For over ten years, I have been working in the field of Marketing and Communication. I have had many roles in this field including Public Relations Manager, Marketing Manager, Event Coordinator, Account Manager, Digital Marketer, just to name a few. I love this field because there are so many career paths I can take, and every day there is the challenge to learn something new. We saw how Social Media changed the way Marketers operate, the way it forced us to learn more and get certified in digital marketing.
I am constantly learning because I like learning, and being a Marketer in order to stay relevant and up to date, I am required to always be learning. If you are new to the field, thinking about joining, or been in the field or are casually interested, here are some books you should be reading:
- So You’ve Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
With Social Media, people are able to share so much more of themselves in a few clicks. Posts go viral, people become Insta-famous, Influencers are made overnight, and just as quickly, all of these things can be “taken” from them through cancel culture. One wrong step and we see our “twitter fav” and “IG influencer” losing their sponsorship because of being cancelled for saying something “off brand”
Jonathan Bullock says, “A snowflake never feels responsible for the avalanche,” and this sums up what Jon Ronson explores in his book. In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Ronson interviews people who were shamed online mainly on Twitter. He gives us an in-depth look at what these persons said that led to them being publicly shamed, and how that impacted their lives. These real-life cases were well researched and presented in a way that shows you that these are REAL people behind their online presence. Majority of the persons who were shamed lost their jobs and had a difficult time shaking their past mistakes- Ronson walks us through all of these cases and what it was like for them.
As a Digital Marketer and someone who uses the Internet, this book really reinforced the point that we should all be aware of how to use Social Media. We should be cognizant that these are real people who face real problems for misstepping online. There is power in social media and should all be aware of how we use this power.
- This is Marketing You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin
This book is a great read for anyone who is starting out in Marketing and Communications, or looking to brush up on their knowledge. Godin did a great job of giving practical information for people who are new to the field or anyone looking to refocus on the grounding principles of Marketing.
Godin drives the point home that marketing requires deep work, work that anchors your brand to the communities you seek to serve. In the age of Social Media and as a Marketer, you are constantly being asked to increase follower counts and engagement. Godin reminds us that we should be drivers of the market, not simply market-driven. We are to create work that we are proud of, that changes people’s lives for the better.
Godin says, “The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone. It will lead to compromises and generalizations. Begin instead with the smallest viable market. What’s the minimum number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort?”
However, this book reinforces the point that mass isn’t everything and influence always wins. I highly recommend giving this read, especially if you are looking to reignite your love for the field of Marketing.
- Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Consider this must-read material if you are a Marketer looking to understand how and why things go viral. Written 18 years ago, a lot of the research and principles still stand today. In Tipping Point, Gladwell researches and gives us a look behind the “magic” of how ideas or trends seem to spread like wildfire overnight.
The book tries to showcase why and how things stick, from the organic start to the tipping point before the trend goes viral. Gladwell shows us how different trends went “viral” from the drop in crime, to increase in suicide in a particular community, to more persons wearing Hush Puppies. As with all of Gladwell’s writing, he tells a story and ties it all together in the most interesting way.
A lot has changed in the last 18 years, our concept of “viral” and how fast things go viral has been warped because of Social Media, but a lot of the principles explained in this book hold true. If you are interested in digital marketing, and making things go viral and connect, this would be a great book to read.
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
I had recently started working at an Advertising agency when I decided to give this book a read. As an Account Manager, I would meet with the Creative Team on various campaigns and I was always fascinated to see how they would start with different concepts/ideas and how we would eventually narrow it down to one, very strong concept. I wanted to find more about why that particular idea survived while the others remained in draft.
In Made to Stick the authors explored the core principle to making a message stick- it should be, Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and tells a Story. This book gets to the core of why ideas and concepts stick. For me, I loved that the author stressed the importance of telling a great story, because that is what great content is about. The cases that were used to showcase the stickiness were relatable and about brands I remembered.
If you are looking to read about how to make content that sticks and connect, this is a great introduction.
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
Today we are bombarded with messages to buy; as soon as we open our phones, we are receiving some sort of sales pitch. There is so much noise in the marketplace that as a Marketer your first and hardest job is to get your audience to listen to you without shouting. Donald Miller says, “Story is the greatest weapon we have to combat noise, because it organizes information in such a way that people are compelled to listen.”
In Building a StoryBrand, Miller imparts the importance of having a solid, well thought out storybrand that delivers a clear message to your customers. The book offers a framework for how to craft your story. It includes character, problem, guide, plan, calls to action, failure, and success.
We are called to position our products or service as something that will, “aid in helping people survive, thrive, be accepted, find love, achieve an aspirational identity, or bond with a tribe that will defend them physically and socially.” Having a great story to get this position across helps.
I love a great story, and getting to craft a message that gets to the heart of the value of a product or service through a story is what I call success.
There you have it – five books I highly recommend you read if you are in the field of Marketing and Communications, curious about the field, or just want a refresher. During this time, I find myself re-reading a lot of marketing and brand books, especially because I have been doing more and more training online.
Hope you enjoy these recommendations!
Article edited by Top Scholars Tutoring