25 Unforgettable Quotes from 25 Great Marketing Books

June 23, 2017

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

These whimsical words from Dr. Seuss, like many of his legendary writings, carry a deep truth that resonates through the ages. Like any muscle, the brain thrives from exercise and expanding range.

In marketing, this is particularly relevant. Ours is a field requiring nimble agility as it adapts to evolving marketplaces and media. The most successful marketers are those who keep their minds forever open to new ideas.

In that spirit, we’re serving up nuggets from 25 of our favourite marketing books to highlight indispensable insights from some of the industry’s most innovative thinkers, past and present.

Come along for the ride. Oh, the places we’ll go!

1. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, by Seth Godin

Almost no one goes home eagerly anticipating junk mail in their mailbox. Almost no one reads People magazine for the ads. Almost no one looks forward to a three-minute commercial interruption on must see TV. Advertising is not why we pay attention. Yet marketers must make us pay attention for the ads to work. If they don’t interrupt our train of thought by planting some sort of seed in our conscious or subconscious, the ads fail. Wasted money. If an ad falls in the forest and no one notices, there is no ad.”


 2. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, by Martin Lindstrom

Under stress (or even when life is going along pretty well), people tend to say one thing while their behavior suggests something entirely different. Needless to say, this spells disaster for the field of market research, which relies on consumers being accurate and honest. But 85 percent of the time our brains are on autopilot. It’s not that we mean to lie–it’s just that our unconscious minds are a lot better at interpreting our behavior (including why we buy) than our conscious minds are.”


3. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert B. Cialdini

Our ability to create change in others is often and importantly grounded in shared personal relationships, which create a pre-suasive context for assent. It’s a poor trade-off, then, for social influence when we allow present-day forces of separation—distancing societal changes, insulating modern technologies—to take a shared sense of human connection out of our exchanges. The relation gets removed, leaving just the ships, passing at sea.”


4. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell

We have trouble estimating dramatic, exponential change. We cannot conceive that a piece of paper folded over 50 times could reach the sun. There are abrupt limits to the number of cognitive categories we can make and the number of people we can truly love and the number of acquaintances we can truly know. We throw up our hands at a problem phrased in an abstract way, but have no difficulty at all solving the same problem rephrased as a social dilemma. All of these things are expressions of the peculiarities of the human mind and heart, a refutation of the notion that the way we function and communicate and process information is straightforward and transparent. It is not. It is messy and opaque.”


5. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley

Our writing can make us look smart or it can make us look stupid. It can make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it can also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring. That means you’ve got to choose your words well, and write with economy and style and honest empathy for your reader. And it means you put a new value on an often-overlooked skill in content marketing: how to write, and how to tell a true story really, really well.”


6. Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Joe Pulizzi

By focusing on building an audience first and defining products and services second, an entrepreneur can change the rules of the game and significantly increase the odds of financial and personal success … Once a loyal audience is built, one that loves you and the information you send, you can, most likely, sell your audience anything.”



7. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You, by John Hall

One of the most effective ways to enrich the lives of your target audience is to help fulfill their hunger for relevant, engaging information and insights. Great content—the kind that feeds your audience’s appetite—can take nearly endless forms, including insightful think pieces, enlightening how-to videos, and live updates from the front lines of a real-time event. As the possibilities within digital media become more nuanced and powerful, the demand for instant access is rapidly intensifying. In fact, the gap between human thought and online action is becoming so minuscule that Google has coined a new term to describe it: the micro-moment.”


8. The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits, by Russell Glass and Sean Callahan

Big data—particularly for businesses and especially for marketing departments—is poised to have a profound and far-reaching impact on commerce and shareholder value. As it did for Eratosthenes, as it did for Copernicus, and as it may be doing for your company today, data will reveal the underlying truth of the world for those willing to work to see it.”


9. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising, by Ryan Holiday

The movie marketing paradigm says throw an expensive premiere and hope that translates into ticket sales come opening weekend. A growth hacker says, ‘Hey, it’s the twenty-first century, and we can be a lot more technical about how we acquire and capture new customers.’ The start-up world is full of companies taking clever hacks to drive their first set of customers into their sales funnel. The necessity of that jolt—needing to get it any way they can—has made start-ups very creative.”


10. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, by Gary Vaynerchuk

No matter who you are or what kind of company or organization you work for, your number-one job is to tell your story to the consumer wherever they are, and preferably at the moment they are deciding to make a purchase. For a long time, we did that through television, radio, and print. We evolved with the times, eventually attempting guerilla marketing, sending emails, and creating banner ads. But the attention-grabbing power of these older platforms is weakening, their audience is shrinking, and every day that goes by costs us more to reach fewer people, because though those older platforms still serve their purpose, people are just not watching television, listening to a radio, reading print, or even paying much attention to emails. At least, not as often as they used to. They’re on social media.”


11. The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand out From The Crowd, by Allan Dib

You’ve got to think winter in the summer. It’s just too easy to get faked out when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy. You’ve got to prepare for winter because it’s coming, it always does.”

12. Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition, by David Newman

The next thing you’re going to tell me is that you don’t NEED to do any marketing because 99 percent of your business is repeat and referral business, and it’s always been that way. You don’t see how any newfangled marketing is going to move the needle toward closing more sales … Do you seriously think that referrals don’t check you out online before picking up the phone?”


13. Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger

Airlines turned loyalty into a status symbol. Foursquare made it a mark of distinction to be a fixture at the corner bar. And by encouraging players to post their achievements on Facebook, online game makers have managed to convince people to proclaim loudly—even boast—that they spend hours playing computer games every day.”


14. The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales, by Chris Smith

Due to the recent digital revolution I will even go as far as to proclaim that every lead is now an internet lead. We’re all online, every day all day. The world is changing, and your strategies need to change along with it. We look at Facebook on our phones more than we look at each other in the face. Regardless of whether they submit their information through the web form on your website or not, every human is now conditioned to look online before making a purchase. And thanks to our social media addiction you can now generate demand, not just fulfill it.”


15. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, by Jay Baer

The real problem for your business are the people who have a poor experience but are not passionate enough about you and your company to take the time to say something about it in a form or fashion that you can find and act upon. They are the ‘meh’ in the middle, and they are what kills businesses.”


16. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, by Brad Stone

Any process can be improved. Defects that are invisible to the knowledgeable may be obvious to newcomers. The simplest solutions are the best. Repeating all these anecdotes isn’t rote monotony—it’s calculated strategy.”


17. Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing, by Lee Odden

If a company doesn’t see the bigger-picture synergy of how to break social media, content, and SEO efforts out of departmental silos and approach Internet marketing and public relations holistically, how can they grow and remain competitive?”


18. SEO 2017: Learn Search Engine Optimization with Smart Internet Marketing Strategies, by Adam Clarke

Articles about the latest SEO updates, techniques or tips are often written by interns, assistants or even ghostwriters. Their job is to write articles. The majority of blog posts about SEO are rarely written by experts or professionals with the day-to-day responsibility of growing site traffic and achieving top rankings in search engines. Can you learn from someone who doesn’t even know how to do it themselves? You can’t. This is why you have to take the advice spread by blog posts with a grain of salt.”


19. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in. It’s the law of leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first.”


20. The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies for Igniting Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business, by Mark W. Schaefer

While most marketers have understandably had their heads down producing content and building their audience, it’s time to look up again and see that we need to build a third competency – an ignition plan.”


21. Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Customers with Neuromarketing, by Roger Dooley

Have you been able to make your customers feel different from those of your competition? Does your brand have a tribe? Have you been able to define an enemy group that strengthens the cohesiveness of your own? If you can accomplish this and fan the flames of rivalry, you’ll create not only more loyal customers but also brand advocates and evangelists.”


22. Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business, by Adele Revella

Although the Internet has given us instant access to immense knowledge, even the most sophisticated applications of Big Data won’t reveal what you can learn by listening to your buyers’ stories. Just as there is nothing to acquaint you with a foreign culture as intimately as staying with a native family in their home, the best way to gain deep insight into the mind-set of your buyers is to spend quality time with them.”


23. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”


24. The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

No matter what happens, whatever the change in technology, people will always stay the same. Whatever, whether they watch one screen or five to relax in the evening, the way people think will always be based on the same brain they, their parents, and their grandparents were born with. Working with and thinking about the human dimension has always served us well because it means we understand the final recipient.” 

25. Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy, by Bryan Kramer

As far as brands are concerned, one of the biggest shortcomings of the Digital Age is the disconnection between their own self-recognition as an entity and the individual humans they are trying to serve. Brands most often turn to technology first to make quick connections at scale but forget what makes people want to interact with them in the first place—a human-to-human connection.” 


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