Inside iProspect

The Top 5 Marketing Books No Matter Where You Are On Your Path

Anybody working in digital marketing knows the relentless pace at which things are moving at. New tools, new platforms, new tactics, new algorithms. But in our craft as in any,  we need to constantly remind ourselves that there are fundamentals that we must know and study to make better decisions, progress and improve. 

Below are five books that, while offering you great tactical advices, are more about giving you solid foundational understanding in marketing. They offer you fundamental frameworks and strategies that you need to study and understand.

Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik
The book you must read to really get digital performance. 

As a digital marketing agency with driving performance and results as our highest priority we would of course open with Avinash’s book. Whether you are just about to begin your first internship in marketing or you are a VP at an entrenched player that is slow to adopt digital, you must read this book. It lays out the framework and thinking that you need in order to understand the web and how it differs from any traditional marketing angle. Avinash puts an incredible focus on truly and deeply understanding users, whether it is through traditional quantitative or qualitative analysis. 

Avinash’s book is packed with lessons on every page. Forget lame metrics such as visits and unique visitors--obsess over outcomes. Test, test, test everything. The HiPPO (Highest Paid Person's Opinion) doesn’t get to dictate your digital strategy--the data does. Segment or die

While you wait for the book to arrive, dive into his post on the See-Think-Do Framework and really ask yourself if your web presence is delivering on all these points. 

Buy the book on Amazon

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Read this to understand how today’s online media works and how to get your message out there.

Ryan Holiday was the director of marketing at American Apparel by age 21. Unlike the big players in the retail place, he had virtually no marketing budget to play with and these constraints drove the insights that he unpacks in his book. He understood the fundamentals and economics of the media system and how to manipulate it. Read this book to really understand how journalists and bloggers think, how to get your message across on a virtually no budget and realize just how corrupt and awful the system can be. 

Take for example his strategy of trading it up the chain--the way of getting national media exposure by starting with a small local blog and slowly working up the chain. Read how-to in the excerpt from the book available on SlideShare

Buy the book on Amazon

Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jefferey 

Learn the key metrics to help you evaluate your marketing performance. 

Andy Johns, the mastermind behind the early growth of Facebook, Twitter and other startups offers this piece of wisdom: “The growth team manages the flow of users just as the finance team manages the flow of money.”As a marketer you should have exactly the same rigorous approach to your efforts. You need to learn to account for every dollar invested and know how to measure your performance. 

As a marketer in 2015 you can’t get away without making numerical rigour part of your job. What is your churn rate? At what CPA is your acquisition profitable? Are you factoring in CLV? Here is a list of the metrics outlined. If those questions make your head spin, grab a copy of the book. Remember how Andy Johns put it: focus on these as if you are in charge of the cashflow of your company. 

Buy the book on Amazon

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin

This is the most clear book on what strategy is, how you can define and execute one for your team. 

Not a marketing book per se, it outlines the strategic approach A.G.  Lafley used to double P&G’s sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion when Lafley was first CEO. You need to read this for the simple reason that you need to be able to understand strategy--whether it is for outlining your own or advising clients. The book does an important job of defining what strategy is not so you can catch yourself if you are off the right track. If you only read one thing this week, make sure that it is A.G. Lafley’s definition of what strategy is not.

Compliment with the key choices that need to drive your strategic approach.

Buy the book on Amazon

Zero to One: Notes on Startups by Peter Thiel

The most unconventional guide to business success by one of Sillicon Valley’s visionaries. 

Peter Thiel, the billionaire who founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies amongst the multitude of ventures he is known for, has also written this short and fantastic book on how startups work and how we should think about the future. Again, not a marketing book per se, it is still a required reading for any marketer evaluating the competitive environment. 

Take for instance his unorthodox approach to competition. This article, titled Competition Is For Losers, is at the core telling us to chart new territories as marketers and define and create categories. Would you rather be an airline in an industry known for its heavy losses or you rather be Google, reaping all the rewards being the monopolist in the search industry? The answer is clear. 

Read this book, it is distilled wisdom from years of experience in creating, running and investing in some of the world’s best-known companies.


Buy the book on Amazon

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Get a copy today and  start making better marketing decisions, progress and deliver tremendous amount of value to your clients. We promise, you will be better off because of them. 

Read the next part with five more suggestions here.

This article was originally written by Hristo Vassilev.

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