20 Books Every Marketer Should Add to Their Summer Reading List
July 3, 2015
Remember those summer reading contests the local library held when you were a kid? You checked out books from the library, wrote down a little report on each book, and won prizes at summer’s end based upon how many books you read. It was great to get the bookmark or reading light when you turned in the list, but the real prize was a brain buzzing with all of the worlds you explored through the books you read.
Now that we’re grown-ups (at least by all outward appearances), no one is going to give us a bookmark for reading. And we sure don’t get the summer off to spend hours curled up with a good book. But reading is more important than ever; an insightful marketing book can provide just the spark you need to do amazing work.
With amazing work in mind, we chose ten marketing books that will enhance your career, then asked the authors to recommend their favorites. Here are your official summer reading suggestions from LinkedIn marketing:
1. Jason Miller
Jason combines his rock ‘n’ roll passion with serious marketing know-how in this informative and entertaining read. He was doing content marketing before it was cool, and he has plenty of advice for those just starting out.
Jason’s recommendation: Adland – Searching for The Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet by James P. Othmer
"20 year plus advertising veteran James Othmer is not only a brilliant adman, but he’s also one hell of a great storyteller. I love this book because it reads like an episode of Behind the Music, but instead of the rise and fall of your favorite artist, it’s the rise and fall and rise again of the advertising biz.
With this new book, Stevens and Kushner have delivered a practical guide for B2B marketers who are looking to improve results using data. The book includes deep dives in data architecture and data hygiene, as well as case studies on companies that have successfully implemented data-driven marketing programs.
Ruth’s Recommendation: Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, by Thomas H. Davenport & Jeanne G. Harris.
“This book is your secret weapon for explaining the value of data to your senior management. Based on Davenport’s seminal 2006 article in HBR, this book explains how companies are using data analytics to build a sustainable competitive advantage. Most of the examples are, admittedly, from B2C companies. But they get the point across in a tangible, accessible and entertaining way. Warning: this is not a deep dive for experienced database marketers and statisticians. It’s a general business book.
Their work: The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits
Big Data is a big deal for marketing’s present and future, but it’s also an idea that can be hard to wrap your head around. Russell and Sean explain what big data is, what it’s for, and how to use it, with plenty of real-world examples to keep their advice practical.
Sean’s recommendation: The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, by Fred Reichheld with Rob Markey
“In a world full of business metrics, Net Promoter Score may be the most important of them all. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said of NPS, ‘This is the best customer-relationship metric I've seen.’ This excellent book explains how to deploy NPS in your company.”
His work: The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business
Mark combines mind-blowing theory with solid practical advice in this book. He dives into the psychology that leads people to share content, using the science to develop a six-step plan for amplifying your content. It’s a great guide for any marketer trying to rise above the noise of modern media.
Mark’s Recommendation: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, by Peter Drucker.
“Although written in 1982, it correctly predicted the entrepreneurial-driven economy of today and provides a framework for institutionalizing innovation into the daily life of our businesses.”
Social media can be minefield for a brand trying to stay authentic while engaging with personality. Gini’s book is a guide to building a reputation by keeping it real. Her advice on overcoming anonymous attackers and trolls covers a topic we don’t often talk about but desperately need to address.
Gini’s recommendation: Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less, by Joseph McCormack
“One of the things we always work with clients on is talking in soundbites so journalists and their audiences stay engaged. In Brief, Joe McCormack teaches you how to be brief to get your point across more quickly. He jokes that he wrote an entire book about being brief, but it really should be in every business library.”
The most effective way for marketers to reach an audience is to provide something of real value that helps people solve problems. That’s the truism at the heart of Bernadette’s book. It’s about rehabilitating marketing’s reputation for half-truths and coercion, arguing for a new model based on providing value from the customer’s standpoint.
Bernadette’s recommendation: All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories, by Seth Godin
“My all-time favorite of Seth's many great books, it reminds us that the root of all marketing is giving people a story to tell. I made so many notes in the margins that I've probably got enough to write a whole new book. Seth inspires me every day.”
7. Ardath Albee
Content marketing is far more likely to succeed with a solid strategy that underlies every piece of content you release. Ardath explains how to develop a continuum approach to marketing, coordinating marketing efforts beyond single campaigns. When done right, a good strategy merges each individual piece into a single story that positions the company as the right solution for their buyers.
Ardath’s recommendation: Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, by Robert Rose & Carla Johnson
“The essential marketing handbook to get back to the future! Experiences powered by purpose-driven content in the moments when marketers can be most influential will enable marketing to become a differentiating force in business. In Experiences, Robert Rose and Carla Johnson show you how to transform content to connect with audiences in ways that reach, influence, and delight them beyond how your products or solutions ever could.”
Their work: The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand
Ekaterina and Jessica practice what they preach in this book, complementing their practical advice with plenty of eye-catching visuals and real-world examples of great visual design.
Jessica’s recommendation: Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing up to 11, by Jason Miller
“Welcome to the Funnel is an excellent book filled with smart strategies, tactics and lessons from one modern marketer to another. The rock 'n' roll theme also adds a clever, personalized touch that differentiates it from other content marketing books.
9. Nir Eyal
As a general rule, we tend to think of being “hooked” on something as a bad thing. But Nir’s book is a decidedly white-hat approach to creating user habits through products that people love because they fill a need.
Nir’s recommendation: Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, by Natasha Dow Schull
“This is a chilling look into how compulsion is harvested. But the same techniques used in Las Vegas are increasingly being used to help promote healthy behavior.”
10. Ryan Holiday
Growth hacking is a set of strategies to reach an audience using little-to-no traditional marketing budget. Ryan’s book is filled with testable, scalable techniques to prime your organization for a popularity explosion.
Ryan’s recommendation: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries & Jack Trout
“It's one of the best distillations of the classic and timeless wisdom behind building brands and companies. My favorite law: Invent a New Category.”
We’d like to thank all of these authors for the books they wrote, and for sharing their suggestions with us! If we missed a favorite of yours, tweet us @LinkedInMktg to let us know about it.
For more enlightening and informative reading this summer and throughout the year, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog.