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9 Books Every Marketer Should Read

Critical Reading List To Improve Marketing Effectiveness

As we usher in 2014, what better time to pick up a new book to help shape and improve your marketing effectiveness for the New Year. I’ve asked around the team at Lattice and a handful of thought leaders in the marketing space to nominate their favorite book of the year. These books have been described as having the most impact in the way we do and think about marketing and business in general. Without further ado, here is the list. Whether you read physical books, peruse on your Kindle or listen to an audio version – enjoy!

CONTAGIOUS: WHY THINGS CATCH ON

Contagious by Jonah Berger sheds light on what makes things go viral, like no other. He argues that going viral isn’t by chance. It is made. He outlines six principles to digest the phenomenon in a

simple, fun fashion while sharing examples along the way. His methodology can be applied to marketing and business at large in a way that makes ideas stick and thrive. Berger helps answer the questions: why is this email forwarded so much, why is this video watched so frequently and more. A great read for those shaping product strategy and creating content!

DECISIVE: HOW TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES IN LIFE AND WORK

Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath offers new research and insight into how we make decisions. The Heath brothers analyzed decision-making literature to create a simple 

four-step approach to making better decisions. So many of us toil and over think all sorts of decisions and the Heath brothers are making the attempt to get us out of our own heads and to make a smarter decision in a shorter period of time. Added bonus? The book has one page cheat sheets for each chapter to help you get the gist in no time. Hint: There’s more to decision making than listing out the pros and cons. Instead focus on WRAP – widen your options, reality-test your assumptions, attain distance before deciding and prepare to be wrong.

FOCUS: THE HIDDEN DRIVER OF EXCELLENCE

Focus 

by Daniel Goleman examines the rare resource of attention. He argues that attention follows the ‘use it or lose it model’. Very much like a muscle, if you use it infrequently, it can whither away and vise versa. From Goleman’s perspective, we have three types of attention – inner, other and outer focus. To operate at peak performance, we need all three. His book offers research and findings to help calm the wandering mind, improve habits and harness new skills to work out the attention muscle.

CTRL ALT DELETE: REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS. REBOOT YOUR LIFE. YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT.

Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel was nominated by Adam Singer, analytics advocate at Google. This book may sound like it is about change management, but that is selling it short. Joel dives into five areas that have altered the business landscape as we know it and argues for a complete reset and reboot. The book offers a framework for navigating in what Joel calls ‘business purgatory’ and answers the question, “how do you pivot your business to capitalize on just how much our world has changed, and get the edge on where all of this is taking us?”

LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK AND THE WILL TO LEAD

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, nominated by Jon Russo of B2B Fusion Group, was at the top of this list for many of my female colleagues, but many argue that both sexes should read the book. At the core of the book, Sandberg forces the reader to ask the question – are you more concerned with being liked or succeeding? Sandberg blends together her experiences, research and data to demystify the choices and obstacles of women in the workplace. The result is solid advice that will shift how you operate in the workplace – and at home.

JAB, JAB, JAB, RIGHT HOOK: HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY IN A NOISY, SOCIAL WORLD

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk, nominated by Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, provides practical how-to advice on setting a social media strategy that actually works. Context is now king and the delivery pattern of communicating via social media channels has inherently shifted. Do you beat steadily on all social channels and deliver jab after jab? Or should you go in for the kill with a right hook? Vaynerchuk argues that content is still important, but that it must be customized and tailored to specific social media channels in order for it to be a knock out.

EPIC CONTENT MARKETING: HOW TO TELL A DIFFERENT STORY, BREAK THROUGH THE CLUTTER, AND WIN MORE CUSTOMERS BY MARKETING LESS

Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, nominated by Michael Brenner, VP of Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP, is the practical guide to content marketing. Many businesses are already sold on the why of content marketing. This books offers the how, step by step. What’s more, the book offers solid examples and checklists to help you get started right away. In addition to advice on content creation, Pulizzi also taps into distribution and ‘marketing your marketing’ with insight on perfecting your social media and search strategies.

BRICK BY BRICK: HOW LEGO REWROTE THE RULES OF INNOVATION AND CONQUERED THE GLOBAL TOY INDUSTRY

Brick by Brick

 by David Robertson, nominated by Pam Didner, IBM’s global marketing strategist, uncovers the company’s approach to business and creativity. Despite popular belief, there was a time when LEGO’s business was floundering. It had failed to keep up wth the times and nearly fell to bankruptcy. With a new management team, the company was able to harness innovation and get back in the game. The book outlines LEGO’s strategy including how it began to rely on customers and large groups for co-creation of new toys. While LEGO is a consumer company, there are several lessons B2B marketers can apply to their organizations.

YOUTILITY: WHY SMART MARKETING IS ABOUT HELP NOT HYPE

Youtility by Jay Baer, nominated by Michael Brenner, is the new guide on helping versus selling. I remember hearing Baer speak at the first Content Marketing World in Cleveland pitching the concept 

of help not hype. This concept is nearly central to the core of content marketing (remember Ann Handley and CC Chapman’s share not shill rule from Content Rules?) and should be the same for all of marketing and business. Baer offers nice examples of companies following the youtility model and sheds light on a process that you can embed into your workflow to make customers for life.

If you’re itching for more reading material, we shared a list of five books to improve sales and marketing effectiveness last year.

 IMAGE CREDIT(S): ABEE5

Written by

Amanda Maksymiw
December 31, 2013

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