Last updated on March 30th, 2023 at 07:37 pm
If you’re new to marketing, it can be tough to know where to start. There are so many different books on the subject and it can be hard to know which ones will give you the best insights into the world of marketing. In fact, every marketer who’s experienced an inkling of success believes that they should write a book about marketing and then use whatever marketing tactics have worked for them in the past to ensure you buy their, oftentimes, self-aggrandizing books that bluster on and on without giving you insights into what truly works or actionable insights to put into practice. $24.99 and 6-hours later you’re, not only not closer, but further to becoming the marketer you set out to be.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of five best marketing books for beginners. Each of these books will teach you essential skills and give you valuable insights that will help you succeed in the world of marketing. So if you’re just starting out, make sure to check out these four amazing books!
The 5 Best Marketing Books for Beginners
In no particular order…
Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Author: Chip & Dan Heath
Few marketing books have had the impact this one had on me. In “Made to Stick,” the Heath brothers explore why some ideas take off and others don’t. It’s essential reading for anyone in marketing, especially if you’re responsible for coming up with new ideas or campaigns. The book is full of insights and examples that will help you make your own ideas more successful. See the book’s “success” principles below:
- S – Simple
- U – Unexpected
- C – Concrete
- C – Credible
- E – Emotional
- S – Stories
Some of my best lessons are from this framework. I talk in nothing but data and analogies because one is concrete and one is sticky. There’s no better framework for getting someone to remember your message.
“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” – Edward Tuft
When crafting your message try to think of simpler analogies that are easy to grasp. You can weave this into your story telling by building in this starter – “It’s like…”
It’s like Uber for “X” was the pitch of thousands of startups. Why? Because people already knew Uber and that was a simple representation of what they were hoping to build.
“We ignore it because we’ve been trained to ignore it. When you show up in a place, at a time, with a format that we’ve been trained to ignore, we’ll ignore you.” – Seth Godin
Pattern interrupt is the ultimate tactic for delivering the unexpected. Look at expected messaging or product features and come at them from an interesting angle.
Avis telling the world that they were second best. Dairy Queen flipping the blizzard upside down. Google offering 1GB of storage for Gmail… all of these are the “expected” now, but when they came out, they were the unexpected marketing strategies that made every marketer stand up and listen. They were brilliant unexpected advertising.
“Abstraction is the enemy of meaning.” – Marshall Ganz
Concrete ideas are easy to remember and easy to share. They’re also more likely to be acted on than abstract ones. In fact, a Wharton study showed that concrete language increased purchase intentions by up to 12% and actual purchases by 13-30%.
When you’re creating your message, try to use specific images and examples that people can easily visualize. Rather than telling customers how you “optimize landing pages”, tell them that you “convert more customers”. Cut the jargon. Get concrete.
“In God we trust, all others bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming
If you want people to believe your message, you need to add credibility. Give them the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Show them the research that supports your claims. Use case studies and customer testimonials to show that what you’re saying is true.
This is why influencer marketing is so powerful. By lending their voice, they’re assigning instant credibility.
Business owners and digital marketers without credibility are shouting into the void. Identify those areas that can lend to your credibility and you’re sure to be a success.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
The best way to connect with people emotionally is to tell them your story. Why did you start your business? What drives you to do what you do? When people feel a personal connection to your story, they’re more likely to remember your message and act on it.
If you’ve ever seen Steve Jobs talk, you know that he weaves emotion into every story he tells. He’s not just selling a product, he’s building a connection with his audience. And that’s what emotional marketing is all about.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
People love stories. They always have and they always will. Stories are how we make sense of the world and connect with each other.
When you’re crafting your marketing message, try to think of it as a story. What is the beginning, middle, and end? Who are the characters? How does it make your customer feel?
If you’re not already familiar, you should check out Russell Brunson’s Epiphany Bridge for a masterclass in storytelling marketing.
Rating – ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Made to Stick belongs at the top of your must read marketing list. I’ve outlined their “success” principles above, but the book is worth multiple read-throughs
Author: Jonah Berger
“Virality isn’t born, it’s made.” – Jonah Berger
Schmoyoho just set TikTok on fire with the recent viral auto-tuned song about… corn. It amassed more than 56M views in a week.
What so many people don’t know is that the Gregory brothers have been viral hits for years. In fact, since 2007, they’ve released more than 45 songs that have at least 5M+ views (the most popular amassing more than 150M+ views).
What does this have to do with Jonah Berger’s marketing book? Everything.
In his book, Berger asserts that word of mouth marketing is the most powerful marketing strategy. He breaks down six key “steps” to ensure that your business or content is on the tip of people’s tongues and spreads like wildfire.
- S – Social Currency
- T – Triggers
- E – Emotions
- P – Public
- P – Practical Value
- S – Stories
At our core, we’re social animals. We want to fit in and be part of the tribe. When we talk about products or services, we want to make sure that we sound like an insider.
