Top 12 marketing books

Top 12 marketing books

There are many marketing and advertising books out there worth reading, too many to get into a list of the best marketing and advertising books. I wanted to make a list of my own. Whether you’re studying advertising, or are a professional practicing the craft there are hundreds of books worth digesting. And as one might expect, there are some that are better known and some that are simply better for you. If you’re in the marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, branding, design or anything else, these books should have a permanent place in your library

1.     Eating the Big Fish by Adam Morgan

Into beating the long established brands at their own game or revitalizing an existing brand this is a must read. It’s exceptional.

2. Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy

An oldie but goldie. Expected information but worth the read. Ogilvy On Advertising is considered an advertising bible.

3. From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor by Jerry Della Femina

Cult classic

4. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s best book.

5. Truth, Lies & Advertising: The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel

My favorite book growing up. 

6. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Thought provoking.

7. Made With (a soon to be released new book by John Grant)

One of my favorite thinkers is about to launch his new book, the image above is one of his great books too).

8. A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young

The foreword by Bill Bernbach, one of the greatest advertising professionals who ever lived, should be enough to let you know that this is a gem. And although published in 1965 (from a presentation first delivered in 1939) it’s timeless advice to help copywriters, art directors, designers and planners jump-start their creative juices. If (or when) you hit a creative wall, this book will help you hammer it down. 

9. Drive by Daniel Pink

What motivates people? Fascinating read.

10. Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki

The inspiration behind my ad agency StrawberryFrog

11. Fascinate by Sally Hogshead

Love love love this book.

12. Uprising: How to build a brand and change the world by sparking cultural movements.


Okay I work in advertising and this is flagrant self-promotion. But a recent review of this best selling book by Stanford University suggests that this is an inspiring read. Judge for yourself.

UPRISING. How To Build A Brand And Change The World By Sparking Cultural Movements.

UPRISING. How To Build A Brand And Change The World By Sparking Cultural Movements. By Scott Goodson. $16.98 on Amazon

Uprising Book

“ Uprising is a must-read for anyone who wants to start a mass movement like Macintosh. Whether you’re one person with an idea or a global brand, Scott can show you the way to enchant, evangelize and enroll followers. ”


“ Scott Goodson and his StrawberryFrog colleagues have found the secret to plugging into Purpose with a capial P: find out what moves people to action, then create a way to support and enhance that movement with your product, service or craft. I call that a winning strategy.”


“ One of the smartest thinkers on branding on one of the most important developments in that critical intersection between culture and marketing. For any challenger needing to change the conversation about their category, Scott’s blueprint for creating, enabling and respectfully flourishing in a movement is essential stuff.”


“ Until now, cultural movements have been sporadic and random. Uprising reveals an insider’s look at how these movements actually occur — and, how to make them happen for your brand and your purpose.”


Q & A with the author of Uprising, Scott Goodson:

Q: Why should marketers care about Movement Marketing? - (and is it different from social media marketing?)

Anyone with an idea or new product or brand should care because now anyone can create mass movements that can accelerate a brands rise to dominance with a Movement Marketing approach.  It’s proven and it now can propel a brand or an idea across the globe.

Marketers should care because it is, in many ways, the future of marketing. For a variety of reasons discussed in the book – having to do with the rise of social media and other changes – conventional advertising is losing effectiveness. Brands must learn how to build a passionate following, AKA a movement. This involves much more than just doing social media marketing—though that is certainly one of the primary tools in the toolbox.

Q: Will Movement Marketing work in a country in which the primary electronic communication is conducted on a smartphone?  

Movements need to be sparked with an idea on the rise in culture. Then tools can be used to spread this idea to a wider audience. In some societies this was done by word of mouth. Now mobile social media enabled phones makes it easier. Marketers and entrepreneurs can learn from the Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Social media is mobile today. Most people access their social media via mobile not desk top. 

Q: What should we take away from your experiences in Movement Marketing?

That it works. Every brand we’ve done this with – from a small Japanese athletic shoe brand all the way up to Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo – has seen the results of creating movements, and many of these companies have begun to shift their marketing models, based on this. Anyone can learn from this- a small entrepreneur starting a new social media brand or someone running for politics, a marketer or a CEO or people who want to be leaders in their community or their business.

