Marketing 101
September 4, 2012 5:49 AM   Subscribe

What are some of the best books on marketing?

I recently started a new job in the marketing department of my company, and I have no background in marketing. What good books can you recommend me?

The company I work for sells products and services to a particular industry in a regional area (midwest.) Our major product is one that everyone in our industry uses and we have good market share. Our services are ones that not everyone uses, but many of our customers could benefit greatly from. We are focusing on promoting these services as our profit margins from the product are quite low these days due to competition.

We are focusing on content marketing to inform and educate our customers on how our services can be of benefit, and also to position ourselves as the go-to experts in our field.

I would like to read the most up-to-date and informative books on branding, content marketing, social media marketing and other current marketing strategies, as well as good books on the basics of marketing. Periodicals, websites and other sources of information would be welcome as well.

There are tons of marketing books and websites out there and I am having trouble weeding through the books and websites that are just fluff and bull by somebody trying to cash in on a trend.
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Work & Money (6 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
i liked this one, the book anyways.

your marketing sucks
posted by chasles at 5:57 AM on September 4, 2012

I am in your same boat. After working in development for some 13 years, I found myself in the marketing department and in a totally different world. My marketing director is insanely talented and experienced, and she loaned me this book. I'll warn you, one of the reviews there on amazon is titled "The Marketing Bible, but Ethically Challenged" is exactly how I would summarize it. I winced at some of their generalizations of people, and recognized many of the techniques that make me bonkers about culture in it. That said, it is a really good primer on how he whole industry works. You don't have to do as they say, but you do have to know what they say!
posted by pazazygeek at 6:05 AM on September 4, 2012

Harry Beckwith's What Clients Love and Selling the Invisible are not text books, nor are they deep, but have a lot of insights in the form of very short essays, some less than a page long.

While I wouldn't consider it sacred text, it will give you a lot to ponder, some of it counter-intuitive.
posted by The Deej at 6:47 AM on September 4, 2012

I hate to say it, Seth Godin is the "it" guy in Marketing right now. While I think the whole thing is a big, steaming pile of woo, most Marketing wonks are really into his whole thing. You should at least be conversant.

No one who has worked in marketing, who has two brain cells to rub together, will buy into any of the marketing stuff 100%.

Remain skeptical, but be knowledgable.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:35 AM on September 4, 2012

Influence, the psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini is an excellent, fun-to-read introduction to the psychology underlying purchase decisions. A must-buy.

Ries, Trout and Kotler's Positioning is a great book on the topic. Ries and Trout have some other books that are highly regarded as well (22 Laws)

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, and Ogilvy on Advertising both come to mind as some of the more impactful books on copywriting.

Marty Neumeier write a few books on branding (Brand Gap, ZAG) that I've found really useful when trying to create a brand, and keep it present in my mind.

pazazygeek linked to Kotler/Keller which was the textbook for my basic MBA marketing class. It's very readable as far as textbooks go, and it covers a lot of ground. If you never took a marketing class, it's probably a good guide to the basics. I don't have a better suggestion for an all-encompassing guide to the field.

Ruthless Bunny mentions Seth Godin. Godin's books are monographs that each discuss a single idea. His ideas on marketing-related topics are pretty decent (example work: All Marketers Are Liars/Tell Stories). Try not to accidentally buy his stuff on management. Either way, I'd hold off on the Godin until you've got some background.
posted by grudgebgon at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I have ordered the Kotler/Keller textbook and have downloaded "Influence" and "What Clients Love."

Taking grudgebgon's advice and saving Seth Godin for later. His stuff looks pretty interesting.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:58 PM on September 5, 2012

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