5 Great Books On Marketing Concepts

May 9, 2016

Society, culture and businesses are all enduring the shocks brought on by new technologies and methodologies. Trying to keep up with these changes can seem like a full-time job in itself. We at Commit would like to offer up our selections for must-reads for marketers. Within this list, you won’t find how-to advice or a recitation of marketing concepts. Rather, we highlight books that help explain the disruptions going on so that you can synthesize the resulting knowledge into whatever role you happen to fulfill.

The Art of Immersion, by Frank Rose

Longtime contributing editor at Wired, Rose examines the new nature of storytelling in an era when narratives are no longer linear and are increasingly told or informed by the participation of a consumer community. Rose calls this “deep media,” and he cites such examples as the Mad Men fans who hijacked the show’s main characters and turned them into Twitter personas. Rose also suggests that in this new world of immersive storytelling, stories become games and games become stories.

Converge: Transforming business at the intersection of marketing and technology, by Bob W. Lord and Ray Velez

Lord and Velez, the CEO and CTO of digital agency behemoth, razorfish, introduce with this book the new DNA of marketing, in which the triple helix strands of creativity, technology and media converge to produce an array of new organizational imperatives. The book poses the question of whether it is possible to optimize one’s marketing if the culture and structure of the organization are not also working toward transformation. Even, or especially, in an age of big data and technology, the customer experience must always exist at the center, and Lord and Velez explain how to bring all three together.

Spreadable Media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture, by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green

Spreadable Media is a veritable feast of ideas and insights. While the main focus of the book is the broadcast media industry, the concepts within it are valuable for anyone who wants to understand the new cultural landscape. There are a plethora of books about the “how-to’s” of social media, but this book looks at the “why” behind sharing. What characteristics inspire someone to share a piece of content? What’s in it for the sharer? The book takes aim at the concept of viral media, arguing instead for a paradigm based on participatory culture.

Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The Heath brothers, Chip and Dan, blend case studies and scientific research to uncover what makes an idea “sticky,” or unforgettable. They illustrate six principles that work together to create a sticky idea: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. The authors attest, “Business managers seem to believe that once they’ve clocked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they’ve successfully communicated their ideas. What they’ve done is share data.” Sticky ideas, on the other hand, startle us, inspire us and convince us.

Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics, by Thomas H Davenport

Big data becomes bigger by the day, and it’s driving changes in almost every organizational department. A “quant” is a data analyst, and in Davenport’s book, he helps the non-quant to understand the tools and methods of the quants. While this book won’t, by itself, turn you into a quant, it will surely enable you to communicate with them more effectively.

Again, these books are not specifically about marketing concepts. Rather, they are about understanding the changes in our society so that your marketing concepts can evolve. Let us know your favorite books in the comments.