10 Marketing Books to Add to Your Holiday Gift List

Books make fantastic gifts but it is tough to choose the right ones. To help you narrow the choice down for the marketers, customers, partners and vendors on your list or even for you, these are our favorite marketing books.

Book covers for blog

1. Youtility: Why Smart Companies Are Helping, Not Selling

As Jay Baer discusses, “The difference between helping and selling is just 2 letters. But those letters make all the difference. Your company needs to become a YOUtility. Sell something and you make a customer. Help someone and you make a customer for life.” The book advocates a marketing strategy that creates devoted customers by providing something to them which is genuinely and inherently useful.

2. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less

In today’s age, when customers are very connected and aware about the latest products, services and tools in the market, you can’t interrupt them with mediocre or irrelevant content or sales pitches—they simply switch off! Joe Pulizzi is one of the world’s leading experts on content marketing and he explains how to draw prospects and customers in by creating information with which they actually want to engage. The book is an excellent guide to get all the tools to start creating and disseminating content that leads directly to greater profits and growth.
Joe Pulizzi emphasizes we focus far too much on channels first: from blogs and Facebook to Pinterest and all the others out there today, but content marketing is about the context, customer and relevance that matters.

3. Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

This book is packed with straightforward advice and great humor. Andy Sernovitz asks a simple question, “What would people prefer—Love or Money?” He answers that you can buy advertising, which is paying people to talk about you. But when you earn word of mouth, people talk out of love rather than money. And this love grows and builds over time. Your cost of customer acquisition starts to drop as your fans and followers bring in new customers for free. Great companies reinvest these savings into more reasons to talk, which begins to snowball into an unbeatable competitive advantage that carries them through both good times and bad.

4. Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing

Return on Influence explores how brands are identifying and leveraging social media marketers to build product awareness, brand buzz and new sales.
In this revolutionary book, marketing consultant Mark W. Schaefer explains how to use social networking and influence marketing to achieve the following goals:

  • In-depth explanations of the sources of online influence and how they can work for or against you
  • Interviews with more than 50 experts, including tech blogger Robert Scoble, Influence author Robert Cialdini and industry thought leaders such as Mitch Joel, Jay Baer and Christopher S. Penn
  • Practical, actionable tips to increase your own personal power and online influence
  • More than a dozen original social influence marketing case studies

5. Riches in Niches: How to Get Rich in Your Niche

Finding a tight market niche where you and your business stand out is the most challenging aspect of marketing for most people. You may not have heard of Riches in Niches, but it’s the go-to book that marketing experts give their clients when the subject turns to how to find a profitable market niche. Susan Friedman focuses on 7 strategies for success in her book to help you position yourself as an expert, which she terms “nichepreneur”. The niche marketing strategies include:

  • Create a name
  • Build media muscle
  • Move movers, shake shakers
  • Catch writing fever
  • Produce products
  • Share wisdom
  • Offer services

6. Defending Your Brand: How Smart Companies Use Defensive Strategy to Deal with Competitive Attacks

Defending business is critical for companies of all sizes. If you fail at continual growth, you will miss your objectives. If you fail defending your business, you can lose everything. In this book, Tim Calkins reviews why the defensive strategy is so important and explains how a company can meet a competitive threat with a strong and effective defense plan. He shows businesses how to understand and get competitive intelligence; how to determine if companies are at risk; and how to blunt competitors’ efforts. This book also provides insight into what the established players are likely to do when you launch your new venture. Before introducing a new product, it is important to think about how the existing companies will respond and then adjust your launch plan accordingly.

7. The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency

The Shopper Economy helps marketers capture and monetize customer interactions. Liz Crawford, a leading marketing innovator and consumer behavior analyst, gives a fast-paced and comprehensive look at how the unprecedented availability of information is a boon to brands, because it lets shoppers watch and share ads, recommend products and interact with brands and each other.
Crawford demonstrates how brands like 7-Eleven, Carnival Cruises and Kia are using Shopkick, Foursquare and other platforms to empower consumers by encouraging and rewarding everyday activities—entering a store, messaging, recommending, “Liking”, playing and more. From these examples you will learn how to:

  • Measure and assess accurately the value of shoppers’ activities
  • Translate the four key shopper behaviors—attention, participation, advocacy and loyalty—into “shopper currency,” real and virtual rewards that have measurable value to buyers and sellers
  • Improve your business’s ROI in shopper marketing by avoiding activity-for activity’s sake and other common pitfalls
  • Align your brand more seamlessly with your shoppers’ own personal “brands”

The book focuses on a new phenomenon in which, in addition to shoppers purchasing brands, brands are purchasing shoppers’ behavior. The author discusses a new dynamic where shoppers can actually earn value in exchange for displaying one of four behaviors: paying attention, participating, advocating or committing. None of these behaviors directly involve purchases. The shopper can earn value by simply behaving.

8. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

People trust the recommendations of friends, family members, colleagues or even strangers with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by faceless companies. John Jantsch offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. Keep those customers happy and they will refer your business to even more customers. Some of Jantsch’s strategies include:

  • Talk with your customers; not at them. Thanks to social networking sites, companies of any size have the opportunity to engage with their customers as never before—but the key is listening.
  • The sales team is the most important part of your marketing team. Sales people are the company’s main link to customers, who are the main source of referrals. That’s why getting them on board with your referral strategy is critical.
  • You should educate your customers. Referrals are only helpful if they’re given to the right people. Tell customers who they should be talking to.

This smart and practical guide is essential reading for companies looking to grow without fat marketing budgets.

9. Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have

Today, everything we do creates data and the volumes are enormous. Every time someone views something online, enters search on Google or even surfs the web on a smart phone, another chunk gets added—in real time—to the multibillion gigabyte (and growing) trove of data that can help us better understand and predict consumer behavior. We no longer need expertise in math or statistics or even expensive modeling software to get the most out of all these revealing consumer insights. A revolution in data analysis is underway and the methods and tools for aggregating and analyzing this “data deluge” are suddenly far simpler, less expensive and more precise than they were.
In Sexy Little Numbers, Dmitri Maex reveals how you can turn data into actionable strategies that drive real growth and revenue. He makes the case that if you look differently at the existing data you have about your customers you can improve: 1) your strategy, 2) the tactics you use to carry out your strategy and 3) the execution of your tactics.

10. The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing

Email marketing is an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool. But it can also be a challenge because the inbox is a hostile environment. Whether your email is noteworthy or an annoying waste of your customers’ time depends on your ability to stick with the fundamentals of good marketing and authentic relationship-building. With The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, you’ll learn to avoid the common mistakes of email marketing, give your customers content they love and combine an effective email marketing strategy with your traditional marketing efforts, giving you way more bang for your marketing buck.

If you currently use Constant Contact as your email marketing system, this book is a must-read so that you can get the most out of it. However, this marketing book isn’t just for Constant Contact customers. It’s for any business that wants to do email marketing right.

Have you come across any interesting marketing books this year? I hope you enjoy browsing these books as much as I enjoyed putting the list together for you! I wish you all happy and healthy holidays!

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

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