Top 16 Books For Business on Advertising & Marketing

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The number one book on this top 16 books is one of my favourites...


A book that is so much more than JUST being about branding, marketing, advertising and business growth.

 "This is Marketing" could almost be considered an essential book on every business bookshelf, as is every other one of Seth's books - but this one is my top pick.




 David Ogilvy, some might consider to be the biggest and brightest of everyone in advertising and marketing.

 It covers all aspects of advertising, and was written by the founder of Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency with 450 offices in 120 countries.

 It covers what advertising does well, as well as what does not sell. 

 My copy is dog eared and even has marginalia and comments and notes that I have written in - I really need a new copy now that I look at mine.


CASHVERTISING - How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone - DREW ERIC WHITMAN

 This is AMAZING - I even gave a copy of this book to our Sales Manager.

 Not enough business people knows these facts about creating powerful advertising. DO YOU?
 FACT! Sixty percent of people read only headlines. Your headline must stop them or your advertising will likely fail.
 FACT! Captions under photos get 200 percent greater readership than non-headline copy
 FACT! Ads with sale prices draw 20 percent more attention.

 See in that little bit alone you have learnt something.



STORYNOMICS - Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World - ROBERT MCKEE, TOM GERACE

 Storynomics translates the lessons of storytelling into both business into economic and leadership success.

 Robert McKee's popular seminar writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. The cornerstone of this program is his singular book, 'Story', which has defined how we talk about the art of story creation.

 More importantly Storynomics shows you how to use story telling techniques in ALL of your media advertising.

 It is far more than just a beginning, middle and end.





The classic and updated guide to creating great advertising now covers all media: Digital, Social, and Traditional.

 'Hey Whipple, Squeeze This' has helped generations of young creatives make their mark in the field.

 Plus helped business people build successful campaigns by giving you an honest, real-world perspective on what it means to create great advertising and marketing.

 You'll learn how to tell brand stories and create brand experiences online and in traditional media outlets, and much more about the value of authenticity, simplicity, storytelling, and conflict. 


RETAIL ANARCHY - A Radical Shopper's Adventures in Consumption - SAM POCKER


Why does no one blink when they are charged three to nine dollars for a cup of coffee?

 Why do grown men sleep on the street overnight to buy video game systems?

 How do variety/'Dollar Stores' cheerfully charge a dollar for a 25 cent pack of gum?

 What are the pitfalls of Brand Name Loyalty?

  “Stand-up economist” Sam Pocker delves into these hard-hitting questions—and the result is a fascinating, wry, and amusing account of consumers' non-sensical habits and the stores that prey upon them. 


THE ATTENTION MERCHANTS - The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads - TIM WU


Are you feeling attention challenged? even assaulted by the barrage of advertising and marketing you face daily?

 From messaging, advertising enticements, branding, sponsored social media, and other efforts that try to harvest our attention. you need to understand how and why your message isn't getting through - and how to fix it.

 Tim Wu is the author of the award-winning 'The Master Switch' and the person who coined the term "net neutrality” comes a revelatory, ambitious and urgent account of how the capture and re-sale of human attention became a MASSIVE industry.


SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING - Step by Step Instructions For Advertising Your Business on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and Various Other Platforms - NOAH GRAY, MICHAEL FOX

 The latest version of this book (sorry the cover photo is of my old copy) is on the ball and helps A-LOT!... but as Gray and Fox emphasize 'social media is constantly evolving, and so platforms will come, go, and change over time. What works in today’s social media might not work in ten years or even in one year.'

 This book is all about personalizing your approach, finding the right medium and mix for you and your industry and where your customers are.

 It's perhaps the most user friendly book I can recommend for social media - and I am only now just starting to dabble myself in it as I am not a big fan of it at all.



THE ADVERTISING SOLUTION - Influence Prospects, Multiply Sales, and Promote Your Brand - CRAIG SIMPSON, BRIAN KURTZ


Some people might not like anthology style books, but this is one of m favourites I re-read often as it distil's 100 years of salesmanship and marketing down to 200 pages.

