In terms of marketing, being overwhelmed by the amount of content online can become as common as driving past a McDonald’s. The sheer volume of online courses, e-books, YouTube tutorials and more can cause one to nearly go numb trying to keep up and retain all of the information.
Yet, many people forget there are some principles of marketing that almost certainly won’t change in our lifetimes or in the centuries ahead. Why? Well, because marketing is driven by psychology, and the human brain doesn’t evolve overnight.
Here are four timeless books that changed my life, business and marketing for the better, and, if read and absorbed, can do the same for you.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
When talking about having a long-lasting impact with your marketing, it’s only right we kick off this list with The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. The amount of simple yet brilliant principles Ries and Trout lay out in this book are game-changing and have stood the test of time.
When it comes to marketing, this book started it all for me. I was working as an intern at a startup and aimlessly trying to decide on my career path. I tried project management, computer science, sales and more, but none felt like the right fit.
I had always been a storyteller, and after reading this book, it hit me that all of marketing can be boiled down to stories and principles of human behavior. That began my love affair with the industry, and we’ve been going strong ever since.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook should be required reading for any and all marketing professionals. The main reason being that many people approach online interactions and in-person interactions differently when they should be treated exactly the same way.
You wouldn’t ask a potential girlfriend or boyfriend to go on vacation with you after the first date (at least, I hope not). Yet, for whatever reason, across social media and beyond we see people asking for a prospect’s time or money without giving an adequate amount of value to earn those things.
This was the book that led to me writing my first viral, breakthrough article, which then led to me launching my business, landing my Inc.com column, securing speaking gigs and more. The epiphany I had was simple: play the “long game” by adding value to my readers, month after month, year after year. Only after I build that trust up should I ask them for anything in exchange.
Hooked by Nir Eyal
Hooked by Nir Eyal is another book overflowing with priceless information on consumer psychology. Eyal takes an approach focused on modern-day companies like Twitter and Instagram. If you’re interested in learning how tech giants reel in and retain their users using psychology, Nir’s bestseller will be a book for you.
Most of the examples Eyal uses in Hooked are based on products, not outgoing marketing materials. I began to recognize that marketing was a facet of every piece of the business from the product to the elevator pitch, so I could add value to all parts of my client’s businesses.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
Robert Cialdini’s book has remained a favorite amongst entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals and more since it was published in 1984. After reading just a few pages, you’ll realize why. The enduring principles Cialdini delivers in Influence are aspects of the human psyche that are hard-wired into us, and aren’t going away any time soon.
This book was gifted to me by a former manager who I consider the closest thing to a mentor I’ve ever had, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was working a fast-growing startup in San Francisco while building my startup, Arctiphi, on the side. I wanted things to move faster so I could go full-time into my business, but sales was never my forte. I lacked the confidence, the body language, damn near everything I thought made a great salesperson great.
After reading the book, I realized the way I was thinking of sales was all wrong. The packaging didn’t matter nearly as much as the product. Marketing and sales were brother and sister, not distant cousins, and the same tactics I was using in my copywriting could be applied to in-person sales, public speaking and more.
It worked. Within a few months of reading Influence, monthly revenue increased sixfold and I was able to go full-time into Arctiphi.
There are many marketing principles that’ll remain true for centuries to come. By equipping yourself with these timeless principles instead of “keeping up with the marketing Joneses” daily, you’ll position your brand to stay relevant no matter what the world throws at it.