6 Marketing Books that Changed My Life

by | Aug 27, 2012 | Book Review

Are you marketing out of passion or necessity? Although there seems to be an ever growing number of internet marketers out there – presumably by choice and through passion – there are still a greater number of business owners and employees for whom marketing is simply a means to an end – one more task to be completed in the pursuit of their passion – whether that be law, carpentry, real estate, or financial planning.

That was me four years ago. I was teaching elementary school by day and studying Insurance, Investments, and Retirement Planning by night, on my way to an MBA in Financial Planning and what I hoped would soon be a transition into my new career as a Financial Planner.

As part of the preparation for the “soon to be” career change, and the accompanying loss of regular income, I wanted to start a small online retail business, hoping it would help ease the financial transition to self-employment.

Knowing next to nothing about the web, or online marketing, I started where many small business owners start, by looking for a local web guy to work with, and putting my trust in him and his experience.

I got lucky, my guy was good – we have since worked on several projects together – so I was caught off guard when he told me “now that your website is done, you’re going to want to do some reading up on SEO, social media, and blogging.”

“Huh . . . S-E what?”

So I Started Reading

What I read changed my life. Dramatic but also true, so whether your interest in marketing comes out of necessity or passion, I am comfortable in recommending these 6 books as marketing “must” reads:

1. Never Eat Alone ~ by Keith Ferrazzi

Never Eat AloneKeith Ferrazzi is a master networker and connector. Although this book addresses off-line relationship building, the thoughtfulness, consistency, and attention to detail can be practiced online as well as off. It is a great networking primer, especially important for those that are reluctant connectors.


2. Inbound Marketing ~ by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

Inbound MarketingBrian and Dharmesh, the founders of HubSpot Marketing Software, literally wrote the book on “Inbound Marketing”. This book, more than any of the others, is about how the various elements of online marketing work together. If you are looking for an overview of online marketing, this book is a great starting point. If you are looking for help and training on how to best market your business you may want to look into HubSpot a little more.

3. The New Rules of Marketing & PR – by David Meerman Scott (the 2nd edition}

The New Rules of Marketing and PRThe New Rules of Marketing & PR provides an overview of marketing strategies using the various tools and platforms that are available for online marketing. In it David Meerman Scott combines his experience and knowledge of traditional marketing with his expertise of today’s tools. The 3rd edition includes information on with mobile and video.

4. Six Pixels of Separation ~ by Mitch Joel

6 Pixels of SeparationAnother book offering an overview of marketing online – strategies, case studies, and stories, but it is primarily a “why your business needs to be online” argument. In it, Mitch Joel stresses that in the digital age, we are all connected, and it is time that your business be connected too.


5. Groundswell ~ by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

The GroundswellGroundswell is less of a “how to” book and more of an “introduction to online possibilities” – the “why” of it. It combines case studies, stories and a passionate belief in the tools and potential available to businesses through online channels.


6. Crush It ~ Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush ItGary is a high energy digital enthusiast. The book is, as the name implies, an exploration of what is possible for both individuals and companies through the use of digital marketing. It is about chasing your dreams and passions in the new media world that is available today.


For me – that was it – I was sold! The more I read, the more I wanted to be part of the energy, enthusiasm, challenges, and potential that surrounded the online world. I wanted to help other business owners to achieve their dreams by growing their businesses using today’s marketing tools.

My MBA program was understanding and supportive, and worked with me to set up independent studies in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.

I signed my first marketing client in 2009, completed my MBA and graduated in 2010, and left my teaching position at the end of the 2011 school year to run my agency full-time.

Although these books may not “change your life”, they will make you and your business more successful. Who knows, you may even find yourself looking forward to your marketing “chores”. :- )

I have since read many other great marketing books, but am always looking for more. Do you have a favorite marketing/business book that you’d recommend?

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Brent Carnduff is the founder/owner of Advisor Web Marketing and a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. He works with Financial Advisors across the country to help them develop a stronger online presence and increase their organic web traffic. In addition to this blog, he is a a V.I.P Contributor to Search Engine Journal, and is syndicated through Social Media Today, SteamFeed, and B2C.