Then in Chapter 10, it boils that down again to exactly what you need to know to be an effective marketer in 19 pages.

I always manage to find some spark, something new and something that is a solid take-away even though I have read this many, many times.



All Marketers are Liars - The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All - Seth Godin

 The indispensable classic on marketing by the bestselling author of 'Tribes' and 'Purple Cow'.

 Seth Godin has three essential questions for every marketer:
1.“What’s your story?”
2. “Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
3. “Is it true?”
All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them.

We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche is vastly superior to a $36,000 Volkswagen that’s virtually the same car. We believe that $225 sneakers make our feet feel better—and look cooler—than a $25 brand. And believing it makes it true. 

DIRECT RESPONSE RADIO - The Way to Greater Profits with Measurable Radio Advertising - BRETT ASTOR, JEFFREY SMALL

 While most of this book pertains to direct marketing in general not just radio it's 'truth' in testing, lifetime customer value, etc are solid.

 The one big thing - and it is kind of a very BIG thing - is that it says a budget of $20,000 is required to do an effective direct marketing radio campaign. And knowing many small businesses, that's a big ask to just test your message.

 It is definitely biased towards radio (which is why I recommend it). And I strongly disagree with some generalizations made early on in the book, but I read this the same week I brought and read 'Cashvertising', so there was a bit of overlap and things made more sense after reading this first, then 'Cashvertising'.



OUTRAGEOUS ADVERTISING - That's outrageously successful - BILL GLAZER

 This is not your normal book on marketing. The examples Bill gives in this book might stun some marketers that have always done things the normal way.

 "My company wouldn't do something like that!" they'll say as they keep getting horrible results from their generic advertising. They'll blame it on the economy or the area they are trying to advertise to. They just won't get it.

 Although it is very Americanized - read it with an open mind and don't be afraid to try some outrageous marketing.

 It's worked for Bill and countless others.

Give it at try and I think / know you'll be amazed at the results you'll get. 


Seducing Strangers - How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling - Josh Weltman, Jon Hamm

 The co-producer of the TV series MAD MEN tells you the secrets to: get someone, somewhere, to do something.

 Simply by using words, sounds, pictures, stories, and music to seduce strangers.

 In the industrial, mass-media, consumer economy of the past, the job was called advertising, and “Mad Men” behind it did it better than anyone else.

 In today’s service-based, social media-focused, information economy, the job is called life, and everyone does it, and you can do it. And do it better.



  J Scott Armstrong, hints that he was trying to create an improved, updated, more scientifically sound version of Ogilvy on Advertising. Boy did he succeed.

 But unless you are into a more scholarly read, this might be heavy going at 400+ pages.

 He describes a principle, then cites evidence for it: research and case studies which all helps to take the principle from theory to practice.

 For example, he shows a Downy ad that didn't follow his principle. Then, Downy changed the ad to follow it, and found that 20% more people remembered the ad, and those people had 30% higher buying intentions.

 Worth it in my book.


 The Ad Contrarian blog - HERE - is easily one of my favourite top 10 blogs to read (But the last time it was updated was 2021).

 Bob Hoffman is a long time ad guy who cut his teeth on the work of Ogilvy, Bernbach et al, and I just love the way Bob thinks and writes about our crazy business and even more crazy world.

 This is take no prisoners kind of stuff that is just superbly written always. And if you are easily offended, then I might steer clear of it.

 But seriously - Buy it, read it. If you are like me it will make you laugh, make you cry and shake your head in wonder.

 It's an amazing book.


 Last, but by far not least - this is simply... The BEST advertising strategy book I have read and I have read a lot of them.

 If you want a great strategic framework that is explained without marketing buzz words and with entertaining examples then this is THE BOOK for you.

 BUT a word of warning here... Just because the framework is easy to understand, it doesn't mean coming up with inspiring insights and creative thinking is easy because it isn't.

 Packed with fresh ideas, all you need to do just put them into action.

 I highly, HIGHLY recommend this one!


And that's it for this week - catch you next time.

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