Q: What was the biggest surprise writing the book?

The biggest surprise was that, as I was writing it, events happening all around the world seemed to be echoing the themes in the book. There were “uprisings” happening everywhere from the Middle East to my own town, in Manhattan with Occupy Wall Street - the Uprisings recently in Moscow. And while most of these were social movements, not marketing movements, they reinforced much of what I’ve always believed and known about movements in general. There’s a lot that marketers can learn from the events going on all around us today

Q: You’ve used the term “revolutionary times” to describe the period we’re living in – what does it mean for businesses to be operating in such a volatile environment?

It means they must embrace the change that’s happening – in these times, people will look to brands to be leaders and change agents. People will pay attention to how you conduct yourself, what you believe in, what you’re willing to take a stand on. If they like what they see, they’ll rally around your brand.

Will ‘Occupy’ Affect This Year’s Christmas Shopping?

By Scott Goodson

Scott is the founder of StrawberryFrog, the world’s first cultural movement agency. His first book, Uprising will be published by McGraw Hill soon.

Christmas gifts.

Here’s a question for you. Do you think a movement like Occupy Wall Street (OWS) can change people’s shopping habits, particularly in the run up to Christmas?

Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, certainly thinks so. She believes that OWS will definitely impact the way Americans buy holiday gifts this year.

She said: “Occupy Wall Street has discouraged the affluent and the aspirational alike from wanting to indulge in conspicuous consumption. If you are in the 1%, you want to go undercover, avoiding extravagant ‘bling.’ If you are not, you want to avoid the appearance of identifying with this much-maligned group of ultra-affluents.”

So if we can forget about over-indulgence this festive season – if people want to appear less greedy – what will they buy instead for their loved ones and in the coming years to follow? Danziger predicts a continued interest in all things practical.

She explained: “Affluents are looking to give gifts of things people really need. Technology fits beautifully in this framework, with great prices and functionality people need in their lives.

“Experiences too have become an attractive gift solution this year, thanks to the many attractive deal-of-the-day offers from Groupon, Living Social and others. These experiences save the gift giver lots of money, all the while maximizing the gift recipient’s pleasure.”

Of course, there aren’t enough facts to suggest that OWS has discouraged shoppers from over-consuming. We’re only second-guessing these changing consumer attitudes instead of basing them on any hard evidence. That’s why Danziger and Unity Marketing are planning to carry out new research next year, looking at the shopping habits of 1,500 people.

If you’d like to support the research, Unity Marketing is looking for sponsors. Simply fill out their New Gifting Study 2012 sponsorship form.

While we wait to see if Danziger’s predictions are right, we can definitely all agree that there has been a shift in people’s buying behavior ever since the global economy went into crisis. Whether that is now coupled with an ever-growing movement against consumerism and greed, we’ve yet to find out.

It certainly seems as though more and more people are ‘making do’ and spending their money on ‘experiences’ or practical things rather than ‘stuff’ they don’t actually need.

So if Danziger is right and this movement continues to take hold with people buying less and less, how can brands jump on the back of it ahead of the holidays? How can they make the most of anti-consumerism attitudes? How can you encourage Christmas shoppers to buy your products when they are buying less?

Movement Marketing, that’s how. Because if brands don’t start to look at the changing, consumer landscape and adapt themselves accordingly, they might struggle to survive in 2012.

Become a Social Business

With newspaper circulations down, television commercials easily skipped and social media the number one activity on the web, brands are naturally following the crowd by going ‘social’ and joining millions of people online.

They’re setting up Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. They’re getting on Google+ and even dipping their toe into LinkedIn. Some have started blogs and created Flickr or Vimeo accounts to share pictures and videos.

Whilst this is all worthwhile, many brands are still getting it completely wrong. They’re trying to integrate social media into their old ‘marketing mix’ rather than understanding the whole purpose of social media.

They’re missing the point by throwing out one-way marketing messages like before, screaming things like ‘Buy This’ and ‘Get your 20 per cent discount today! Ok maybe that last message pulls a lot of eyeballs but is that any way to build a premium brand?

This traditional, one-way marketing doesn’t work anymore. Consumers are already bombarded with thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis but the majority of them are ignored. Most banner ads don’t get a click-through - it’s about 1% on the good ones. Nearly half of all direct mail is never opened. And there are OVER than 200 million Americans on the ‘Do Not Call’ list.

