1. Brand, Meet Story: How to Create Engaging Content to Win Business and Influence Your Audience.
By Heather Pemberton Levy
Goodreads rating: 3.68
Hardcover 112 pages
In Brand, Meet Story, Heather Pemberton Levy makes the argument that storytelling is imperative to successful marketing. She writes, “As digital communications have grown, so has the need to use language, tone of voice, and stories, to express a brand’s humanity. The power of digital marketing allows brands to touch their audiences with content across channels including social media, websites, and e-mail at specific moments in the sales cycle..” Levy gives the reader a practical and useful guide to developing your brand’s unique story and identity to engage consumers in a way that’s compelling.
2. Marketing A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers
By Bernadette Jiwa
Goodreads rating: 3.95
Paperback 108 pages
This book is a great read if you have a marketer friend that’s gotten a bit jaded by the marketing industry. The industry does at times get a bad rap for being sneaky or deceitful. Jiwa explores the idea of looking at marketing through a new lens: through that of the customer. She argues that if marketers truly care about their customers, their needs, and experiences, then the marketing relationship becomes symbiotic and non intrusive. Jiwa writes, ” People can’t help wanting to give back the kind of behavior or service that they receive, and if we can find ways to authentically show our customers that they matter to us, then we have a better chance of mattering to them.”
3. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction
By Derek Thompson
Goodreads rating: 4.01
Hardcover 352 pages
In this book, Derek Thompson shares his compelling theory on the history of viral internet videos and other pop culture phenomenons. Why did we all participate in the ice bucket challenge, the invisible box challenge, and why did 25 million of us watch the same hilarious video of a toddler interrupting his dad’s BBC News interview? Thompson delves deep into the psychology behind why we engage certain types of content and why we don’t. He talks about what makes a hit, and controversially argues that the quality of your work alone isn’t enough to lead to success.
4. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
By Ann Handley
Goodreads rating: 4.03
Hardcover 320 pages
Everybody Writes is a book that should be on the shelf of every content marketer and copywriter. Content marketing and copywriting is an entirely different animal from writing fiction or journalism. It requires a specific set of skills and techniques that can’t necessarily just be intuited. Handley shares her years of industry experience in this thorough examination of what makes a great piece of content. She lays out best practice strategies from idea to execution. Additionally, she shares her insights into the dos and don’ts of truly successful content. This book is an excellent step by step practical manual for the beginning to the experienced content marketer.
5. The Content Trap: A Strategists Guide to Digital Change
By Bharat Anand
Goodreads rating: 4.25
Hardcover 464 pages
Bharat Anand has been a professor of economics at Harvard Business School for more than 20 years. His book, The Content Trap, is an in depth exploration into the unique challenges that come with successfully marketing a business in the digital landscape of today. Anand argues not for content for contents sake, but for the way content connects audiences. He writes, “In content worlds, we focus on the creative spark of genius and how to nurture it, or on a particular threat and how to suppress it. But in nearly every case, what’s thought of as the side effect of a product’s success is the real cause.” This book is a thorough and informative read filled with stories of organizations from The New York Times to Education.
6. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
By Seth Godin
Goodreads rating: 3.82
Hardcover 151 pages
Seth Godin has something of a cult following in the world of marketing and business. His book Tribes has been on best seller lists for more than a decade. In this book Godin discusses the phenomenon of human beings as tribal creatures. He writes, “Human beings can’t help it; we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. We are drawn to leaders and to their ideas, and we can’t resist the rush of belonging and the thrill of the new.” Godin shares with his readers his three step theory on how to become a leader and build a tribe: the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
7. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint
By Nicholas J. Webb
Goodreads rating: 4.22
Hardcover 256 pages
What Customers Crave is a book that will shatter all of your previously held beliefs about what makes good customer service. Most of us have operated under the belief that just giving customer’s what they want is all it takes to lead to a successful interaction. But what Webb proposes is that that misses the mark. He argues, “When you understand your customers by what they love and hate (their types) and not through their demographic characteristics ( such as skin color and wallet size), you begin to provide relevant and memorable human experiences. ”
8. Outliers: The Story of Success
By Malcolm Gladwell
Goodreads rating: 4.11
Hardcover 309 pages
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell masterfully challenges the reader to take a long hard look at how we define success, and how we believe people become successful. Gladwell examines “outliers” in practically every field from lawyers to musicians to computer programmers. He argues that success is more than just pure grit and will power. Gladwell writes, “It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our fore-bearers shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine.” This book is a truly delightful and inspiring read.
9. Buy-ology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
By Martin Lindstrom
Goodreads rating: 3.73
Hardcover 206 pages
Martin Lindstrom is a Danish writer and one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2009. For this book, Lindstrom conducted a neuromarketing study in which he interviewed 2,000 families from 77 countries. Buy-ology is a truly fascinating, and at times shocking, look into what motivates our decisions as consumers. He makes the argument that consumers are not as self-aware as they like to believe, and in fact often make irrational purchasing decisions. He says, “…Like it or not, all of us consistently engage in behavior for which we have no logical or clear cut explanation. This is truer than ever before in our stressed-out, technologically over wired world, where news of terror threats, fires, earthquakes…. and assorted other disasters pelts us from the moment we turn on the morning news to the time we go to bed. The more stress were under…the more irrationally we tend to behave.”
10. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
By Jay Baer
Goodreads rating: 4.04
Hardcover 240 pages
In Hug Your Haters, author Jay Baer discusses the decades old challenge of customer service. He describes what he believes are the two main types of customer service complainers: the “onstage haters” and the “offstage haters”. Onstage haters typically air their grievances in public ways such as social media channels and and online review sites like Yelp. These types of complainers aren’t just looking for a solution, they’re looking for an audience to commiserate with. Alternately, offstage haters are simply the consumers who want their issue resolved as seamlessly and as quickly as possible. His book is a thorough guide for handling every customer service issue in the book, for businesses big and small, Hug Your Haters is a valuable resource.