Today we’re talking about books that marketers should have on their shelf. Did you know we wrote one for the Kindle platform called SEO Samurai? Here’s a link – but, it’s a Kindle version, so it won’t fit on a shelf.
I’ll admit to being at this online-meets-traditional marketing thing for a few years now. 6 to be exact – back in 2006, I was part of the team that launched a web portal for higher education called U Sphere.
I often tell folks that I reached a point where I was either going to (a) build a business or (b) get an MBA. I chose (a) – but that didn’t mean I wasn’t committed to constant improvement. So I went down the path of seeking out books that could teach me things about how the other half worked.
Publishing has changed in a revolutionary fashion in the past 6 years – traditional book sales methods are out the window, and it seems like just everyone has an ebook of some sort.
Here, then, are three books that, IMHO, have stood the test of time: they are the three that I keep on my shelf, refer to almost constantly, and, likely, may stand the test of time.
1. The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss
This is the book I recommend more than any other. And this is the one that gets the most eyerolls, too.
The takeaway from reading the cover is that you can design a lifestyle that enables you to spend no more than four hours a week working – and then you can spend the rest of your time lazing on a beach.
The reality is that Mr. Ferriss invested a lot of TIME – he was working 80 hours a week at his first startup – before figuring out that TIME = MONEY.
The Marketer can learn TONS from the book – even if it’s just to maximize efforts on the right sorts of things, and stop worrying about the wrong sorts of things.
Marketer’s Takeaway: This is actually a book about ROI. Might be Return on TIME Invested, but it is definitely worthwhile from that standpoint alone.
2. Business Model Generation, by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
This book will change your thinking, and here’s how:
Any business process, any department, any piece of an overall cog MUST understand how the other pieces fit. If this book does anything for you, it will help you raise your BS detector.
To be direct: I have quickly run many a startup through their methodology – the Business Model Canvas – and found them to be sorely lacking in a few key areas. This ALONE can save you, the marketer, a ton of headaches.
(Doing client work for the past six years has also meant that I have turned down opportunities to work with businesses; sometimes, I have used the methods in this book to figure out that a potential client doesn’t have a business model that will make it.)
Marketer’s Takeaway: This is a visually stunning book and walks you through the iterative process of creating and sustaining business models.
3. groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
This is the ultimate social media marketing book.
Written when Twitter had just been created – it’s that old – the upshot is that the technologies will continue to evolve – but people have certain tried-and-true behaviors online that marketers can leverage for maximum benefit.
We may have shared the acronym “POST” more often than any one piece in our years of doing this online stuff. People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology – in that order. The authors’ opinion: companies will put the “T” first, and chase a shiny object (Twitter, Pinterest, et al) before figuring out who they want to connect with in the first place.
Marketer’s Takeaway: Cookie-cutter strategies rarely work. Don’t sell a bill of goods based on the next new thing.
Great books are out there – and we read as many new ones as we can get our hands on. But these three, we have found, stand the test of time.
Are there books you would recommend for a marketer’s bookshelf?