Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method – Strategic Storytelling in Business by Doug Stevenson (2008)
The biggest problem with marketing copy? It’s boring. It’s so boring. Nobody wants to read that. But what if they did? That’s where storytelling comes in. Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method teaches you how to incorporate storytelling into all of your business copy and presentations. Stevenson borrows techniques from the theater to make corporate presentations come alive and feel like an engaging performance instead of a tedious lecture.
The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser (2018)
Hauser’s book is directed at women, but all genders would benefit from reading The Myth of the Nice Girl. There is a pervasive idea out there that in order to succeed in the business world, you have to be cut-throat, assertive, and, well, kind of a dick. Hauser is here to tell us that’s not true. Her book goes over how you can be a successful businessperson through strengthening—as opposed to sacrificing—kindness and authenticity, and helps you navigate the differences between being nice and being easily taken advantage of. Turns out being nice doesn’t equal being weak, despite what we’ve been told. In Hauser’s own words, “I have come to learn that the strongest, most effective leaders are often also the nicest. They use their kindness to inspire their teams, to encourage others, and to create powerfully positive workplace environments in which their employees thrive because they’re happy, engaged, and motivated.”
Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World by Nick Westergaard (2018)
In this modern age of digital publishing and social media, everybody has a voice, which is a wonderful thing. The only problem is, when everybody who can click a mouse has a voice online, that creates a lot of noise. How is your voice supposed to be heard in the midst of everyone else’s? That’s where Nick Westergaard can help. Brand Now teaches you how to hone in on your brand’s unique identity and tell your story in a way that sets you apart from the crowd.
Mujo Curriculum by Mujo Learning Systems
Our own CEO, Shawn Moore, quite literally wrote the book(s) on digital marketing. Shawn is also CEO of Mujo Learning Systems, a company that publishes textbooks on all aspects of digital marketing. Read just one of the books to become an expert in one particular aspect of digital marketing (such as SEO) or read them all for your own full course on digital marketing skill and strategy. These books lay out everything you need to know about digital marketing in a clear, simple way that’s written for marketers by marketers.
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini (2016)
Cialdini’s impactful book explains how the brief window of time before a message is delivered to someone is more important in persuasion than the actual message and describes how to get them in the right mindset to receive your message. One example of implementing this tactic is at a job interview, ask the interviewer why they chose to bring you in. This forces them to say positive things about you and recall what they liked about your application in the first place, putting them in the right state of mind for you to persuade them that you are the right person for the job. The most basic explanation of pre-suasion is to bring a person’s attention to the thing you’re about to ask them to do, and then they will be more likely to do it. Of course, it is more complex than that and the book goes through the process in detail with examples and clear explanations throughout.
Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers by Bridget Brennan (2011)
Women are the people who do most of the buying, while men are the people who do most of the advertising. This book talks about how to advertise to women, even if the product is for men. Odds are that women are the ones buying men’s products for their sons, husbands, brothers, etc., so women are generally the ones you should be advertising to, no matter what gender your product is intended for. Brennan looks at female psychology when it comes to consuming and spending and goes over examples of companies who have gotten it right as well as companies who have gotten it terribly wrong.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay (1841)
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly modern, but don’t let that put you off. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds was written during the Victorian era, but it contains thoughtful insights on crowd mentality, popular trends, and economic bubbles that are still relevant today and will help you get into your customers’ heads. Mackay also goes into the destructive ways in which mob mentality can manifest, such as in the Crusades and the witch trials, showing just how powerful—and even dangerous—groupthink can be. Marketers will find this book valuable because, although popular trends and technologies may have changed a lot in the last couple of centuries, the way our brains work hasn’t. This book offers a perceptive look into the mind of the consumer and how it is influenced.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely (2009)
Written by a psychology professor, Predictably Irrational explains how people make decisions based on emotion and justify those decisions as practical after the fact. This book is sort of a modern version of MacKay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions because it goes into the odd ways in which people make decisions and how groupthink and trends affect our sense of rationality. Ariely goes into the psychology behind why humans make the irrational decisions we make and how we actually do so in a systematic and highly predictable way. This makes it easier to both avoid making decisions this way as professionals and to play into the client’s tendency to make decisions this way, resulting in more engaging marketing campaigns.
Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Method to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level by Ryan Levesque (2015)
This book is all about getting by asking. Levesque’s ask method teaches you how to ask the right questions to learn what your customers/clients actually want and how to ask the right questions to get your customers to do what you want them to do. First, Levesque suggests asking your clients what their biggest difficulty or “pain point” is when it comes to whatever their industry or niche is. Then you give them a solution. Pretty simple, right? Ask explains how to take this simple idea and apply it to any industry so you can begin implementing it right away.
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