If you own a company, you (hopefully) understand the importance marketing plays in the success of your business. That being said, there’s a good chance you haven’t worked in marketing before or studied marketing in college. Lucky for you, we’ve prepared the 7 top marketing books every business owner should read.
Welcome to your crash course in marketing.
1. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
If you’ve never read anything by Malcolm Gladwell before, you’re missing out. Not a marketer per se, Gladwell is a phenomenal journalist, author, and podcaster that discusses a wide range of topics—everything from marketing to what makes people successful to the story of David and Goliath.
In his debut book The Tipping Point, Gladwell discusses how little, seemingly insignificant things can make big differences. In the words of Gladwell, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” In his book, Gladwell shows real world examples of tipping points and explains how they can be created.
If you’re looking to build brand awareness, why not consider creating a tipping point?
2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
Similar to The Tipping Point, Contagious discusses why certain products and ideas become popular. The author Jonah Berger explains why some information ‘goes viral’ while other information doesn’t. Berger breaks down virality to a science that any business can implement into their marketing strategy.
This book provides specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing ads and content that people will share. Whether you’re a director at a big company, a small business owner trying to create awareness for your brand, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea contagious and spread like a virus.
3. Dotcom Secrets by Russel Brunson
Dotcom Secrets is the one book we hesitated putting on this list. Author Russel Brunson also happens to be the founder and owner of ClickFunnels—an easy-to-build sales funnel tool. His book is just one big advertisement for ClickFunnels. That being said, we still think Dotcom Secrets is well worth the read and deserves to be on our list of top marketing books every business owner should read.
Any well-experienced marketer will tell you, where there’s a successful marketing campaign, there’s a well-thought out marketing funnel. Running Google Ads for your business? Great! Where is the traffic going? If your answer is your website’s home page, you need to read Dotcom Secrets. Every great Google, Facebook, and email marketing campaign needs a solid funnel to back it up. In Dotcom Secrets, Brunson explains the importance of funnels in online marketing and how to create said funnels.
4. All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is an author, marketer, businessman, and entrepreneur that has written seventeen books and continues to write a daily blog. His advice on marketing is priceless, to say the least. We actually joked that maybe we need to write a separate blog post titled “7 Top Marketing Books Written By Seth Godin.” It was hard to choose just one for this list (if you couldn’t tell).
In All Marketers Are Liars, Godin explains that great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell stories—stories we want to believe. But he follows that idea up with a word of caution. If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and dishonest, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse. All Marketers Are Liars will help you tell your company’s story in the most honest and effective way possible.
5. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is one the most famous marketing and sales books out there—and for good reason. Written in 1984, Influence’s principles still ring true today. The end goal of marketing and sales is to persuade people to take a desired action. Influence is a playbook for—well—influencing people to take those actions.
In Influence, Cialdini presents 6 basic principles of persuasion: scarcity, authority, social proof, sympathy, reciprocity, and consistency. As you read this book, you may have several aha! moments as you realize the many times these tactics have been used on you. You’ll finish reading Influence, however, with a better understanding of why people do what they do.
6. Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller
Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller has had an enormous influence on Set Fire Creative’s own branding. Our slogan—Your brand has a unique story, let us tell it through digital marketing—was influenced by Building A Story Brand. In fact, we’ve written a few blogs on the subject in the last few years.
Author Donald Miller does a great job at explaining the importance of telling your brand’s story correctly. Too many companies make their brand the hero of their company’s story. But guess what? Your brand isn’t the hero. Your customers are. Your brand is the mentor whose purpose is to help guide the hero to the proper destination. To put it simply, your brand is Obi-Wan Kenobi while your customer is Luke Skywalker.
7. Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Another book on our list of the top marketing books every business owner should read that seems like an unofficial sequel to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Made To Stick, by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, focuses on the idea of “stickiness” which was first introduced in Gladwell’s book. The Heath Brothers seek to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable.
Made To Stick uses the acronym “SUCCES” to help characterize what makes an idea sticky. “SUCCES” stands for simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories. By learning what makes an idea stick, and by remembering the “SUCCES” acronym, you’ll be able to create marketing and PR campaigns of your own that stick—are interesting and memorable.
Did We Miss Any Books?
There are A LOT of marketing books out there and these are just the 7 top marketing books we think every business owner should read. What did you think of our list? Are there any books you would add to this list? If so, be sure to shoot us a message on social media.
Do you need help marketing your business? Look no further. Contact Set Fire Creative today for a free consultation
McCain is the founder and VP of Client Services at Set Fire Creative. When he isn’t busy helping his clients grow their business through digital marketing, you will most likely find him with his nose in a Stephen King book, eating spicy buffalo wings, hanging out with his wife and Blue Heeler Ozzy, or listening to Guns N’ Roses—sometimes all at the same time.