10 Awesome Marketing Books for Holiday Gift Giving

Marketing is changing all the time. Luckily the authors of these 10 Must Read Marketing Books offer some invaluable advice for small business owners.

Lifelong learning is an admirable goal. And in the world of marketing, it’s a requirement.  The constant barrage of new platforms, channels and ways to engage with customers means that marketers have to stay on top of the latest practices if they want to be successful.

Today’s roundup of books will introduce you to trends, strategies and techniques that will help you connect and engage with your customers in an authentic natural way.

Must Read Marketing Books

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - The Brand Mapping StrategyThe Brand Mapping Strategy

by Karen Leland  

“All knowledge is not learned in just one school.” Author Karen Leland  (@KarenLeland) saw this quote as she was learning hula from a master hula instructor in Hawaii.  This philosophy holds true in all aspects of marketing.  It’s not enough to read one book on a topic, you need to read enough to learn your own truth.

Leland’s book “The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand”, doesn’t pretend to be the consummate book on branding, rather it seeks to be your touchstone on the branding journey.  

You can read it from front to back, or “go modular”, as the author says, picking and choosing elements that help you get over challenges as they come up.

The book is written in three parts; the branding process, personal branding and the intersection of the CEO and company brand.  

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Hacking MarketingHacking Marketing

by Scott Brinker

Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster and More Innovative“ by Scott Brinker (@ChiefMarTech)  is a new guide for marketing managers and small business owners who are responsible for directing marketing activities. Brinker has written this guide that gives today’s marketers (marketing managers and small business owners) a structure and guideline for managing marketing in a digital environment.

The premise of the book is that the world of marketing has merged with the world of technology. This means that marketing campaigns have evolved into short, agile bursts that learn from constant iteration with customers.  “Hacking Marketing” is organized into five parts that guide you through understanding this new context of marketing as a technology. Then Brinker gives you tools to help you organize and manage campaigns and projects.  You’ll also learn how to scale your campaigns as well as how to hire talent in this new era of marketing.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Invisible InfluenceInvisible Influence

by Jonah Berger

How does influence work? What prompted you to choose one thing over another.  Here’s a hint; it has more to do with how others influence you than your own preferences.  Jonah Berger (@J1Berger) , Wharton Marketing Professor and author of the bestseller “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” has taken the influence conversation further in his new book,  “Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior” .

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in influencing others, making smarter decisions or just understanding what makes people tick and do the things they do.  Berger has been researching influence for over 15 years. In “Invisible Influence” he shares strategies for motivating others, why new products should be different — but not too different, how to make better decisions by ourselves or in groups and how to use mimicry to turn strangers into friends.  

Overall, it’s a fun, educational and entertaining read that will help you understand yourself, your family and especially your customers.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Experiential MarketingExperiential Marketing

by Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover

When customers took control of their buying experiences via the internet, a lot of brands went into a tailspin.  The old ways of command and control marketing and messaging were definitely over.

This is where authors Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover step in with “Experiential Marketing: Secrets, Strategies, and Success Stories from the World’s Greatest Brands”.  After more than a decade’s worth of case studies, interviews and research, the authors show you how companies are using experiential or live, face-to-face engagements as a way to connect with their audiences, build relationships and drive loyalty for their brands.

This is a relatively short book for the amount of content and strategy it covers.  You’ll explore the psychology of engagement, go through the seven steps of developing an experiential strategy, review design principles for customer experience, measuring your progress and converting an experience to a brand.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - The Art of Digital MarketingThe Art of Digital Marketing

by Ian Dodson

The Art of Digital Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Creating Strategic, Targeted, and Measurable Online Campaigns” by Ian Dodson (@IanDodson) is the ideal digital marketing textbook for small business owners and marketers alike.  Digital marketing is a required strategy no matter what kind of business you have, who your customers are or where you run your business and “The Art of Digital Marketing” is your map.

This book contains everything you’ve ever wanted or needed to know about the most current digital marketing concepts and strategies.  It’s supported by the Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i principles; Initiate (listen to the customer), Iterate (make adjustments), integrate (use what you’ve learned).  

