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8 Marketing Books To Read This Year

Learning from marketing experts can help you thrive as a professional and meet business goals. Check out some of the best books to grow your career this year.
Caitlyn Blair

Knowledge Is Power: Get The Marketing Tools You Need From Experts In The Field

Ever since we could read, many of us have been told that turning off our screens and picking up a book would make us smarter. If you’re not a big fan of reading, this news might fall on flat ears, but those folks actually had our best interest in mind. As it turns out, research from scientists at Carnegie Mellon shows that reading creates new white matter in the brain. This is good news for those who want to expand their expertise in a field because white matter improves the speed and transmission of electrical nerve signals. It also protects nerve fibers from injury.

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In general, reading has been associated with elevated career trajectories. This makes sense when you think about the fact that it improves vocabulary, creativity, perseverance, and intelligence. It also increases empathy and decreases stress.

If all of these things can be accomplished by reading fictional content, you can imagine what reading relevant professional content could do for your career. Check out these books if you want to pave your career path in the marketing field, or if you simply want to brush up your skills. This list contains both tried-and-true favorites as well as modern guides to success.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh left behind quite a legacy. In addition to being the CEO of e-commerce retailer Zappos, which was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion, he authored the #1 NYT bestseller Delivering Happiness. Hsieh’s motivation was to make those he worked with happy, from customers to employees and beyond. Perhaps that is why Fortune Magazine voted Zappos one of the 25 best companies to work for.

Although Delivering Happiness is not an autobiography, it documents Hsieh’s business journey and core business values. One of these values is to “be known for something,” which should be a key component of every marketer’s career. Another value that the company Zappos is known for is their above-average customer service. These are powerful tools that every marketer can carry throughout their careers.

David Ogilvy is widely known as the father of advertising. He founded Ogilvy & Mather, one of the oldest marketing advertising companies in the world, with the basic idea that the function of advertising is to sell. Although On Advertising has had its fair share of time in the spotlight (39 years since its publication, to be exact), it is still touted as a masterpiece and a must-read for marketing professionals. Ogilvy presents fundamental concepts surrounding advertising that are still the foundation of successful campaigns today. His work truly stands the test of time, and as he famously said, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK. He is a renowned expert on consumer behavior, trends, and the digital age whose TED talks have been viewed nearly seven million times. In this exploratory marketing book, Sutherland lays out his leading-edge scientific research in an entertaining way.

Sutherland believes that the most impactful progress in the future of marketing will come from psychology and design thinking, and he writes through that lens. If you are interested in learning more about the concept of scientific advertising, this book would be a great place to start. In a world where marketers are constantly being presented with new innovations in technology, Sutherland’s work is a breath of fresh air.

There is a difference between a successful brand and a cultural icon. When you think about brands like Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Nike, and Budweiser, you might think of fond memories and personal connections before you think of the word “brand.” As marketers, it is important for us to understand what resonates with our consumers and communicate that without being “salesy.”

Douglas B. Holt explains how to do that. He presents the first systematic model that explains how you can take your business from a brand to an icon. This form of thinking goes beyond generating new customers. For marketers who are working with major cultural institutions or who aspire for their brand to reach that level of success, this is a must-read.

Seth Godin is another marketing mogul, widely referred to as “America’s greatest marketer.” In 1998, he sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo for about $30 million. Currently, he runs the altMBA, a global business-thinking workshop, and he has authored thirteen international bestsellers about marketing. In his book, This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See, Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in a single package. This makes it an effective guide for marketers who might be new to the field and want to hit their targets with their niche market.

Hit Makers is an exploration of marketing psychology written by Atlantic Senior Editor Derek Thompson. Experts in marketing understand that marketing and psychology go hand-in-hand. Psychology can help marketers understand the way that consumers think, feel, and make decisions. Understanding the basics of these concepts will help you understand what elicits the desired emotions of your target audience and use them for the benefit of your business. Marketers who would like to improve in this area would do well to read Thompson’s book. This will help to put psychology in perspective to understand how mass marketing strategy shapes our culture.

Digital content is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers today. Strong content will help your business become more visible online and appear to more users on search engines and on social media. This book is a basic instructional guide that will explain what you need to know about digital content and inbound marketing. It features content marketing case studies from companies like CNN International and HuffPost UK. Waters will teach you about the importance of social listening, web design, cyber security, and more valuable information you’ll benefit from as a modern online marketing professional.

When you think about the most popular products on the market today, most of them have some kind of habit-forming feature. This is no accident; it is by design from the minds of strategic product marketers. Think about the skin care products that encourage a daily regimen, smart watches that help set fitness goals, and social media apps that keep you coming back to check notifications. Although all of these products are so different, they all manage to infiltrate the daily lives of the consumers.

Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products exposes the idea that most of our daily product use relies on habit. This is a great read for marketers who need to sell a specific product, service, or software, and who want to understand the principles behind actions and rewards.

Whether you are a new business owner or a marketer for a big brand name, it is always a good idea to learn from those who have paved the way before you. With so much information about marketing at your fingertips, it might take some trial-and-error before you realize what tactics work for your business. Once you establish what methods work, it is essential to continue growing and adapting to keep up with the times. That is exactly what learning from experts like these and staying educated about changes in the field can help you accomplish.

At Scorpion, we have a team of marketing experts who will use powerful knowledge to help your business excel. If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help take your business to the next level, feel free to reach out to our team.