Five Must-Read Marketing Books to Add to Your Library

I am notoriously bad at picking out “favorites.” If you ask me what my favorite movie is I will ask if I can pick one per 17 genres. The same holds true for books.

I mean, just looking at the Little House on the Prairie series, how can you pick just one of those? It is odd, then, that if you ask me what books I would recommend to CMOs, I can pretty easily limit it to 5 must-reads, at least for now.

Marketing Books for CMOs

Without much further delay then, here are my recommendations for the five marketing books I would whole-heartedly recommend to every marketer today.

The Now Revolution, by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

Now Revolution - Marketing BooksI recommend this book for a few reasons. First, it is an excellent introduction to the concept of company culture, something for which CMOs are increasingly being held responsible.

Beyond that, The Now Revolution takes a big picture perspective on the evolving business world and shows how a company’s culture and social media can intersect to create a more effective corporate structure, both in terms of marketing and other factors.

The book is easy to read and offers some funny anecdotes and examples, but it is not goofy to the point where you can’t take the advice seriously.

Humanize, by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter

Humanize - Marketing BooksI view Humanize and The Now Revolution as good companion books. While The Now Revolution is more of a big picture look at issues related to culture, Humanize takes a more detailed, philosophical/scientific approach to these issues.

Notter and Grant discuss the original methodology for formulating how companies should work. Everything was built on the concept of the machine, complete with top-to-bottom structures, linear progressions, and, well, “cogs.” Grant and Notter then expand on the idea that Baer and Naslund build in The Now Revolution.

How can you get beyond that old machine-type thinking so that you can adjust to the new world of business? Where does social media play into that process and how can you make the most of it? Referencing the movie The Matrix helps make some of the more complicated ideas far more accessible.

The Social Media Strategist, by Christopher Barger

The Social Media Strategist - Marketing BooksOne of the complaints you hear regularly in the online world is that a lot of the authors and speakers who travel to different conferences don’t really have work experience that supports what they are recommending. This is far from a concern when you read The Social Media Strategist.

Barger had to handle a substantial PR crisis when GM declared bankruptcy, and a lot of what he learned from that massive experience is passed on in this book. While Barger notes in the introduction that he is speaking primarily through the prism of big corporations because that is where his experience has been, CMOs at smaller companies will still find his advice and recommendations valuable.

This book will remind you that it’s important, and indeed essential, to have a crisis communications strategy and a social media strategy in place long before that first online account is established. Hopefully your company won’t have to deal with anything on the scope of a declaration of bankruptcy, but no matter what your company may be facing in this new world of business, this book will help you figure it out.

Social Media ROI, by Olivier Blanchard

Social Media ROI - Marketing BooksJust as I view The Now Revolution and Humanize as strong companions, I view Social Media ROI and The Social Media Strategist as a “box set.”

While The Social Media Strategist deals a little more specifically with larger companies, social media, and crisis communications, Social Media ROI digs into the big picture a little more. How can your company even begin to think about jumping into social media? How can your company (whether you are a for-profit or a nonprofit) use social media as a tool? How can you make sure nobody “goes rogue” and misrepresents your brand or your company online?

There are a lot of excellent diagrams and step-by-step instructions that will make you want to keep this book right by your keyboard on your desk as you work with your company to improve internal and external communications.

Marketing in the Round, by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich

Marketing in the Round - Marketing BooksFinally, there is Marketing in the Round, which moreso than the other four on this list is about marketing as a whole rather than just marketing via social media channels. This book reminds you how important it is to bust silos in your company, no matter what you want to accomplish, and for that reason it’s a good companion book with any of the other four books I’ve recommended here.

Marketing in the Round offers an excellent refresher course on key marketing concepts like paid versus earned media, relationships with your stakeholders, different types of marketing strategies, and more.  Social Media does get coverage in the book, but marketing itself gets the focus here.

So, these are five books I would without hesitation recommend to any marketer working today. What would you add?

Marjorie Clayman is VP of Client Services at her family’s full service marketing firm,Clayman Marketing Communications.   For more from Margie on the Vocus Blog,click here.

Image: Paul Lowry (Creative Commons)

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