Imagine calling your 10-year-ago self and saying, “Hey bud, get ready to be all about responsive web design.” Your old self would probably be like, “say-what-now design?”
That’s the beauty of the marketing industry: it’s always changing; always growing more efficient, more personalized, and more measurable. But you’ve got to keep up with the trends to profit from them.
How will you keep up in 2017?
Here are books every marketer should read.
1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
What’s the difference between marketing the new iPhone 8 and marketing sensory deprivation float tanks? For one, they’re on completely opposite ends of the technology adoption life cycle curve—while iPhones are already widely used, use of float tanks is pretty much still in its infancy. It’s apples and oranges.
And you wouldn’t market apples and oranges the same way. Crossing the Chasm walks you through your marketing strategy, one point on the bell curve at a time. This one’s all about the tech adoption life cycle and how to market your product during each point on the curve.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
First published almost a hundred years ago and amazingly hasn’t gone out of style yet.
Now more than ever—because of improving technology that sometimes has us forgetting how to thrive in real-life social settings—it’s important to remind ourselves of basic manners and thoughtfulness.
That’s what How to Win Friends does. It teaches you how to be a thoughtful listener, a powerful persuader, and an all around charismatic person. Don’t underestimate the power of letting these skills shine through in your marketing.
3. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why first rocked the marketing world 5 years ago, but its evergreen ideas make it a must-read in 2017 if you haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Sinek talks about marketing in such a beautiful way that you’ll probably end up patting yourself on the back for choosing marketing as your vocation. He makes the true purpose of marketing sound way more soulful, meaningful, and fulfilling than lots of other marketing books manage to do.
4. What Great Salespeople Do by Michael Bosworth and Ben Golden
Bosworth and Golden’s book What Great Salespeople Do is chock-full of helpful sales tips, mostly based in the arts of listening, empathizing, and making honest connections.
You don’t think you’re above a “salesperson book” because you’re a marketer, do you? Crack this one open and you’ll see how important these sales tactics are for both salesmen and marketers.
5. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
Because, just about anywhere in life, 80% of results comes from 20% of the effort.
Although Koch points out in The 80/20 Principle that this phenomenon is found time and time again in real life, his book focuses on why this principle matters most for business. Whether it’s marketing efforts, sales efforts, or customer service-related, it’s strikingly prevalent that 80% of positive results stems from 20% of the effort.
6. Influence by Robert Cialdini
What is the psychology behind why people say “yes”? That’s what Robert Cialdini explores in his book Influence, a well-loved classic for marketers everywhere.
Learn how to harness the powers of persuasion to succeed in the office, in life, and most importantly—in the marketplace.
7. Testing Advertising Methods by John Caples
It’s almost unbelievable that a book published on advertising almost a 100 years ago (1932!) is still relevant today, but believe us—it is.
As technology gets more impressive and marketing efforts get flashier and flashier, John Caples reminds us to stay grounded in tested advertising methods that have worked for hundreds of years. Tested Advertising Methods is perfect for reminding us that sometimes, it’s most profitable to get back to the basics and focus on what really matters.
8. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches
Another classic—originally published 20 years ago—that you should get around to if you haven’t picked it up yet. Though you probably want to get your hands on the most recent 5th edition, since it’s got tons of updated info on how all Sullivan’s and Boches’s advice on copywriting and campaigning bodes in the digital space.
9. The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin
I would rather give up my left hand than use anything other than Apple products for the rest of the my life, and I’m certain Windows/Droid/Samsung users feel the absolute same.
What’s wrong with us? Or, rather—how do brands manage to win over such loyal customers as us? The Culting of Brands studies and strategizes this fascinating phenomenon.
10. Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
This one focuses on social media marketing, so be sure to give it a quick read before you plan your social media strategy for the year.
If you’ve ever found yourself needing more direction on exactly what kind of content works best for your different social media profiles and your own site, look no further—Jab, Jab, Right Hook is your guide.
11. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Amazon says, “This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.”
And we couldn’t say it any better.
12. Buy-ology by Martin Lindstrom
Do you know your marketing myths and facts? Of course, well all know that sex sells.
Or does it?
Martin Lindstrom tackles the truth on why people really buy, drawing conclusions from a neuromarketing study that digs deep into people’s inner climate during the buying process.
Why do your customers buy? This book might get you one step closer to the answer.
13. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson makes a case for a future marketplace dominated by niches. In the marketplace of tomorrow, people aren’t as passionate for mass-produced all-in-one products made by corporations, but for the small business who can give them a highly customizable product in a niche they love.
14. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene
Because—at its core—isn’t that exactly what marketing is?
Robert Greene’s The Art of Seduction comes at seduction from a scientific perspective, useful for any marketer who wants to improve at the art of winning people over. Whether your seducees are your customers or your higher-ups, this book is sure to help you along the way.
15. Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer
For those among us who would argue that marketing does not equal customer service, let me ask this: what makes L.L. Bean so special? What exactly makes a trip to Apple’s Genius Bar so pleasant? And why is Chick-fil-A so gosh dang great? (Besides the chicken minis. Mmmm.)
Their customer service is their marketing plan. Or at least a huge chunk of it.
So start considering customer service an important part of your marketing plan and learn to love your most migraine-inducing customers with this book.
16. The Power of Broke by Daymond John
Anyone else a little relieved that you can still be successful when you’re starting out broke as all hell?
Whew, not just me. Daymond John clearly knows his biz since, you know, he’s built a multibillion dollar clothing company from the ground up. This guy knows what he’s talking about, and we guarantee The Power of Broke is worth the read—especially if you’ve been feeling a little less than excited to plan out your 2017 marketing strategy on a shoestring budget.
17. Contagious by Jonah Berger
Jonah Berger argues that the most lucrative kind of advertising is the kind that’s most elusive and hardest to put a price tag on: word-of-mouth. In Contagious, he talks about why social influence and virality are more valuable than advertising and how you can apply these principles to your marketing strategy.
18. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
How do you muster up the courage to compete against the marketplace giant when you’re just a tiny small business with a good idea?
You read David and Goliath. Then you prepare for battle.
19. Buyer Personas by Adele Revella
Does your marketing plan for 2017 take into account all the different types of potential customers you’re trying to appeal to?
It’s not to late to brush up on your buyer personas. Adele Revella will help get you there.
20. Brainfluence by Roger Dooley
So now that you’ve got your buyer personas figured out (thanks to Adele), how do you figure out the best ways to market to them?
With a little help from Roger Dooley and his book Brainfluence, of course, which takes a scientific approach on bonding with all your different types of customers.
21. Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
Because it’s not just about selling anymore. Joe Pulizzi breaks it down for us in Content Inc.: it’s actually about providing useful information (that’s where the “content” part comes in), building trust, then selling a product.
22. Non Obvious by Rohit Bhargava
Because amazing, groundbreaking marketing techniques all start with a fresh idea. With genius that comes from thinking outside the box.
Need a little help on the “fresh” part? Let Rohit Bhargava help you out with Non Obvious, his study on marketing trends from the past and present and why they caught on so well.
The great thing about books?
You don’t have to make all the mistakes. You don’t have to test all the waters. And you definitely don’t have to do all the research.
You just have to sit back and let these experts do the dirty work for you. Read their books, study their techniques, and go back to work ready to tackle your marketing plan for 2017.