I’m going to be a doing a series of blog posts cataloguing my favorite books in digital marketing and offering book reviews, but more than reviews – brief book summaries to give as much of the value as I possibly can, but hopefully it’ll inspire some people to read the full book as well.
If there’s one take away I hope you’ll get from this post with the initial list and rundown of the books I plan to review – it’s that I love to read and listen to audiobooks and believe it’s an incredible way to influence your mindset and make one more effective in your work and life.
Here it goes – Digital marketing related book reviews / book summaries I will be doing as part of this series:
1. Sell or Be Sold – Grant Cardone
A hard hitting, kick in the butt to get you revved up about selling and getting out there. Grant seeks to convince you that everything in life is made of persuasion of some type – and if you’re not getting your way, someone else is getting there way with you. He then goes into detail of some very interesting tactics to help people persuade and get people on board. Of the key insights – when people say the objection is price, it’s often something else – and he’ll regularly suggest a higher tier of price and service when someone has this objection because he knows the real reason is they just didn’t like what was being offered. If they really truly wanted it – they’d do anything it took to get it.
2. Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy is kind of an old school productivity / inspiration speaker, but this book has super practical and actionable tips for how to get your hardest stuff done first and to be super productive. Write down your 3 most important tasks the night before, and do your hardest 3 things first. “If you had to eat a frog every morning, it would likely be the hardest thing you did that day” is a way of saying don’t put off your hardest and most important things.
3. Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday
Growth hacking is really a way of saying marketing on a budget, bootstrapping your marketing, or finding ways to automate and work the system of marketing with spending an arm or a leg. Ryan runs down his journey of getting familiar with the art after being an old-school marketer and his key crucial moments as a growth hacker, which are quite impressive.
If you could only read one out of these three which would I suggest you read? Eat that Frog if you’re short on time, and Sell or Be Sold if you really need to amp up your sales efforts. Both of these are just the shot of adrenaline that will amp up productivity – Growth Hacker Marketing is great but it’s a little hard to apply Holiday’s over the top P.R. moves to most digital marketing campaigns in a scalable way.
Now if you understand that marketing is one part sales, one part persuasion and one part visual story-telling than your not confused why I throw these sales books in here. The productivity books are also deeply important to digital marketing – because when you sit at a computer all day it’s very easy to get off track; thus consistent and persistent effort to focus is particularly important in our trades.
Here are some more amazing books I will be doing digital marketing book reviews / book summaries for:
4. The One Thing – Gary Keller
The best thing about this book is the premise… and this clarifying question Gary suggests you ask yourself:
“What is the one thing I can do, that by doing it will make everything else easy or unnecessary.”
The whole theme of this book centers on this question because it’s not always about productivity, sometimes it’s about priorities and spending time on the things that matter.
5. Content Inc. – Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi is really the chief evangelist for the content marketing movement that is rising in digital marketing. The best part of his whole philosophy is that content is really about the quality you put into it, but that many companies will soon be creating, and are creating in-house publishing machines that will match larger publications soon enough.
6. Do The Work – Steven Pressfield
Do The Work is a very interesting take on what causes resistance in the creative process and how to break through it. Steven Pressfield received a lot of praise for “The Art of War” and so he continues along this theme – breaking down various high performers habits for staying out of their heads and creating habits of instinctual creativity.
If you could only read one out of these three which would I suggest you read? I’d highly suggest you read or listen to The One Thing since it’s so good at explaining what it was intended to explain. The process of determining what your one thing is in particular areas of your life and focusing on that despite everything else.
How does this emphasis on determining your one thing and then focusing on it solely relate to digital marketing? Instead of glorifying multi-tasking, as digital marketing seems to demand sometimes – this take is refreshing and will help you dive deep into your work instead of doing 5 things at once.
7. The Conversion Code – Chris Smith
Intensely practical. This book goes into very current and specific tactics to get people into your site. Even though Smith doesn’t seem to see the value in Search Engine Optimization, but he does give a hugely helpful nudge for people getting into Facebook ads. In fact, he lays it down in very clear step by step instructions. If people weren’t sure about social ads before reading this book, they’ll be on board at the end and likely take the queue of getting in and creating clear objectives with their social ad campaigns.
8. Design is a Job – Mike Monteiro
Mike Monteiro doesn’t pull any punches – largely famous for his “fuck you, pay me” rant… I mean creative mornings speech… Monteiro extols the virtues of not playing the pawn, but rather the unflinching, convincing expert as you advocate for your design decisions rather than just play the eye and hand operating photoshop for your clients. Monteiro is the bold lead designer / CEO at Mule Design, and he suggests that artists sluff off the term “creative,” and embrace a more dominant role by focusing on business goals.
9. Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon
Austin Kleon’s most compelling ideas in this book revolve around being involved in a community of other smart creatives. He suggests that clusters of geniuses have cropped up in many different renaissances of the arts and culture throughout history. He also talks a lot about how pulling from everywhere where people do great things is a recipe for legitimate success – in fact, he says essentially that everything is a remix of things we’ve seen before whether we know it or not.
If you could only read one out of these three which would I suggest you read? I’d highly suggest you read The Conversion Code since it’s unbelievable granular in it’s breaking down of ways to monetize your online marketing efforts.
This one is the most blatant of examples in this list of something that’s so directly related to digital marketing. The truth is that these kinds of very specific and intense practical approach books can get dated fairly quickly, so I think that’s why there’s less of these on the list. But if a very down-to-earth and practical digital marketing book can stand the test of time this might be one of them. The description of funnels and segmentation totally changed the way I approached my own marketing and my agencies, and so I do think those concepts transcend even some of the granular tactics and techniques.
Overall, going down this list of digital marketing book summaries, and digital marketing book reviews is just reminding me of what reading does for me as a marketer – it turns me on to new ideas and steers me in new directions I might not otherwise have thought of. Perhaps they don’t always illuminate every intricacy of a given strategy – only experimentation and further reading and comparing various sources of information will do that. Never take anything you read as gospel truth.
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