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8 Must-Read Marketing Books for Startups

Wisdom And Knowledge Shall Be The Stability Of Thy Times by Ben Sutherland on Flickr

Wisdom And Knowledge Shall Be The Stability Of Thy Times by Ben Sutherland on Flickr

With countless resources available to entrepreneurs wishing to take the leap in the startup unknown, it can be difficult at times to judge which advice is truly helpful. The following list is a collection of must-consult marketing books (including three by Seth Godin or “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age”) which are absolutely worth the time it takes to read them.

  1. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky: In Shirky’s authoritative work on social networking, he discusses the way in which the technology is evolving itself and changing our social structures along with it. The synopsis states: “Shirky’s assessment of the impact of new technology on the nature and use of groups is marvelously broad minded, lucid, and penetrating…” The work incorporates the ideas of several other thinkers from a wide range of specialties together with Shirky’s “pioneering work to provide a holistic framework for understanding the opportunities and the threats to the existing order that these new, spontaneous networks of social interaction represent.”
  2. Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin: The concept behind Godin’s revolutionary work Permission Marketing presents marketers with the idea that instead of being intrusive, i.e. television commercials and telemarketing calls, they can present “consumers [with] incentives to accept advertising voluntarily.” The completely different way of thinking about advertising presented in Permission Marketing allows “companies to develop long-term relationships…and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.”
  3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin: In this work, Godin advises companies to make something about their products or services stand out and catch the consumer’s eye…a “Purple Cow” as opposed to a field full of brown cattle. Seth Godin “urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable.” The book is a call to arms for entrepreneurs who strive to create products worth marketing.
  4. Linchpin by Seth Godin: In this book, Godin defines a new role in today’s workplace. This person is the linchpin, between “management and labor…Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book.” Godin defines a linchpin as a person who loves the work, and is devoted to it. “Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. They may not be famous but they’re indispensable.” Godin asserts that linchpins achieve the most freedom in the best jobs.
  5. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath: This book explores the way certain information, like “urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly” while meaningful and educating ideas are lost in translation. The Heaths discuss this phenomenon and discuss ways to make ideas “stick.” This work reveals that all “sticky messages…draw their power from the same six traits.”
  6. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: In Gladwell’s work, the tipping point is defined as “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” The concept of a tipping point, as discussed by Gladwell, is “already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.”
  7. Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik: In this book, Avinash Kaushik illustrates an entirely new way for a person or business to think about analytics. The work presents “specific recommendations for creating an actionable strategy, applying analytical techniques correctly, solving challenges such as measuring social media and multichannel campaigns.” Putting this advice into practice will lead to a more “data driven” organization and improve your analytical abilities.
  8. Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah: In Inbound Marketing, the authors (and founders of Hubspot) suggest a new way to communicate with potential customers and clients. For example: “…stop pushing your message out and start pulling your customers in.” Marketing has evolved and it is fundamental to the success of a company to change along with it. Seth Godin endorses the work: “If you’ve been looking for a trustworthy primer on getting found online, here’s a great place to start. Buy one for your clueless colleague too.”

If you are considering taking the plunge with a startup of your own, take the time to use these resources. From marketing advice to analysis of the impact of social media, these books will impart a wealth of knowledge and experience for you to work from.

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