- What are the benefits of reading marketing books these days? Are they even worth it when there's a sea of information on the internet?
- Although you can and should subscribe to podcasts, read blogs and follow thought leaders on social media, sometimes the best nuggets of information can be found in a book.
- Read on to discover the best web marketing books that could improve your approach to marketing, and your results.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re also responsible for marketing your business. After all, who knows your business better than you?
Thanks to social media, artificial intelligence and countless innovative technologies, the marketing world tends to evolve faster than you can say, “I’m the king of the world.”
Sure, you can subscribe to popular podcasts and blogs, attend conferences or follow influencers on social media, but some of the best pieces of advice are tucked away in a book. Only a book can give you the big picture and a thorough analysis in just one sitting.
You'll find perennial favourites and bestsellers such as “Guerrilla Marketing” or “The Long Tail” on various lists. But we wanted to unearth hidden treasures, those relatively unknown gems that small business owners swear by.
We asked 6 SavvySME members which books are worth buying that made the difference in how they approached their marketing.
Jill Brennan, Founder at Harbren Marketing
The best marketing book I’d recommend is Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts by Ryan Holliday. I don’t tend to read a lot of marketing books these days, but I read this and got a lot of value from it. This book is an engaging read with a lot of practical tips.
It looks at what makes something enduringly successful and then provides guidelines on how to achieve it with your own creation. Marketing can only take you so far if you create something that no one needs or is poorly done. However, the other part of the equation is that you can create something fabulous that no one cares or knows about. Marketing is about making them care.
Sharon Latour, CMO at Marketing Bee
- Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Digital Distraction - Derek Thomson, 2017
Incredibly insightful book to understand the rise of Instagram and fame over the internet.
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content - Ann Handley, 2014
The go-to practical guide of writing interesting content and combat writer's block.
- What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint - Nicholas Webb 2017
This is essential reading for any business that wants to grow and charm its customers.
Terry Chadban, Founder at Port Macquarie Online Marketing
Any books in the e-Myth series by Michael E. Gerber are a given, as is any of the 4-Hour series by Tim Ferriss. But I am guessing that plenty of others will nominate them, so I will go with a few which might not be as well-known but just as important for business owners.
First on my list for small business owners would have to be "Duct Tape Marketing" by John Jantsch. The book is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but the basics still apply and Jantsch regularly updates his message on his blog, so I would recommend that people read the book first before following John and his daughter Sara on the blog.
For larger and more established businesses, I recommend Gino Wickman's books, "Traction", or "Get a Grip". Wickman is the founder of EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System for businesses which we highly recommend for established businesses looking to go to the next level.
Finally, a couple of more specialized books by local authors, "Bananas About Marketing" by Franziska Iseli and Christo Hall who run a marketing agency called Basic Bananas, hence the name of the book. And "Web Marketing That Works", a book with a self-explanatory title by Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins who own Bluewire Media.
Both books cover marketing in Australia from different angles, and they are written by Aussie experts for Aussies. Well okay, Franziska is a Swaussie (Swiss-born Aussie citizen), but both books are worth a read for all business owners looking for an edge in marketing.
Steve Osborne, Director at Smarthinking
- How Brands Grow – Byron Sharp & How Brands Grow (Part 2) – Byron Sharp & Jenni Romaniuk
These books are in my view, the only thing worth reading on the subject of brands and branding. Forget David Aaker et al, they have it all wrong! These Australian authors from the Ehrenburg Bass Institute in South Australia are world leaders in evidence-based marketing. They show what works and why and are not side-tracked by the nonsense peddled by “brand-builders” in the marketing industry.
- Borrowing Brilliance – David Kord Murray
This is an eye-opening insight into what it takes to create new ideas and the process of creative thinking.
- Positioning – Trout & Ries and The New Positioning – Trout & Rivkin
Although flawed in many respects, this original work and its successor have informed, influenced and educated countless practitioners over many years. Worth reading, if just for the visionary commentary on “the mind” as the ultimate marketing battleground.
Quentin Aisbett, Chief Enthusiasm Officer at OnQ Marketing Melbourne
- Contagious - Jonah Berger
Wharton Professor Jonah Berger discusses the 6 science-backed principles that drive something to go viral. He includes a couple of examples that will stick in your mind like the $100 Cheese Steak and the hot dog shop that had a phone booth in the corner that led to a secret bar. A really exciting read.
- Trust Me, I'm Lying - Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday discusses how to “newsjack”. He highlights several examples where he generated thousands of dollars’ worth of press coverage and exactly how he went about doing it. It’s an insightful look into today’s media landscape and how we can go about manipulating it to our advantage.
Leisa Goddard, Managing Director at Adoni Media
- Start with Why - Simon Sinek
Firstly, this is not a traditional marketing book. What I love about Sinek’s book is that he perfectly sums up the rationale behind following a leader, and why they are successful. He gives splendid examples on why Martin Luther King Jr, Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers were so successful – because they knew and showcased why they did the things that made them so inspiring. His idea of the Golden Circle is a terrific way to explain why people follow leaders - not because they have to, but because they want to.
- They Ask You Answer - Marcus Sheridan
I recommend They Ask You Answer to anyone who needs an effective content strategy that will make their content appear at the top of search engine results. It’s about not trying to continuously promote yourself, but to keep your audience satisfied with real answers. This is particularly helpful and very straightforward, if you don’t know much about online content marketing.
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World - Adam Grant
Grant’s book is a great read for overcoming the struggle of trying to be original without risking everything. He gives great examples of people in corporations, government bodies, entrepreneurships, even TV production companies who defied traditions and refused to be silenced when speaking up. Rejecting conformity and improving the status quo are concepts that every marketer must reconnect with to engage audiences and lead teams.
Do you need help with
sales and marketing?
There are 490 marketing agencies on standby