If you are anything like me, you have already filled your ”must-read” list for the following months (and ordered the books / bought them via Amazon and thinking where to store them now). As a fellow marketer, I try to include, each year, some high-value readings on my list, to make sure I stay ahead of the game and I am constantly learning from other, maybe more experienced, professionals.
Here are some books you shouldn’t skip in 2021 if you are working in marketing. They are not all about tactics and strategies, I’ve tried to include some psychology, time management, and culture-building books as well. Because, as we know, marketing shouldn’t be a siloed tactic that has nothing to do with the rest of the company. If you have any other book suggestions, feel free to drop the names in the comments!
1. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See, Seth Godin
Written by one of the best marketing specialists out there, this book picks Godin’s mind on efficient marketing and gives insight on how to promote products / services better by understanding our customers’ thinking. Here’s an excerpt I liked:
“The best ideas aren’t instantly embraced. Even the ice cream sundae and the stoplight took years to catch on.”
2. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle
Good marketing can only happen in a company with a strong culture, where all departments are aligned and everybody contributes to the higher mission. With examples from renown companies such as Google or Pixar, this book helped me better understand what it takes to build a powerful, cohesive culture, where people feel empowered and safe.
3. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
Let me ask you this: when you are promoting a product or a service, are you aware that your messages should be targeting the more emotional part of your customers’ brain or are you emphasizing the rational benefits they’ll get by buying it? About 5% of our decisions are taken by the rational side of our brain, so why should you focus on that small chance of converting? Kahneman’s book will give you a better understanding of rationality and irrationality, human behavior and decision-making.
4. Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, Donald Miller
We all know that a business without a story is doomed. This book will take you through the 7 elements of a powerful story, helping you create a more compelling, attractive story, that your audience can understand, relate with and respond to. Warning: after reading this, you might want to change your website’s copywriting.
5. Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide To Doing Content Marketing the Inbound Way, Justin Champion
Inbound is the way and if you haven’t understood this yet, you are still probably losing money on cold, outbound tactics that pay little results. This book will take you through the inbound concept, how to apply it, write content that converts on the long term, focuses on storytelling and bringing value to your customers, at any stage of their buying journey.
6. Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word, Torrey Podmajersky
UX has long stopped being a term used solely by designers. Your words create experiences and you (most probably) want those experiences to sell. This book will help you write more purposeful, clear content, stand out, use frameworks to align your content with software development and product principles, learn about UX text patterns and content-first design.
7. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters, Joseph Sugarman
Amazing copy can work wonders, helping you connect, convince and convert without investing a big budget. Sugarman’s book gives you some tested ideas and strategies on copywriting, taking you through the whole process, talking about emotions and reason. After reading this, you’ll feel ready to take over the control of your messages, making them work for you efficiently.
8. The Hidden Psychology of Social Networks: How Brands Create Authentic Engagement by Understanding What Motivates Us, Joe Federer
Joe Federer worked as Head of Brand Strategy at Reddit, so he knows what he’s talking about when exploring how social media works and how we “showcase” ourselves”. By reading this book, you’ll understand more about human behaviour online in order to find the right solutions for powerful, long-term social media strategies that attract engagement and convert.