Oct 15, 2019

7 Marketing Must-Reads


When it comes to marketing, staying on the cutting edge of ideas and getting ahead of upcoming trends is vital.

With so many blogs, podcasts and other media available at our fingertips, it’s never hard to find the next interesting marketing material to read about to keep you informed. But there is just something about books that create a timeless appeal and holding those words and pages in your hands rather than listening to them or reading them through a screen.

From new releases to marketing classics, we have put together our favourite marketing reads. Whether you own your own business, work in a marketing department for a large brand name, or you’re just getting started within the marketing industry, these books should definitely have a spot in your marketing library.

1. How Brands Become Icons – Douglas B. Holt

Do you know how to communicate an authentic brand that truly resonates with customers over time, and not just once because of a low price or trending hashtag?

In this bestseller, Douglas B. Holt, a former Harvard Business professor, analyzes top brands including Volkswagen, ESPN, Budweiser and even Harley-Davidson, breaking down tips on how to foster a marketing strategy that goes beyond gimmicks to establish a meaningful brand connection with your target audience.

2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

Although this #1 National Bestseller isn’t specifically about marketing, Blink still makes our marketing must-reads list. Marketing isn’t just about coming up with strategies, it’s about understanding where those strategies even come from in the first place. Blink examines the thinking we do when we’re not even actually thinking.

Consumers make split-second decisions every single day about what they want. This book dials into understanding those snap judgments so that you can better understand your target audience as a whole.

3. Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

How did #SorryNotSorry become a thing? Why was “the dab” ever invented and how did it become a social phenomenon? Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing out there.

But why do people talk about certain things and what makes them want to share it with others? Why does one idea go viral within 24 hours while others don’t even get 100 views on YouTube?

Jonah Berger spends the last decade answering these questions in his book Contagious and reveals the secret science behind what we call buzz advertising and social transmission.

Have an idea or trend that you want to go viral? This book should be at the top of your reading list.

4. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

As one half of the team behind one of the world’s best known and marketed brands, Nike, you can only imagine the inside knowledge Phil Knight has to offer. Lucky for us, he’s written a memoir that is loaded with lessons and insights on how to develop a coherent brand vision and then on how to live it.

As we mentioned before, the strategy behind marketing is very important as well as understanding the mechanics and theory of marketing. Knight takes this to the next level by providing case studies that he’s lived and breathed to teach us how to implement specific tactics extremely well.

5. Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends – Martin Lindstrom

Here at Design Thinking, we never rest on assumptions. Everything we do is backed up by research and raw data which is why Lindstrom’s Small Data book is on our list today.

Focusing on the power of small data to uncover the next great idea, this author has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands observing the tiniest details of human behaviour to help define the latest product.

It’s all about the numbers. It’s all about the data.

6. Permission Marketing – Seth Godin

We’re going old school here with a marketing legend, Seth Godin. Is any marketing must-read list really ever complete without Seth Godin being included somewhere? We think not!

Once dubbed “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age”, Godin publish Permission Marketing back in 1999 breaking down his strategy for winning customers over.

With the tech industry just on the horizon, Godin looked forward from traditional marketing in this book to teach marketers how to reach out to customers who already showed interest in your product or brand to drive a successful marketing campaign.

7. The Art of Social Media – Guy Kawaski

As one of the marketing executives at Apple responsible for marketing the Macintosh computer back in 1984, Guy Kawaski is a straight shooter when it comes to being a part of and breaking through this creative industry.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, it’s pretty clear that digital marketing, including social media advertising, is here to stay. The Art of Social Media is a no-nonsense guide to becoming a social media superstar. Social networks truly can have a make or break effort on the success of your business.

With more than 100 tips and tricks on how to rock your social media presence, this is the final marketing must-read on our list.

And there you have it! Design Thinking’s Marketing Must-Reads. Which one will be next on your reading list? Have other marketing books that you love? Tell us about them on Facebook and maybe one day we can start our very own DT Book Club.