6 Must-Have Marketing Books

If I taught a marketing class for a college, these would be my text books. Roughly placed in order of how they should be read, but not mandatory.

Duncan’s Marketing 101:

  1. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin– Not my favorite Seth Godin book, but it drives home the point that marketing starts (and ends, really) with producing a remarkable product.
  2. The End of Marketing as We Know It, Sergio Zyman – This is the guy that launched New Coke in the mid-80’s and 84 days later brought back Classic Coke. This is the first book on marketing I ever read that really opened my eyes.
  3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al Ries – Ries is one of the forefathers of good writing on marketing. His writing style is possibly too simple, and his anecdotes and laws are certainly spawned of the more traditional marketing/advertising age of the mid-80s, but the points still apply. He’s better known for Positioning, but I think all those points and a few others are in this book, so I would just go with that.
  4. Your Marketing Sucks., Mark Stevens – There are lots of to-the-point nuggets in this one, especially when it comes to tactics. Overall, this book reminds me that you must be able to construct a single, consistent, easy-to-understand message for your marketing efforts to really work.
  5. Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea, Seth Godin – This is my favorite Godin book. It takes Purple Cow and brings it to life with idea-starters and inspiration to really push it to the edge.
  6. The One Minute Manager Anniversary Ed: The World’s Most Popular Management Method, Ken Blanchard – OK, I know this is a management book, not a marketing book. But all marketers must know how to work with people, since most people in an office are reacting to what the marketing department is launching. Knowing how to communicate it with different people, set expectations and get it done is completely invaluable, and this is the best management book I’ve ever read (probably cuz it has only 3 very easy-to-remember points and that’s about all I can handle).

I’ll be working on Marketing 102 (or 201, or 1402, or whatever colleges call them these days).

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