Marketing is a crucial part of every organization. Marketing is as necessary for a small business and non-profit as it is for an elite Fortune 500 company. It’s not difficult to recognize the importance of marketing. The tough part is finding effective approaches that actually connect you to the people you are trying to reach.
The issue is that marketing has changed and the same longstanding, traditional marketing strategies need to be rethought. The following is a list of recommended books on marketing. These seven books are helpful in understanding where marketing is today and where it is going in the future.
1. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising | Ryan Holiday
Many of the largest companies – mere startups only a few years ago – haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No billboards, TV ads, or press releases. In this short book, Ryan Holiday describes how marketing has changed and explains a new strategy – growth hacking – a tactic to reach more people despite modest marketing budgets. 144 Pages
2. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users | Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
This is a practical and tactical book on all things social media. Most of us use social media every day and are familiar with the basics. This book takes you beyond the fundamentals and provides more than one hundred tips. I’m certain you’ll learn something new to help you personally and to grow your organization. 208 Pages
3. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More | Chris Anderson
The concept behind The Long Tail is that our culture and economy is progressively shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward an immense number of niches in the tail. Anderson explains, as the costs of production and distribution fall, particularly online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an age without the limits of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare. 267 Pages
4. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy | Martin Lindstrom
Marketers have long sought to determine why consumers purchase what they do. What is it that compels us to purchase one brand over another? Merchants and marketers have historically had two ways of examining the effectiveness of their efforts. First was tracking sales. The problem with this alone is that it doesn’t explain why sales are happening. The second way was the traditional market research process of asking questions. The problem with the second tool is that what people say they do and what they actually do are different. The tools for understanding why we do what we do, whether it’s in shops, hotels, airports, or online, need to be reinvented.
Buyology is a fascinating book about neuromarketing. The author spent three years and seven million dollars on a neuromarketing study that examined the brain. The study was conducted out of a desire to find out – on a scientific level – why consumers were drawn to a particular brand of clothing, a certain make of car, or a particular type of shaving cream, shampoo, or chocolate bar. This book explains the findings – looking at the subconscious thoughts, feelings, and desires that drive the purchasing decisions we make each day. 272 Pages
5. Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business | Jay Conrad Levinson
Now in its fourth edition, Guerrilla Marketing was first written in 1983. Jay Conrad Levinson acknowledges that marketing continues to evolve and mature and cautions his readers that failure to upgrade their marketing effort is a symptom of corporate demise. Companies are either growing and changing or dying. Failure to adapt is the leading cause of death. The author explains that marketing is a process, not an event. Levinson puts an emphasis on marketing not only to future customers but also to current customers. He explains how to get your business’s name in front of as many people as possible in an unexpected way. Guerrilla marketing is usually a low or no-cost form of marketing that can reap substantial profits for small organizations. 384 Pages
6. What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest | Denise Lee Yohn
Denise Lee Yohn has written a fascinating book on branding. She explores the ruin of Kodak. Only a few years ago, Kodak ranked forth for most valuable brands in the world, only behind Disney, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. When Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, it had lost $30 billion in market value. The author suggests that the Kodak problem was far larger and rooted far deeper than a slow move to digital photography.
This helpful book is an examination of how great brands manage to avoid the fate of Kodak and other faded companies by using their brands as management tools to fuel, align, and guide every person in the organization and every task they undertake. The author shows how many companies have successfully relied on a management approach that drives their culture, company operations, and customer experience – an approach she calls “brand as business”. 272 Pages
7. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers | Seth Godin
This book is about the attention crisis in America and how marketers can survive and thrive in this harsh new environment. There is a combined shortage of time and attention in today’s information age. Consumers are now willing to pay handsomely to save time, while markets are eager to pay bundles to get attention. In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin explains that Interruption Marketing (traditional marketing) is the enemy of anyone trying to save time. The marketer who interrupts us not only tends to fail at selling his product, but wastes our most coveted commodity, time. In the long run, therefore, Interruption Marketing is doomed as a mass marketing tool.
The alternative is Permission Marketing, which offers the consumer the opportunity to volunteer to be marketed to. By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message. It allows marketers to tell their story calmly and succinctly and serves both consumers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange. 256 Pages
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Nevertheless, I would not recommend something if I did not think that it was a good product or service. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.