Ian Dodson is the Co-founder and Director of the Digital Marketing Institute.  This is an organization that has defined a set of qualifications for the digital marketing industry.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Visual Content MarketingVisual Content Marketing

by Stephen Gamble

Infographics are everywhere!  Research shows that people are 80 percent more likely to read visuals that contain color!  Given this fact, you will LOVE reading  “Visual Content Marketing: Leveraging Infographics, Video, and Interactive Media to Attract and Engage Customers” by Stephen Gamble.  As you might expect, this is a high-end, high-touch paperback with gorgeous graphics and visuals.

Author Stephen Gamble, has been dealing with the burden of explaining complex subjects and concepts since the 1980s.  This book is written in three parts. The first explains visual marketing in a way that will help readers see it as a necessary focus of their marketing or convince management of its importance.  

Part two provides advice on different visual solution providers (agencies) and how to scope projects.

The final part of the book features many examples that will help you with finding models for your own infographics.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Pre-SuasionPre-Suasion

by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.

The master of influence is at it again! If you’re a fan of Robert Cialdini Ph.D. (@RobertCialdini), then you’ll be happy to know that he’s written another book. That book is Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.

As a social psychologist, Cialdini has been studying influence for decades.  “Pre-Suasion” is Cialdini’s first solo work in more than thirty years!  He’s by far the most cited expert on the topic of persuasion of our time.  Up until now, we’ve understood influence as a technique using types of influence such as reciprocity or contrasting one undesirable thing with another desirable thing.  Cialdini’s latest research shows that the power isn’t in what you do or say — it’s in when you do or say it.  

“Pre-Suasion” focuses on the key moment BEFORE the message is delivered, rather than on the message itself.  Cialdini says that “Altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, all that’s required is for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action.”

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Gift-OlogyGiftology

by John Ruhlin  

This is the oldest trick in the book for a reason — giving gifts WORKS.  If you’re looking for a wonderful way to stay top of mind with your prospects and customers, then definitely get yourself a copy of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin (@Ruhlin).  

You are going to LOVE reading this book, because you’re going to love author John Ruhlin.  

Not because he’s successful (although he is), not because he’s innovative (although he’s that too), but because this is a way of being in your business that you will embrace since it puts smiles on people’s faces and you at the top of their list.  

“Giftology” is loaded with gift-giving ideas, strategies and tips that will turn you into a master of reciprocity.  

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - Brand Identity BreakthroughBrand Identity Breakthrough

by Gregory V. Diehl

In this new world of experiential marketing, branding is everything and if your brand doesn’t have a story that your customers can connect with and engage with, you are out of luck.  

While the ancient art of storytelling hasn’t changed over the millennia, how brands tell their stories across today’s landscape of varying social and live streaming media requires a special touch.  

In Brand Identity Breakthrough: How to Craft Your Company’s Unique Story to Make Your Products Irresistible, by Gregory V. Diehl (@GregoryVDiehl), you’ll find everything you’re looking for — whether you are a marketing guru or marketing newbie.  

The book holds your hand through the entire process, from understanding why your brand story matters to the thought process for crafting your story as well as plenty of examples and resources to support you.

Must Read Marketing Books of 2016 - The Customer MindsetThe Customer Mindset

by Joe DeRosa

The Customer Mindset: Thinking Like Your Customer To Create Remarkable Results  by Joe DeRosa is a must-read for any small business owner or marketer who wants to do less marketing and make more money.  

This book epitomizes the 80/20 rule; you overcome 80 percent of your marketing challenges by focusing your efforts on the customer mindset.  

In addition to providing insights to getting inside your customers’ heads, DeRosa tackles the obstacles that keep business owners from achieving their potential; a lack of courage, the denial of the need for improvement and a shortage of trust.

DeRosa brings his years of experience in sales and marketing positions for Fortune 500 companies and venture backed firms to bear in this book.

Always Be Learning

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, there is only one way to be — always learning.  You’ll find that what you learned as hard and fast rules, evolve or shift into new ways of thinking that are often 180 degrees from where you started.

These books will help you in building the foundation of marketing as it is today; digital, relationship oriented, customer focused, short-spurt campaigns, evolving personal and corporate branding.  If you take one thing from each book and implement it, you’ll find yourself ahead of the game.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Awesome Marketing Books for Holiday Gift Giving" was first published on Small Business Trends

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