Reading List for Business Messaging, Marketing & Personal Brand. (My favourites as a Marketing Consultant)

Business books can be… sketchy. Often they’ll take 6 hours to say what could be said in a quick paragraph. But there’s some gold out there. I myself am a self-taught marketer and find books more valuable than any course. Once you become well-read in your field, you read differently – more critically and knowledgable, slotting key nuggets into your personal bank of information.

I have over ten years worth of reading as a marketer and a business owner myself. Here are some of my favourites:

How to gain new and relevant skills as a marketer:

Forget Seth Godin, if you’re a pro marketer, you’re going to want to read content that’s written by marketers for marketers – not for small business owners.

Content Design by Sarah Waters

Anyone who works with websites and content should read this gem by Sarah. Sarah and her team took over 400 government websites and combined them into one, she’s found so many valuable learnings about how to present content from this project. And created a new discipline while she’s at it. 

Good Services by Lou Downe

If you sell any kind of service it’s important to think about how you can make them appealing to your client. 

Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton

If you’re at a blank when it comes to less inspiriring marketing copy such as mission statements, briefs, legal docs and emails then this is for you. 

Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience by Michael J Metts

A great introduction to writing with user experience (UX) in mind. 

The Design Thinking Playbook

Not technically a marketing book, but design thinking can and should be used in marketing. It’s great to familiarise yourself with the principles of design thinking – it will really enhance your team work and strategy. 

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Value Proposition Design – Strategyzer

I always refer back to Value Proposition Design in my consultations. It’s so simple, and yet it really does help solve the age-old problem of explaining what you do – quickly. 

To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

This is a book about sales, but it has some great tips about pitching which can only be helpful to marketers as well. 

Story Branding by Donald Miller

Story branding was a game changer for me not just because it explains how you can use storytelling as part of your wider marketing strategy – but it helps me explain it to clients in a really simple way. Something I just had to nag them about before with no basis ‘make it about your customers, not how great you are!’ – I now have a clear framework to use. 

The Luxury Strategy by Jean-Noel Kapferer

I usually work with luxury brands and the luxury market presents it’s own unique challenges. Books about marketing for luxury products are limited, 

The Journey Mapping Playbook by Jenny Angrave

Customer journey mapping is essential to ensure that you’re filling in all the gaps and have a seamless customer journey. This playbook is the bible of customer journey mapping. 

The D&AD Copy Book

A great source of inspiration. 

The Advertising Concept Book

Marketers aren’t advertisers, but we’re often in charge of advertising campaigns and I think a comprehensive understanding of the basics is important. 

(C)lean Messaging by Scott Brown

Particualrly useful if you’re working on a complex B2B service or product – IT people I’m looking at you! 

Brand Language 

A guide to tone of voice by specialist consultancy Wordtree.

The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

I avoided this book because I thought it would be too simple and aimed at new business owners. However, I found that the simplicity with which Dib approaches marketing is very wise and there are a lot of bangers in there which will help you explain the basics of marketing to your clients. 

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

I can’t get enough of Robert Greene. As a marketer, it’s really important that you frequently carefully think about what makes others tick. Robert Greene is known for digesting ancient texts and musings on human status and analysing what universal principles apply today. 

What makes people appealing to others? And what do they want? Crucial to reflect upon regularly. 

The Narrative Gym by Randy Olson

A unique framework for messaging and communication. ABT (and, therefore, but)

I love a framework because not only is it easy to implement it’s easy to pass onto others and teach. 


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