I have decided to this week to take a look at what I believe are the top ten marketing books that every small business owner should read. Some of the books I have read, some I have skimmed, some books I have not read and others I have studied in great detail. Of the ones I have not read I hope to read in the near future. For each book I have included a short summary of what the book is about and why I think it deserves at spot on the list of top marketing books.
Top Ten Marketing Books
1. The End Of Marketing As We Know It - Sergio Zyman
I love this book because it lets you inside one of the most exciting and interesting marketing stories of all time.....Coca Cola's marketing strategy during the cola wars of the 80s and 90s. Coca Cola is probably the pinnacle company for marketing, advertising and branding so just having a book on this would be impressive but this book goes above and beyond as it explains why certain things worked for Coca Cola and why other things did not. There is a lot examples of interesting strategies such as launching a new product with the purpose of having it fail so that your competitors product will fail as well. This is just one example but the book contains many more. The book also has many wise marketing principles such as how all activities in marketing should be tracked so that you know the return on investment from each and how creating and maintaining long-term profitable markets is more important than increasing sales. This book deserves a spot on the list because it is just so interesting, it involves real life examples everyone can remember and some of the strategies discussed are so crazy they are genius.
2. Zag: The #1 Strategy Of High Performance Brands - Marty Neumeier
What I like about this book is that it is a very easy read, there are lots of examples in the book using well known companies and the way it is written really gets you thinking and asking a lot of questions about your own marketing plan. It naturally gets you thinking and being creative. The main idea behind the book is that to be successful at marketing you have to do something completely different then everyone else, you need to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. The book covers many aspects of marketing from picking a company name, to designing and logo and creating a compelling offer consumers can't refuse with many helpful tips, pointers and examples. This book deserves a spot on the list because it is a great reminder on how powerful differentiation is and how to incorporate differentiation into all of your branding and marketing.
3. Competitive Advantage - Creating & Sustaining Superior Performance - Michael E. Porter
I like this book because it deals with such a wide range or marketing, strategy and competition topics. The book is very insightful and puts a bunch on things together that you probably already know in a new format that leads to a higher understanding of marketing, strategy and competition. This book just has so much great content it could probably be a marketing textbook.....actually most universities incorporate this book somehow into their curriculum and most marketing textbooks make reference to it or even have a full chapter dedicated to it. Porter's five competitive forces that determine industry profitability is probably the crown jewel of this book and is an excellent tool to determine the profitability of any business, market or market segment. I think this book deserves a spot on the list simply because there is so much good content in it and that most people in business or marketing have read it so if you don't read it you are at a disadvantage.
4. Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim
This book is a great paradigm shift to how you market, specifically where and how you should be focusing your efforts when developing new products and segment to enter. The general idea of the book is that it is best to create uncontested market spaces, make your competition irrelevant, create and capture new demand and create something that provides more value than its cost. With this approach it allows a business to implement both a low cost AND differentiation strategy, which makes it nearly impossible for competitors to enter the market. The book also contains many useful frameworks and models to help find blue ocean markets or segments and enter them. This book deserves a spot on the list because it outlines a process to make any business wildly successful and profitable in a very easy to follow and understand format.
5. How To Write A Good Advertisement - A Short Course In Copywriting - Victor O. Schwab
I like this book because it has so many example with commentary that it is crazy. It also does a good job of reminding that for marketing to work their has to be a strong "What is in it for me" for the buyer. This idea is critical to marketing and this book does a great job not only covering it but giving you examples of how you can deliver this and communicate it effectively. This book deserves a spot on the list because with the increased prominence of search, online, social media and email marketing, headlines and copy have become much more important than when television and were our main media intake and I feel this book is the best book out there on headlines and copy-writing. Headlines and copy are still important for TV and radio but they are even more important for digital marketing mediums.
6. The Measured Marketing Method - Chris R. Keller
I would be crazy to not include my own book here. My book is more than just a book, it is really a program that teaches and approach, and comes with a workbook that automatically calculates important marketing metrics. The Measured Marketing Method teaches you a method to utilize the power of marketing for your business to dramatically increase sales. It teaches disciplines and principles that will ensure you are constantly improving the return on investment from your marketing initiatives. This program deserves a spot on the list because it shows you how to turn marketing into a simple, easy to understand, track-able and predictable process that can rapidly increase sales for any small business owner.
You will notice that this list only includes 6 books not 10. This is not that I ran out of books to post here but I know small business owners are time strapped. For this reason I would not recommend any small business owner read 10 books on marketing. Instead I would recommend they focus their efforts on 2 or 3 marketing books they feel they can learn the most from and spend time reading about other areas of their business like human relations, corporate strategy, leadership etc. In order for you to be successful you not only need successful marketing but a good team, that is well lead and is working together on the right strategy.
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I hope you have enjoyed this article on the top ten marketing books. I would be interested to hear if you think I have missed any that should be on the list. If you feel I have missed on just contact me and let me know what you think should be added to the list.