I’m not going to lie, I’d much rather read a novel before bed than a business book. There are however a few exceptions that have made it into the bedroom and kept me reading for more than two pages.
For me, it’s got to be relevant, help me solve a problem and be actionable or, it’s got to be a good story. There are a lot of books out there that take 300 pages to explain something that could have been done in 600 words. If you’re two chapters in and suspect this to be the case, I’m all for reading or watching a few summaries online, time is precious.
Of all the marketing books I’ve read in the last 6 years, I’d recommend these 5 first:
Made to stick by Dan and Chip Heath
Packed with great examples, Made to Stick provides a simple “SUCCESS” framework to make your content memorable. They execute the principles flawlessly themselves, which is probably why it came to be at the top of my list. I love this book.
I’ve encouraged everyone in my team to read it and have seen the impact in their work. It also provides a great lexicon for talking about messaging and how it can be improved.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
I read this a few years ago when I’d just been promoted to Marketing Team Leader and one of my Directors was encouraging me to ‘think strategically’. At the time, I didn’t really know what he meant. So, as with all things, I googled it. This book came up trumps and was instrumental in helping me to think differently.
It provides the tools to help you step back, look at the bigger picture and find opportunities to differentiate your brand or product and ‘make the competition irrelevant’.
Membership Economy by Robbie Kelman Baxter
This came at the perfect time for me as we were looking to drive engagement with our community and increase usage of our platform. It’s now worn at the ears from being passed around the team for inspiration and ideas.
No industry is safe from a plucky start-up turning things on their head. Membership models, subscriptions and freemium is becoming the norm. If you’re not thinking about how you can “find your super users, master the forever transaction and build recurring revenue”, someone else will. Robbie Kelman Baxter uses the likes of Netflix, Weight Watchers and Amex to illustrate actionable strategies for succeeding in the membership economy.
Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff
This book is different from the first three in that it’s not ‘actionable’ as such but it does tell an inspiring story. Marc Benioff shares how Salesforce went from an idea to the leader of the cloud revolution. If you’re working for an organisation that has aspirations for big things, this gives an insight into strategies that can help.
The most memorable chapter explained the famous “End of Software” protest that resulted in impressive media coverage, 1,000 new sign ups to their service and two fingers up to the giants in the market. Worth a read of that chapter if nothing else!
One plus one equals three by Dave Trott
Last but not least, this is my recent favourite. It’s not just for advertisers or marketers. My boyfriend is a gas engineer and he loves it too.
I think it’s a great read for anyone who wants to be entertained and inspired to take a new angle on a problem. Each story has a powerful message behind it, whether it’s a reminder that smart people do stupid things or that “you can’t solve a problem until you’ve identified a problem’.
If you’re in a creative hole or need to refresh your brain before starting on something new, read a story by Dave Trott. When I read this book, I kept it by the kettle and read a story each time I made a cuppa. His blog is great too.
I’m always on the look out for a good read – please do recommend me your favourites.