As a marketing student, I wanted to be reading about things I would actually utilize in my career.
I dreamed of classes where the professor would assign us the best marketing books that I would actually want to keep instead of reselling as soon as the final was over.
I wanted to read books over hot-button marketing trends.
Marketing Trends and Topics
Everything is about content now. Even if you are not a digital marketer, or a content marketer, you're still creating online content.
When was the last time you watched a television ad that was not on the Super Bowl? Right, that's what I thought. Marketing is not about interrupting people, as was once thought. Consumers are wily and have managed to get around that.
Now, it's about meeting people where they are. And they are on the internet, so you better be writing content to reach them. This is a foreign concept to many marketers, so luckily there are a lot of best practice guides.
See above. However, business on social media is very, very different from personal social media. And there is strategy involved. It is not enough to simply stick your name and logo on a Facebook profile and expect millennials to flock. There's a guide for that too.
Become a Resource
I'll say it again, customers are wily.
They know all the old selling tricks, and they've decided they don't want to be sold to anymore. Companies have to re-strategize and become a resource to their customers.
Gone are the days of spending the brand's marketing budget on telling people why they need to buy your product and then having to explain that ROI to your VP. Instead, spend the budget on content creation, and social media strategy, so consumers are going to you for answers to their problems. Don't worry, there's a guide for that too.
So for those of you who may be struggling as I struggled, look no further.
These are the best marketing books. They are hip, happening, and useful.
The 5 Best Marketing Books for the Hip, Happening Marketer
When I was looking up lists of the best marketing books for 2015, this Ann Handley book came up consistently.
Another perk is that while it may seem like it is geared for creating content, it is also a book that will help make you a better writer. So even if you haven't bought into the content marketing hype yet (BTW, if this is you, you need to read more of our blog posts, like this one), you'll still appreciate this book as something that will make you a better all-around marketer.
2. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
Again with the content marketing. Joe Pulizzi's book also showed up consistently on best marketing books lists, and he's the kind of guy who has his finger on the pulse of relevant marketing, so this is for sure a must-read.
I also think the title says it all. The trick with content marketing is that there is so much content out there, breaking through all the noise to reach your customers can be tough. And any marketer who sees the title "Marketing Less" on a book and isn't curious needs to check themselves.
Any of Jay Baer's books pretty much achieve the relevancy factor in terms of marketing to the times.
Sample line: "Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers".
He also has his own daily podcast on YouTube where he rants about mostly relevant marketing things for three minutes, which makes this millennial's heart go pitter-patter.
I recently read an article about how many millennials, and pretty much everyone else, don't feel like their talents are being fully utilized by the company they work for.
But how do you know how to use your strengths in the best possible way for this career path that you've set out on? Tim Rath's book goes along with Gallup's Strength Assessment, which if you haven't taken yet, is well worth $10 and an hour of your time.
While it's not a marketing book specifically, it does show you how to use what you're good at for the good of your company and job position, so win-win
So right about this point I've probably lost you, right? Keeping Customers by John Sviokla was published by the Harvard Business Review in 1993. This book is almost as old as I am.
And yet, still one of the best books I've ever read. I'm sure everyone has heard the old adage, "It's cheaper to keep your existing customers than to buy new ones?" Still totally true, and this book explains why that is and how you can apply it, with interesting and relevant case studies to match.
So there's my list. Any that I missed? Or do you disagree with any of my choices? Call it out in the comments below.