One of the most successful book authors, J.K. Rowling, believes that “something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” It’s true. There’s something about how every page feels when you thumb through them. There’s something about the smell, too.
And there’s something about how a book, or any reading material for that matter, nourishes our creativity and our vision—things that every digital marketer needs. A poll conducted by Ascend2 found that lack of internal content creation resources (53%) and lack of effective marketing strategy (42%) are the main challenges in achieving digital marketing success. When marketers lack inspiration, digital marketers can go back to the basics and go over important reading materials. Information, after all, never gets old, regardless of whether it is published on paperback or downloaded electronically.
For digital marketers who seem to be running out of ideas, inspiration, and just the mojo to keep going, here is a list of books that every marketer should read. These books will help you stay sharp and keep up with an industry that moves very quickly.
Let’s catch up on your reading, shall we?
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
This groundbreaking book started it all. The Business Week calls Godin the “ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age” as this book aimed at “turning strangers into friends and friends into customers” — the very same objective of digital marketers then and now. Permission Marketing offers a fresh perspective into how things or ideas should be sold to the market. Traditional advertising, one that is anchored on interruption marketing no longer works, said Godin. Interruption marketing, he added, is annoying.
On the other hand, permission marketing reaches out to individuals and asks for their permission to show them a product or service. Through this, companies are able to develop long-term relationships with customers and create brand awareness with the people that graciously allowed them to.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
Do you want your customers to say yes? This is not necessarily a digital marketing book, but it explores the psychology of why people say yes. Dr. Cialdini studied what moves people to change behavior and how to persuade people. A classic bestseller on psychology-based business books, this is among the reading materials marketers should dwell on every day as they are constantly challenged to come up with campaigns that are persuasive and influential.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
If you want to know why some content go viral and some don’t, you have to read this book. Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at Wharton, revealed the science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission, from office rumors to consumer products. The book shows you how to craft “shareable” content through some very actionable techniques. To anyone who is trying to get a word out, read Contagious.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
This book was cited in an article by Propelrr not only to give business and marketing techniques but to serve as an inspiration. Most startups and marketing newbies fear established companies or Goliaths in the industry. It basically tells startups to challenge the weaknesses of the competitor instead of focusing on their giant resources. Don’t play the game they themselves invented, but start your own. It’s essentially Steve Jobs’ philosophy when he started Apple: Don’t look at the competition and say “I can do things better,” instead look at the competition and say “I can do things differently.”
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
This is every marketer’s guide to digital marketing. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, will walk you through a step-by-step plan in developing powerful content as well as best social media practices to make them go viral. This will teach you how to tell stories that are tailored-fit for a certain audience and platform.
Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard
A 2015 survey found that 53% of small businesses actively use social media. This just shows how much social media has altered the digital marketing landscape. It is important indeed, but it’s not as easy as keeping track of “likes, comments, and shares.” Social Media ROI gives you a rundown of everything you need to know about marketing in social media: how to attract followers, define metrics, and manage crises. This must-read book for digital marketers also shows how to align social communications with broader business goals and functions.
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype by Jay Baer
Don’t get confused with “helping” and “selling.” In an industry that is so obsessed with looking good, it helps to do something good. Youtility tells marketers to stop being amazing and start being helpful. Jay Baer drew examples from real companies and brands he has helped master this fresh marketing approach. It runs on the assumption that when you sell, you make a customer today; but when you help, you make a customer for life. Helpfulness does really transform the relationship between companies and customers.
The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter
The online word is highly visual. The human brain also processes visuals much faster than text. If you are into digital marketing, you know very well that you can’t run a blog without an image or video. A survey by BrightRoll found that 72% of agencies say online video ads are as effective as television, probably the most influential medium of the 20th century. Walter’s book zeroes in on the power of visually-stimulating content. It also shows how best to capture the power of visual storytelling.
As much as writers can’t come up with great stories if they don’t find the time to read, so do marketers. Go over these books for digital marketers if you need to find inspiration, learn new techniques, or simply need a reminder of the beauty of the modern art of storytelling that you are in.