, Laszlo teaches you to strike a balance between creativity and structure and reawaken joy in what you do.
10. Driving Demand: Transforming B2B Marketing to Meet the Needs of the Modern Buyer
By: Carlos Hidalgo
Businesses need to do things differently because consumers buy products differently than they used to. Carlos gives a clear roadmap for B2B marketers to implement change and transform their demand generation. He includes practical advice along with case studies to show B2B organizations how to change their marketing and sales functions to provide customers with the right information and service to help them make the smartest purchase decision.
Bonus: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
By: Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm stole your heart with The Tipping Point, and now Blink will blow your mind. I know, I know, it’s not Malcolm’s most recent book, but it will forever change the way you think about decision making. He shows you how our brains actually work and how you can make a split-second decision about things that are not as simple as they seem. Are you intrigued?
Bonus X2: The Martian
By: Andy Weir
Look, we can’t think about marketing all the time. Sometimes we need some good fiction to let our brains relax and make us giggle. And if you’re thinking, “I already saw this movie with the incomparable Matt Damon,” there are just some things that can’t be captured on film. Besides being a brilliant astronaut, Mark Watney is an amazing problem solver, and being able to read detailed descriptions of how he actually solves impossible problems is pretty crazy. You’ll feel smarter just listening to him talk through his solutions even though you’ll actually have no idea what he’s talking about.