Books?! Who reads them anymore in this attention-span shortened digital-centric age? Answer: leading marketers and winning strategists with an edge over the competition, that’s who!
A great book opens up new perspectives and skill sets, showing the familiar – and unfamiliar – in a new light. By highlighting different approaches, a good book can be nothing short of transformative.
With that said, we here at Selligent compiled a list of works that have proven useful companions along our digital marketing journeys. Perhaps not the most obvious choices, but well worth your time, we promise.
Here are the 5 Books Every Digital Marketer Should Read...
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann. Like the opposing forces of Yin and Yang, our mind is comprised of two cognitive systems: System 1 is quick, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slow, contemplative, and logical. While making fast, intuitive choices makes us feel confident and powerful, it also invites misjudgement and logical errors. So in some cases, slow thinking can be better. Psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Daniel Kahnemann presents a convincing model of human cognition – and the mental glitches that tend to get us into trouble. Marketers who choose this book will gain invaluable insights into the process of decision-making.
Inspiring quote: “The world makes much less sense than you think. The coherence comes mostly from the way your mind works.”
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. You can’t always get what you want, the Rolling Stones famously said. But as it turns out, some people can! At least they are really, really good at getting exactly what they want from other people. What is their secret? What makes people say “Yes?” And what can marketers do in order to get them there? Based on 35 years of empirical research, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini defines the six Weapons of Influence – and how to be their friend, not their target. A timeless classic that you want to read. Like, right now!
Inspiring quote: “The truly gifted negotiator, then, is one whose initial position is exaggerated enough to allow for a series of concessions that will yield a desirable final offer from the opponent, yet is not so outlandish as to be seen as illegitimate from the start.”
Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business by Jay Conrad Levinson. A true David VS Goliath story, this book declared war on traditional marketing and its big-budget approach – and put the power in the hands of individual marketers. By measuring success in terms of relationships between consumers and brands, the book anticipated the CRM revolution several decades in advance: “It costs six times more to sell a product or a service to a new customer than it does to an existing customer.” First published in 1983, Jay Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing approach taught small businesses to bark like the biggest dogs in the business – and spawned a slew of follow-up books (including Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet). If you were stranded on an island with just one book about the art of marketing, this better be it.
Inspiring quote: “When you ask the right questions, consumers will tell you what to do to make your business more profitable. Simply by listening to consumers, you will do the smart thing far more often than if you simply decide to go it alone.”
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer. Here’s a wild card that’s not your typical marketing book. The Art of Asking explains the essence of crowd-funding, based on the experience of the woman behind the world’s most successful music Kickstarter project. Her manifesto is also full of insights into the act and psychology of asking others for help: “If you’re not truly willing to accept ‘No’ for an answer, you’re not really asking, you’re demanding — you’re begging.” A layered and enlightening read, Palmer’s book removes the stigma from asking others for support. And on a fundamental level, the rock star and celebrated TED speaker achieves more than that: A profound investigation into how to get other people to believe in your idea and follow along on your journey of making it a reality. And isn’t that what marketers do on a daily basis?
Inspiring quote: “Asking for help with shame says: You have the power over me. Asking with condescension says: I have the power over you. But asking for help with gratitude says: We have the power to help each other.”
Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson. Hardly any other person has shaped the digital age to such an extent as Steve Jobs. The founder of Apple, man behind culture-defining products such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPad, and iPhone, counter-cultural icon, Buddhist, and billion-dollar business man built a legacy at the intersection of culture and digital technology. A legacy that is, by default, full of contradiction – but also tons of inspiration. Not a marketing book per se, but packed with gems of wisdom about innovative thinking, entrepreneurship, branding, and product marketing. Walter Isaacson sat down with Steve Jobs for over forty interviews over two years, and questioned hundreds of colleagues, friends, and companions. The result is a stunning portrait of a man who saw where the future was going, and took everyone along for the ride.
Inspiring quote: “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’ People don't know what they want until you show it to them.”