I’m a firm believer that one should always remain in pursuit of knowledge and personal/professional growth. I find that this applies especially to the world of business and marketing, as trends and tactics change at an extraordinarily fast pace.
While there are tried and true tactics and approaches that have worked through the ages and continue to work today, shifts in society, technology and other areas can send you and your business scrambling to catch up if you fail to focus on growth and innovation.
Look at how the shift to digital has changed the game for businesses in recent years. Just 10 years or so ago, social media wasn’t a thing, artificial intelligence was reserved for sci-fi films, and SEO was super easy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do all the heavy-lifting (research, testing of new tactics, exploring new ideas) on your own. That’s where books come in to play. To stay on top of the latest changes in the business and marketing world, books are an amazing resource.
The challenge is that there are so many books on the market, so how do you choose the right ones and not get suckered in to misleading info and ideas that get you nowhere?
To help you avoid these pitfalls and really target books that can help you boost your career and your business, I’ve compiled a list of 9 of the best business and marketing books on the market.
I’ve chosen the books in the list below for several reasons.
- The authority and level of success of the authors
- The game-changing and forward thinking advice
- The diverse set of expertise and ideas
- The connection between all the books to provide the most well-rounded, overarching advice
I highly recommend taking some time to dig through each one of these, bookmarking the points that stand out the most as you go along. Let’s kick things off with one of the most innovative minds in marketing, Seth Godin.
This is Marketing – by Seth Godin
Aside from his brilliant marketing mind, one of the best things about Seth Godin’s writing is that he writes like people normally talk. Skipping the jargon and making the content flow. In This is Marketing, Godin essentially brings together the overall scope of all of his insights from previous books, his blogs, speaking engagements and more.
This books focuses on familiar themes that Godin continues to stress and helps marketers focus on new approaches to connecting more effectively with their target audience and creating lasting relationships built on trust.
There are lots of great examples of his insights and advice in action throughout the book, which is always refreshing – going beyond theory and showing the actual results of following the advice being presented.
Godin explains the value of storytelling, talks about how tension can play into the buyer’s decision process, and the process of determining who you are targeting with your marketing. I highly recommend picking up this book, as well as following Seth Godin’s blog.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.
Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Best-Selling author, and the Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. As his background suggests, you will find lots of valuable information to improve your marketing game in this text, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
The book focuses on Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence; reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. By using these principles to appeal psychologically to your target audience, you can effectively change the behavior of your buyers and boost your business’ performance.
Psychology plays a significant role in marketing success. To harness its power, I strongly encourage you to take a look at Cialdini’s work here and then dig around to learn more from his other publications.
The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI – by Carlos Gil
There are so many different ways to reach consumers in today’s digital world. We are always switched on as a society, and communication can become impersonal quickly. The End of Marketing by Carlos Gil reminds us that we need to maintain a personal touch within our marketing.
The text explains the value of using technology like social media and artificial intelligence and how business’ can leverage the power of these types of technology to create more personal, individualized communication with their target audience members.
The text references how popular cultural figures leverage social media to develop hugely powerful personal brands and looks at how some of the most popular corporate brands leverage content marketing and other tactics to form lasting relationships with their audience.
Instagram Power – by Jason Miles
As some more established channels have begun to lose some of their power, Instagram has become hugely valuable, and brands have been leveraging the platform to gain awareness and drive business.
Instagram Power highlights the shift for marketers to focusing on Instagram as well as the changes made to the platform in recent years that have made this a go to channel for promoting your business.
Whether you are looking to give a boost to your company’s image or you are looking to enhance your personal brand, Miles offers actionable tips to help you succeed. The public eats up visual content these days, and this book will show you have to leverage that hunger for images, videos, and graphics.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On – by Jonah Berger
Another New York Times Best Seller, Jonah Berger vividly details why some ideas and products stick and others disappear into obscurity in Contagious. Berger explains that grabbing and maintaining the attention of your audience and continuing to expand that audience goes beyond advertising and traditional marketing.
Why does one brand’s content go viral while another brand’s content is barely seen? Berger explores the power of word-of-mouth and social transmission and offers insight into how you can inspire your target audience to talk about your company.
This books offers actionable advice, which is why I highly recommend it. You can grab some takeaways that you can instantly apply within your own marketing efforts that will get people talking and sharing.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company – by Robert Iger
I’m a huge proponent of The Walt Disney Company and the way they approach marketing, entertainment, product development, and customer service. Who better to learn from about the best approach to these things than Robert Iger, the guy who led one of the most recognized brands in the world for 15 years as CEO.
The Ride of a Lifetime provides insights from Iger’s time as CEO that can help give your leadership capabilities a boost and help your company thrive. It’s also an empowering piece as Iger worked his way up from the bottom rung of the ladder at WDW and climbed all the way to the top.
Having worked at Disney Theme Parks back in my earlier years, I’ve always embraced the spirit of this amazing company, and I highly recommend this book because it gives you an inner look at why the company is so successful along with insights you can take back and apply within your organization.
Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media – by Brittany Hennessy
A quality personal brand is so important these days for both your business’ brand and your own personal brand. An organization’s team members can give a brand a boost, or they can destroy a brand with negative online images of the brand’s people. On the career side, companies are definitely checking up on you online, so it’s super important to take charge of what they will find.
Influencer looks at a number of influencers and explores what they do to craft personal brands that stick and even lead to the ability to generate revenue, simply by doing things like posting on social media.
If you want to take your personal brand to the next level, this book is for you. You will learn how to build your brand authority and create an engaged audience. You’ll also learn how to leverage that brand and turn it into a revenue stream.
Definitely check out Influencer. It can help give a boost to your personal brand and your career, as well as open up new ways for you to generate income.
The CEO’s Digital Marketing Playbook: The Definitive Crash Course and Battle Plan for B2B and High Value B2C Customer Generation – by Thomas J. Donohoe
In today’s digital world, there is no shortage of online tools and tactics available to companies and their marketing teams. Leadership teams, however, often don’t have a grasp on the full scope of what’s available, and as a result they often end up spending money unnecessarily.
The CEO’s Digital Marketing Playbook covers the full spectrum of digital marketing and provides guidance to CEO’s and others in leadership role to help you focus and get digital marketing right.
Just to be clear, this book benefits business professionals beyond just CEOs. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, marketing professional or in a leadership role where you’re responsible for growing your organization, this book is for you
Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business – by Kindra Hall
Telling stories is what all great companies do these days, but not all stories stick. Stories That Stick explores the four unique story types you can use (Value Story, Founder Story, Purpose Story, and Customer Story) and how you can leverage the power of each to help your business stand out and achieve growth.
I love a books with real examples, and this one is full of them. Beyond just the theory of storytelling, you’ll read multiple success stories (aka case studies) to show you how to apply the concepts presented within your organization.
Grab this book today to learn how to benefit from the power of storytelling and apply storytelling to your business to help engage your target audience more effectively.
These 9 books should be essential reading for any marketing professional looking to up your game. If you don’t have them in your library, I strongly consider you to read reviews, dig through the summaries and add at least one to your shelf.
My main advice to you as a fellow marketing pro is to never stop learning. The moment you stop trying to gain new knowledge and exploring new concepts is the moment you should consider moving into another career field. Being successful in this field requires staying on top of trends and new ideas, and there are so many amazing minds sharing their own visions that there is no excuse for you to stay stagnant.
(*Disclaimer: If you fall in love with the books and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. That said, I only recommend products and books that I have tested and/or read and that I love myself and see huge value in using.)
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