So what else can you do to get your messages out there?

Today, we are all connected. Today, smart brands make business personal. And they do that by becoming a social business rather than applying the same old marketing techniques to the new medium of social media. They realize that ‘social’ isn’t a new way of marketing, It’s a new way of doing business.

A social business doesn’t just do social, it uses strategic and creative excellence, and extraordinarily well thought through content to create brand lust, engagement heat and ultimately passionate advocates for the business and it’s products and services.

Brands that get social media right by becoming social see phenomenal success. Just look at the facts. Nearly two thirds of businesses have acquired a customer through their blog. A quarter of B2B firms have gained a client through Facebook. Company websites that have a blog get 55 per cent more visitors than those who don’t. There’s even evidence to suggest that web visitors from social sites convert 59 per cent higher than those who aren’t communicating directly with their customers. On Thanksgiving day our clients at Jim Beam welcomed their 1 millionth fan on Facebook, after some savvy social by our Beam & StrawberryFrog team.

You see - it’s not just about ‘going social’. It’s about becoming a social business. It’s realizing that marketing doesn’t work like it used to. Today, successful brands become social ones.

So how do you become a social business?

Essentially, markets have become conversations. If you want to become social you have to start listening to your customers, joining in on the global conversation and building relationships. If you do that, you’ll build trust and transparency. And brands that are trustworthy in today’s digital era will fair much better than those who aren’t yet social.

Because in this socially connected, real-time and mobile-enabled world, isn’t it better to be human and real than try to bombard irrelevant marketing messages like before? Isn’t it smarter to get personal and understand that people want to feel connected with humans not logos?

If you’re ready to take your company to the next level and become a social business, there are movement strategies for growth and how you can achieve that.

Read more inspiring articles JOIN UPRISING at


By Scott Goodson, Founder of StrawberryFrog. His book Uprising will be published by McGraw Hill early next year. 

Apple has just launched a software update to fix a problem that was draining the battery life of its new iPhone 4S, something that caused a wave of complaints from customers and critics across the globe.

Of course, it didn’t help that Apple apparently took several weeks to even acknowledge the glitch. Or that it came on top of lots of other problems with the new iOS 5 operating system – all of which are now resolved according to the software giant.

But will this damage Apple’s reputation? Is there a growing uprising against the Californian company? Are people ditching Apple to go elsewhere? Is its PR team panicking? It would seem not.

You see, whenever Apple has problems with its products, its customers are incredibly forgiving and patient. They understand that issues can sometimes arise and they’ll continue to buy Apple products despite any mistakes they might make.

But why is there such a huge loyalty towards Apple?

Well, it’s mainly because of the late, great Steve Jobs. Apple is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is Apple. People feel like they have a personal relationship with Apple because they’re essentially thinking of Steve.

And when you think about how incredibly passionate Steve was about Apple products, ensuring they were of the highest quality and cutting-edge design, you can understand why people are willing to be lenient.

By creating an emotional connection with its customers, Apple has done the near impossible – it has acquired a loyal following. Brand loyalty has played a huge part in its global success. There’s no doubt about that.

So if people will forgive brands that sometimes mess up, how can you ensure your own brand gets the same kind of attention?

Firstly, you have to build relationships with your customers. And that means being trustworthy and transparent. You do that by embracing the Internet and social media. You can start blogging. You can talk directly to people on Twitter. You can use Facebook to show who’s behind your logo. All of that is obvious.

Secondly – and this is the real key to brand loyalty – you have to carry out some movement marketing. You have to stop telling people about what your company makes, and instead think about what you believe in. And what you believe in has to touch a nerve with your target market.

Steve Jobs did this brilliantly. He told the world that he believed in innovative, high quality products and would always strive to bring the best technology to the market. In fact, Apple’s mission statement doesn’t really talk about what it does; it talks about what it believes in.

It reads: “Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”

With this inspiring mission statement in mind, consider what makes your brand tick. If you’re a car company, don’t put messages out there that say ‘We sell cars!’ Think about something that will tap into your customers’ emotions and go for it. Like, for example, the ‘Against Dumb’ campaign my StrawberryFrog did on fighting big mass over-consumption for Smart USA.

