The Performance-Driven Marketer’s Bookshelf

This article was reproduced with permission from the Marketing Institute of Singapore and first featured in The Singapore Marketer (July-Sept 2019 issue). Do check out the magazine here!

Thinking about going into performance-based marketing? We took a peek at a few performance marketers’ reading lists so that you can take a leaf out of their books, and learn from the best.

1) Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital

Author: Phillip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan

What it’s about: If you studied marketing in university, Phillip Kotler’s texts won’t be unfamiliar to you! Marketing 4.0 looks into the changing nature of customer paths in today’s digital economy, and the ever-increasing importance of omnichannel and human-centric marketing. For active digital marketers, the book is great for a structured overview of the various marketing strategies; while you probably know them like the back of your hand, Dr. Kotler’s pointers and insights might awaken a fresh perspective!

Mantra to live by: “Today, innovation is horizontal; the market supplies the ideas, and companies commercialize the ideas”

2) The Creative Curve

Author: Allen Gannett

What it’s about: Data and creativity are a mighty combination, and marketers who feel like they lack the latter will want to pick this up. Gannett (Forbes 30 under 30 2016, founder and CEO of marketing insights platform TrackMaven) overturns the common misconception about creativity being an innate talent through interesting anecdotes and interviews, and shares four ‘laws’ essential for creative success.  Here’s a hint: the first is consumption. Read the book to discover the rest!

Mantra to live by: “Most content is failing. Most of us engage in flash-of-genius marketing. We don’t actually follow a system—and it’s not working”

3) This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Author: Seth Godin

What it’s about: Seth Godin has made his name as one of the pioneers of inbound marketing and his latest book, This is Marketing, distills all of his ideas and approaches in one place for easy digestion. While Godin’s writing is pithy and might take a while to get used to, read it for a different perspective of what marketing can be (an opportunity to serve people) as well as useful advice on seeking out the audience that really matters—better known as the ‘smallest viable market’.

Mantra to live by: “Online advertising is also the most ignored advertising ever created. It’s not unusual to run an ad in front of a hundred thousand people and get not a single click. It’s not unusual for an entire ad campaign to start, run, and finish without making any impact on the culture”

4) Confessions of an Advertising Man

Author: David Ogilvy

What it’s about: Isaac Newton famously said that if he has seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. David Ogilvy is one such giant whom marketers know not to ignore. While Confessions of an Advertising Man was published in 1963, many of the principles and fundamentals within still ring true today—and performance marketers, particularly, will appreciate Ogilvy’s reminder that research (preparation and data) must be accompanied by good judgment (execution and innovation) to be effective.

Mantra to live by: “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving”

5) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion  

Author: Robert Cialdini

What it’s about: Figuring out what motivates people into saying ‘yes’ is always tough, and Influence might just be your trump card. The book, written by the “Godfather of Persuasion Science”, shares 6 principles derived from decades of research that marketers can apply to boost conversions and write convincing ad copy. Put this book (and its successor, Pre-Suasion) on your bookshelf within easy reach: it’s easy to follow, and chock full of interesting examples.

Mantra to live by: “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

6)  Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes

Author: Perry Marshall

What it’s about: Google Ads (formerly Adwords), with its traffic-based metrics, is indispensable to performance marketers. Written by Google Ads guru Perry Marshall, the author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing, this step-by-step guide is great as an introduction to the basics of digital marketing. Apart from demystifying Google Ads in layman terms, Marshall also includes advice on how to write eye-catching sales copy, which is instrumental for ad success.

Mantra to live by: “If you’re not tracking conversions from click, to sales lead, to sale, then odds are 80 percent of your traffic is not converting to sales and you don’t know it.”

Now that we’ve snuck you a glimpse of a performance marketer’s reading list, it’s your turn. Knowledge is power: why not pick up a few of these books and see what they can do for you?



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