Staff picks for the most impactful marketing books
Happy National Book Lovers Day, friends! I know, I know, for some, today ranks right up there with National Clean Your Gutters Day (November 27) or National Toenail Clippings Day (OK, I made that one up). However, for a bibliophile like myself (yay for special book words!), today merits celebration. With podcasts, webinars, blog posts and social freaking media coming out of our pores here in 2018, it can be all too easy to forget the value of a good old-fashioned book. In our industry, books – and the incredibly savvy, enviously eloquent people who author them – are some of the best teachers we have at our disposal. That’s why we’ve compiled a kick-ass reading list of our favorite marketing books. Enjoy!
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help not Hype by Jay Baer
Recommended by: Shon Christy, social strategist
Why it’s awesome: Helping consumers instead of incessantly pushing products and self-promotional messaging on them is a fairly accepted strategy now, but Jay Baer was one of the first to nail this concept. In Youtility, he uses real-world examples a-plenty and presents a usable framework for cutting through the clutter by positioning yourself as useful rather than amazing. As Baer points out, when you’re marketing online, you’re competing against adorable puppies, folks. Bring something worthy to the table.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Recommended by: Amy Allen, junior account manager
Why it’s awesome: Can we be real for a minute? We’re going to go ahead and be real. The ad industry, like many others, is still a male dominant world. Lean In, authored by Facebook’s chief operating officer (COO), is a must-read for both women and men. Part anecdotal, part research, the book is full of practical advice on how to create equality in the workplace and support women in achieving their professional goals.
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi
Recommended by: Greg Kiskadden, executive vice president
Why it’s awesome: Most brands realize that storytelling is the way to go. The rub is that not a lot of people know how to tell a good story or where to disseminate it once it’s written. Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing is the go-to for learning how to write to inform, entertain and inspire action, all while timing your delivery to a T. Plus, Pulizzi is literally one of the world’s leading experts on content marketing, and he’s a local guy who got his start right here in Northeast Ohio. Gotta love that!
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey
Recommended by: Danial Vereb, graphic designer
Why it’s awesome: Ah, the logo. Such a small li’l mark. So massively important to a brand’s identity and recognition. David Airey’s Logo Design Love breaks down the process of creating logos (complete with sketches and explorations) and includes lots of case studies and real-life examples. It has tips on working with clients, which are useful for creatives, but is written with minimal designer jargon, so it’s a very accessible how-to book for anyone who wants to learn more.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Recommended by: Eric Morris, copywriter
Why it’s awesome: How many times, as a marketer, have you felt flabbergasted by a trend? How did it start? What made your audience latch on? In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explores the phenomenon of trends in a new way, comparing them to epidemics, examining the ways we’re affected by our environment and identifying the agents of change that enable trends to take off. (P.S. We also recommend Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History.)
Worth Doing Wrong: The Quest to Build a Culture That Rocks by Arnie Malham
Recommended by: Alaina Maloney, account manager
Why it’s awesome: Google is known for having an amazing culture complete with toy rooms and breakfast bars and lavishly themed conference rooms. But what about regular ol’ companies that don’t have the money or resources for all that jazz? Arnie Malham’s Worth Doing Wrong breaks down how to create a culture that your employees, clients and community will love. In a lot of ways, your culture runs your business. This books teaches you how to do it right.
Bonus pick: Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There by Richard Fenton
Recommended by: Our Facebook friend, Lara Rogat Pilny, Taylor George Designs
Why it’s awesome: We’ve never read this book, but we had to include it on our list because – get this – it’s actually a novel (of sorts)! You certainly don’t see much fiction on the marketing bookshelves, do you? Based on the premise that most people stifle their own success by never getting past the fear of failure, Go for No chronicles the story of a mediocre copier salesman who wakes up in a strange house with no idea where he is. Turns out, the home belongs to his future self, and the dialogue that ensues is chock full of important lessons. This all sounds a little out there, right? That, my friends, is the beauty of books.
Remember, the best writers are avid readers. So no matter what book you choose to dive into, the very act of reading will help improve your storytelling abilities. Need a little extra help? Get in touch.
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