Whatever you choose, you have to believein something that starts from the very core of your business. It’s no good saying you believe in saving the environment if your company wastes tonnes of paper every year.

Apple’s worldwide success is because its mission statement resonates throughout each and every part of its operations. Brand loyalty begins from the inside out. You can’t fool people and loyalty won’t come so easily.

People who buy Apple products know of the passion and dedication that went into making them. They know Apple is committed to making the best quality software systems and products possible. They also associate Steve Jobs with Apple, feeling as though they have an emotional connection with the company. And that’s why they’re happy to overlook the odd glitch.

But brand loyalty isn’t just about forgiving brands for the odd mistake. It also means people won’t go elsewhere, even if the competition offer lower prices. It keeps revenues high and retains market share. You can see why brand loyalty is a priority for any business.

If you want brand loyalty, figure out how you can connect with your customers and start a movement that you believe in. The rest will certainly follow.

Who’s Profiting From The Occupy Wall Street Movement?

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Whether OWS will ultimately have an impact on the issue of income inequality is hard to say. But one thing it has already achieved is to awaken in people to the power of movements. I believe many who’ve watched what transpired in Zucotti Park can’t help wondering, How can I be part of something like that? Or, Could I possibly help start something like that, based around an issue that matters deeply to me?

Among those asking this question will be activists, educators, politicians, community leaders, tech innovators, artists, concerned citizens—and business people.

That last group may seem out of place at the march. What does business have to do with movements? Aren’t movements such as OWS against business? Aren’t movements supposed to be about noble causes and higher purposes—as opposed to selling stuff?

Those are great questions that I’ll tackle in my upcoming book. I expect that when I’m done, some will still feel that business has no business getting involved with movements.

But here’s what I think. Movements—at least, the kind of movements that gather around positive, creative, dynamic ideas—can help build a better, fairer, more sustainable, and more interesting world.


Sometimes you can cross the line. It is matter of taste. When brands seem to be capitalizing where they should not be they may face a huge backlash. For example, on Friday, as I jaunted past the Body Shop enroute to Grand Central, I heard the store clerks bellowing out “Occupy Body Shop and get a 20% discount”. The place was hoping with styling and profiling execs and upwardly mobile office managers. Most of them leaving with socially acceptable cosmetics under the feel-good vibe of somehow being connected to the movement happening several blocks downtown. Outside others looked on in disgust at the frenzy inside.

I proceeded down Lexington, entered a packed terminal and hopped the train for home. Once onboard I checked out my 360 News App and read on Business Insider that Jay-Z plans a line of street wear, namely a T-Shirt blazoned with “Occupy All Streets” for profit through his Rocawear clothing line on sale now on his website. Business Insider said there were no plans to distribute any of the money generated from this to Occupy Wall Street Movement. Since this Insider post appeared rumors on the web suggest Jay-Z may be abandoning this idea after a major backlash of social media criticism.

 imageThere are surely others out there planning to market to and capitalize off the 99% like Daryl K who framed their sale after OWS (pictured here). And, most likely, over the coming days and months ahead many more will try the same. Perhaps a socially minded bedding company can market a line of comforters that when you buy one, another keep warm duvet will be donated to the activists chilling down in Zucotti Park.

Which brings me to one last point, aligning with a movement on the rise is in itself not necessarily wrong. It’s how you do it. Tom Shoes for example sells shoes and makes a profit, but in the process he helps impoverished children who have nothing to wear. In the end movement marketing gets results, but it’s got to have taste, authenticity and help to make a difference.

Scott Goodson is founder of cultural movement agency StrawberryFrog and frequent writer for Forbes and the HBR Blog. His first book Uprising will be published by McGraw Hill soon.

StrawberryFrog’s founder on Forbes: “Billions of People Want the Super Brand Religion”

StrawberryFrog, the global ad agency’s founder, has written a new piece on Forbes about the opportunity global brands have in today’s world with billions of new consumers: 

Today the world has 6.92 billion people. They all wake up and look for the sun in the sky. They also look up at super brands and aspire to belong. The future is bright for brands that evolve their buyers into passionate advocates. Loyal consumers who buy without question. These are consumers who are worth their weight in gold…

Read more on Forbes