10 Inspiring Marketing Books Every Business Owner Must Read

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marketing books every business owner must read

Table of Contents

Are you a business owner and want to level up your marketing skills? Or are you involved with marketing people and want to understand what they are talking about? Here are some of the best advertising and marketing books I would recommend for you to do that.

Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins

Written almost 100 years ago, it’s absolutely astonishing how relevant this book is even in today’s digital landscape. This book reminds you that the sole purpose of advertising is to sell, not to entertain. He describes advertising as salesmanship and that it should be based on the principles of selling. Advertising legend David Ogilvy wrote that “Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”

Quote from the book:

“Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising”

–Claude C. Hopkins, Scientific Advertising

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

One of the best copywriting books I’ve ever read. Starting from identifying your customer and teaching you how to really get to know them, this book presents 29 simple steps on writing effective sales letters but it can be applied to any marketing message including landing pages, emails, advertisements etc.

Quote from the book:

“The goal is understanding. To persuade someone, to motivate someone, to sell someone, you really need to understand that person.”

–Dan S. Kennedy, The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Positioning is one of the classic marketing books. It describes how to position your brand in a prospective customer’s mind that reflects both your company’s strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses. Al Ries and Jack Trout are often credited with developing the concept of product or brand positioning in the late ’60s and in the era of information flood, this book is more relevant than ever.

Quote from the book:

“The essence of positioning is that you give up hope of being everything to everyone and focus on dominating one specific niche. Smaller is better. You make more sales not by selling to everyone but just to a narrowly defined market niche.”

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This is a must-read when you work less in your own company (or, alternatively, quit your corporate job). Even if you didn’t aspire to only work 4 hours a week, this book will teach you a ton of useful skills such as delegating, outsourcing, time management, pricing and negotiation.

Quote from the book: 

“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.” -Tim Ferriss

Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy

This book is another advertising classic by David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather. It is a must-read for anyone involved with the communications industry.

Quote from the book:

“I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an artform, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative’.  I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” -David Ogilvy

Building Strong Brands by David Aaker

David Aaker demonstrates in this book how strong brands have been created and managed using real brand-building cases from world-famous brands such as Kodak, Intel, McDonald’s and others. Many principles of modern branding are based on this book.

Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby

From the founder of King Kong, Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency, this book reveals in the step-by-step formula for growing the sales of any business that the agency uses for their clients. While some might argue that his style is rather clickbait-y, I found this a great book that cuts through the noise. It’s a deep-dive into various aspects of marketing including customer research and psychology, copywriting and sales techniques.

Quote from the book:

“The buyers are the ones who read it. They are the ones who have all the burning questions, the ones who are looking for answers. The people who aren’t going to read your copy aren’t going to buy in any case.”

― Sabri Suby, Sell Like Crazy

The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry

In creative advertising, no amount of glossy presentation will improve a bad idea. This book focusses on the first step of every single campaign: the concept. This is a great book about creative strategies, ideas, and campaigns for students and professionals.

Quote from the book:

Without a great concept you have nothing but mutton dressed as lamb. The best choice of type or color palette or photography or illustration can’t save a bad idea. (Or as someone once crudely put it: “You can’t polish a turd.”) Concept is to advertising what the little black dress is to fashion: it will always be in fashion.

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Don’t start doing email marketing before you’ve read this book. Permission Marketing shows how to start a dialogue with your ideal customer, build a relationship over time and sell to them more effectively.

Quote from the book:

“Creating value through interaction is far more important than solving a consumer’s problem in thirty seconds.” 

Seth Godin, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers

Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing by Drayton Bird

One of the biggest names in direct marketing, Drayton Bird has an engaging, no-nonsense writing style. This classic read will show you how to plan and execute profitable direct marketing campaigns using the media of direct mail, digital marketing, copywriting, and design. Anyone involved with marketing campaigns, from juniors to seniors, buy this book.

Quote from the author:

“People only buy when they’re ready to buy. Not when you’re ready to sell.”

– Drayton Bird

Don’t have time to read?

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Keywords: marketing books, advertising books, best marketing books