Think about it this way…
If you’re at a party and somebody asks what you do for a living, are you more likely to say, “I’m an accountant” or “I help businesses save money on their taxes”?
The answer is obvious, right? The second response sounds more impressive and makes you sound like an insider. It’s social currency.
In order for your message to have social currency, it needs to make the person look good when they share it.
A trigger is something that sets off a chain of events. It could be a sound, a sight, or even a smell. But whatever it is, it needs to be closely associated with your message or product.
For example, Red Bull is often given away for free at nightclubs. When people are tired and want to keep dancing, the sight of a Red Bull is a trigger that says, “Drink me and you’ll have more energy.”
As mentioned in Made to Stick, people buy based on emotion and then justify their purchase with logic. So it’s important to tap into those emotions in your marketing.
Depending on what you’re selling, different emotions will be more effective. For example, if you’re selling a life insurance policy, fear might be a good emotion to tap into. But if you’re selling vacation packages, happiness is probably a better choice.
The best way to do this is to create ads or content that evokes an emotional response.
If you want people to talk about your product, it needs to be visible. The more visible it is, the more likely people are that they’ll talk about it.
One way to do this is with what Berger calls a “badge of honor.” This is something that people can display to others that shows they’re using your product.
For example, when somebody buys a Tesla, they’re not just buying a car. They’re also buying status. They can show off their badge of honor to their friends and family.
If you want to see your message shared, then it needs to be of use. Value gets passed along.
A prime example of this is the How to Tie a Tie
YouTube video. It’s been watched more than 99M+ times due to it’s practical value.
This is another common theme from Made to Stick. People love stories. In fact, we’re hardwired for them.
Think about the last time you went to a party and somebody asked you, “What’s new?” You didn’t just give them a list of facts, did you? You told them a story.
In fact, 80% of consumers would prefer brands tell stories. Create a narrative that draws people in and it’s much more likely to get shared.
Rating – ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
In short, the book is a great example of the fact that virality isn’t happened upon, but rather controlled. There are brands and creators who have tapped into Jonah Berger’s tips on social currency, triggers, emotions, public visibility, practical value, and stories to ensure that they are consistently shared.
Author: Drew Eric Whitman
Cashvertising is the copywriting handbook. It’s one of those marketing books that looks like it’s an immediate pass, but the book is packed with brilliant tips and tricks used by ad agencies to garner attention in a crowded world. Some of the book can feel a bit dated given its focus on print ads, but the tactics transfer into the digital age.
By focusing on the psychology of ‘why people buy’, Cashvertising provides actionable advice for writing copy that sells.
Rating – ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ☆
This is one of the best books for beginners. It is an absolute must read as you build your marketing plan to try to grow your business.
$100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No
Author: Alex Hormozi
If you’re not familiar with Alex Hormozi, you are wholly missing out. Alex lived on the floor of his newly founded gym in order to get it to profitability. He was broke at the age of 26 and had built a net worth of $100M by the age of 31… 5 years!!
He has completely changed the way I think about pricing and packaging. At its core, it can be broken down into the following sections:
- Determine your prospect’s dream outcome
- List all of the obstacles they face
- Turn those obstacles into solutions
- Determine how you can deliver those solutions
- Narrow down those opportunities to high value / low cost
- Package solutions together in a way that provides 10X the value of the cost to purchase
Bonus: Use marketing tactics such as scarcity, urgency, & guarantees
Rating – ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The man is a marketing expert. If you want a successful business, start here. Readers would be foolish not to follow the marketing tactics and strategies laid out in this comprehensive guide into how to get customers to scramble to purchase your solution.
While this isn’t one of your typical marketing books, Keenan is a sales expert and this book is his magnum opus. What good is marketing if you a) don’t understand what your customer wants and b) In it, he lays out the framework for what he calls “Gap Selling.”
“Gap selling is a process of tactfully challenging buyers’ assumptions, exposing (and sometimes confirming) the true size of their problem, then correctly assessing the impact it will have on their lives. The more impact, the larger the gap. And the larger the gap, the more valuable the solution, i.e., your product or service.”
The basis of Gap Selling is that in order to close a deal, you must first find the gap. You don’t need to sell. You need to diagnose.
Your job is to understand their The gap is the difference between where your prospect is currently and where they want to be. Once you find the gap, you need to sell them on why your product or service is the best way to close it.
Rating – ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
It’s a simple framework, but it’s incredibly effective. If you’re in sales or marketing, this is a must-read. It is hands down one of the best books for beginners who are trying to better understand their customers and drive sales for their business.
If you’re brand new to marketing, these are the best marketing books for beginners and, frankly, the only list that you need in order to start to better understand your audience and how to connect with them. I’d love to know what you think and if you’d add anything else.