Ah, subject matter books. Thrilling, right?
If you want to learn about marketing with a fun read, skip Marketing For Dummies, grab your ereader (or library card if you're like me) and pick up these prints. Don't limit yourself by strictly searching for books with "marketing" in the title. Trust me, there are more exciting ways to keep up with this fast-paced, ever-evolving industry. And, according to Google's advanced algorithms, there are nearly 130 billion books in the world. But, don't worry, I've curated five so you don't have to dig through the billions.
1) Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
This #1 New York Times Bestseller is a smart read for all marketers. With an inside look at the food industry, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Michael Moss examines the exacting marketing techniques of food giants like Nabisco, Kraft and Pepsi. How do they keep food different and exciting? Why should consumers buy one brand over another?
With so much competition (think: over 39,000 items are carried in an average supermarket), it's a wonder how any company can stay alive. While not always cast in a positive light for their strategies, in terms of marketing, the decision-makers at these global food powerhouses were brilliant. Not just for those in the food industry, this book is riveting for anyone who wants to know more about the science of marketing.
2) Really Professional Internet Person by Jenn McAllister
With over one billion users, YouTube is a giant in the social media industry. Jenn McAllister, who is just 20-years-old, rose to fame via her YouTube channel (JennxPenn) and now has over 3 million subscribers. According to HubSpot, 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy within the next year. Needless to say, marketers could learn a thing or two from McAllister.
Honest, informative and always funny, McAllister's book features top ten lists (including The Top 10 Ways To Waste Time On The Internet), photos, screenshots and social media posts to inspire your next big idea. She points out that folks shouldn't worry about subscriber numbers but, rather, start with an idea and figure out what you have to offer.
3) Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Cut through the clutter and rise to the top with this amusing book subtitled, "How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World." Social media giants continue to grow with new technologies always on the rise and it's crucial for marketers to know how to keep audiences interested.
According to Vaynerchuk, brands are coming at consumers with too many "right hooks." The point is to appease your audience, not annoy them! Rather, folks need to connect with followers on an emotional level, gently jabbing them every so often before throwing that powerful right hook. Brevity and creativity are the keys to social success.
4) The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth
Who ever thought a science fiction novel could teach us anything about marketing? Especially one published back in 1952! It seems unlikely that a book published so many years ago would have any relevance in today's media-driven society. Don't toss your bookmarks just yet though; Pohl and Kornbluth were on to something. In an overpopulated future-world where businesses are bigger than governments, The Space Merchants follows copywriter Mitch Courtenay as he creates an ad campaign to drive folks to Venus.
Dangerous, unpredictable and intriguing, the authors highlight the power marketers hold in this futuristic society. With a growing population and limited resources, how do marketers justify selling more and more material goods that no one really needs? This thought-provoking tale of fiction holds great insight for any modern marketer.
5) #GetSocialSmart: How to Hone Your Social Media Strategy by Katie Lance
You know times are changing when book titles start with hashtags...
It's more important than ever for marketers to be actively engaged on social media platforms to connect with their audiences. But, as Lance points out, being smart about it is the key to success. What platforms should you use? What will your strategy be? What should we post, and how often? Lance answers all these questions and more in her book. Social media is more than simply garnering 'likes' and churning out content; it's about crafting a conversation between marketers and consumers. #GetSocialSmart with Lance and continue to intrigue, inspire and impress your audience.
Marketing intelligence can come from a variety of places, and it doesn't have to end with school or on-the-job experience. Excellent reading materials can provide rare insights and stimulate great ideas. Now, it's time to cozy up and dive into one (or all) of these books!