Every year, hundreds of books are published on the subject of marketing.
But there are five classics every marketer should read before they start brushing up on the latest publications.
Each of these five books has had a profound impact on me, and once you read them, I think you’ll see why.
Let’s start with…
The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams
This book is Number 1 for a reason.
My good friend and mentor, Roy Williams, really cut his marketing teeth in radio and wrote about his techniques in this book, the first of a trilogy.
Of all the media channels, radio relates the most to digital marketing—short, captivating messaging to a consumer who is perpetually distracted.
Think about it… when you’re in your car, you are a very passive audience. Traffic, stop lights, passengers—there are a million things to distract you from marketing messages coming at you from your radio speakers.
This is very much what it is like to advertise on digital channels where attention span is short and divided.
I believe the marketers who learn copy and marketing techniques from people who are great with radio will be well served in doing so.
Roy is one of the greatest.
(By the way, Roy’s other two books in the Wizard of Ads trilogy expand on ideas outlined in this book. They are great reads as well, but if you have to pick one, start with the first.)
Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
What I love most about this book is it really shows you how to create a great offer.
Michael Masterson (a pen name for entrepreneur Mark Ford) talks about taking a company from zero to $100 million… while stressing that there’s no point of doing anything with your business unless you have a great offer first.
(DigitalMarketer Lab Member Extra: What’s Working Now: How to Craft The Perfect Offer. Not a DM Lab member? Learn more here.)
Of equal importance, Ready, Fire, Aim gives approval to creative marketers who tend to need permission to borrow great ideas. Masterson emphasizes there is nothing new under the sun, and marketers should look to improve upon what’s already working.
The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
The Goal is primarily about management and is required reading for most business schools and MBA programs.
Written in 1984, this work inspired the lean manufacturing movement, which in turn inspired the lean startup movement.
What The Goal really taught me was the importance of processes… and, more importantly, that we as marketers are essentially building customer factories. Our customers, in essence, are the raw material and our products and services are transforming them into a better state.
I’ve talked about the importance of the Before and After State before, and how great marketers are those who are able to communicate the process of moving through these states to the customer.
Not only will The Goal help you understand this “manufacturing” process, but it will help you craft and produce great offers over and over again.
The Story Theater Method by Doug Stevenson
Everyone in this business knows the hardest thing in the world is to engage an audience.
You can have the most interesting ad in the world, but if that ad is placed on Facebook—where it’s surrounded by any number of more interesting content, from pictures of your best friend’s kid to a top trending article—there’s going to be a lot of stiff competition for a customer’s attention.
Great stories are what cut through the noise. This book outlines storytelling techniques from a speaker’s point of view, but every marketer should take note.
At the end of the day, the best marketers are the best storytellers.
Stevenson’s book will help you create compelling messaging to hold your audience’s attention.
The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky
Far too many marketers don’t understand how business works. As a result, they don’t think about creating messages that result in a sale. Never forget that your job as a marketer is to make the cash register ring.
The Art of Profitability breaks down different business models that make a company profitable. Understanding basic business functions is critical, and this is one of the best books I’ve ever seen on the subject.
These books are obviously not the be-all, end-all of marketing. But they will give any marketer a broad understanding of how business works, how to craft winning offers, and provide a great foundation for all those other books on your shelf.
(NOTE: Before you can start selling to your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)