It’s vacation season. For marketing professionals who want to stay entertained while at the poolside, or the beach, or just on a bench in the park, reading is great way to pass time in both a relaxing and educational way. Industry leaders and business academics have made their years of experience available through countless books, and those looking to improve their skills in areas like relationship management or guerrilla marketing should take a look at the books below.
Particularly voracious readers should also examine this list of sales books and other sales and marketing resources. These bestsellers can give you the energy and skills you need to escape a sales slump.
- Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson – This book has stood the test of time, with business leaders returning to it three decades after its publication. It endeavors to make marketing easier for small business owners, illustrating ways in which business can be grown with smaller amounts of money. If you work for a larger company, however, these principles can instead be used to stretch your marketing dollar much further.
- Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, by Harry Beckwith – In this book, Harry Beckwith presents the notion that what customers really want is a strong relationship with the company itself. By orienting a business around good relationships and a strong service or product, businesses can find repeat customers, build loyalty, and improve sales. When customers buy a product or service, they’re really buying into the way the company does business, Beckwith says, so doing the sort of business that builds relationships can drive marketing efforts.
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell – Originally published in 2000, this book contends that once an idea reaches a certain critical mass of acceptance or understanding, it begins to spread like wildfire. Marketers who can get their product into the heads of enough members of their target market can benefit from this principle, watching their ideas spread well beyond their initial marketing effort.
- Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin – According to modern marketing expert Seth Godin, “permission marketing” focuses on getting consumers to accept advertising messages at the times they want them, rather than interrupting their normal activity and leaving them frustrated. By finding ways in which your target market will accept marketing messages and building relationships with open communication, you can drastically increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath – Made to Stick looks at the reasons ideas thrive or perish, and ways in which people can improve the “stickiness” of an idea. Using examples from science, education, charity, and other fields, Chip and Dan Heath show readers the six traits most likely to make any idea leave a lasting impression in someone’s mind. Savvy marketers can use these concepts to develop campaigns that stay in the minds of members of their target markets long after the campaign has finished running.
- Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug – Since its publication 14 years ago, this text primarily serves those in Web design and Web marketing. This straightforward book deals with the best practices for Web usability, allowing those more familiar with marketing or sales to avoid common pitfalls in designing websites. Visual learners will appreciate the book’s helpful illustrations of key points.
- Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins – This text serves as the foundation on which much of modern advertising thought is based. Hopkins applies rigorous scientific principles to advertising, focusing on ideas like evidence-based advertising and ways to get strong returns with comparatively little risk. Those studying advertising, marketing, or PR would do well to start here, as its blunt, direct language makes it an easy text from which to glean fundamentals.
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger – Contagious contends that,rather than advertising itself, peers are what make ideas spread. Whether through rumor-mongering, viral content, or simple conversation, ideas spread from person to person via word of mouth. With a combination of general research and individual case studies, Berger has much to teach marketers how to get consumers to share stories and spread messages.
Have you read any of these books recently? If so, what did you think? If not, what books would you recommend to novice and veteran marketers alike to help them become better with their craft? Let us know in the comments below!